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second baby, second helper?

  1. #1
    welshdad is offline Registered User
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    second baby, second helper?

    my wife is pregnant and expecting our second child in July. my daughter will have just turned 3 when the baby is born.

    we live in a small 850 sq ft flat and have a live in helper. both my wife and i work full time and will need to continue working if we're to raise the mortgage on the larger flat we need and cover the payments and more importantly convince the bank to lend us the money based on our double income.

    so we're considering the option of taking on a second helper, but unfortunately don't have enough room to accommodate a second one in the current flat.

    i was wondering what the rules and regulations are concerning taking on a second "live out" helper.

    also what experiences other families may have had with the changed family dynamic.


    i'd also welcome practical advice on where to find and also how to assign/split the workload.


    incidentally the helper we have at the moment, has been very good and we're generally happy with her performance. However she has already suggested that we employ a cousin of hers from the philippines as the second helper, the current helper wants to move out and work as the live-out and new helper (cousin) would live in. The current helper has recently started dating

    i'm ok on the dating issue but i'm quite uneasy about her desire to live-out so her relative can live in, as we don't know the cousin and friends have advised that having two close friends/relatives as helpers together is not good for the household. however i'm also aware that i don't want to lose the current helper as she's a good person and helper

    any advice or shared experiences on this would be very welcome

  2. #2
    dimsum mum is offline Registered User
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    hi welshdad

    we've only ever employed helpers who know each other or are related to each other, and we have never had any problems.

  3. #3
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    1) doesn't matter how many helpers you have or the size of your flat. it is illegal to have a live-out helper.

    2) you don't really need a second helper to take care of a second child. women all around the world manage to take care of two children at once, especially since there is a 3 year age gap. my two are only 2 years apart and my helper has managed just fine.

  4. #4
    newbiekt is offline Registered User
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    Carang is right on the legal issues. I think it is much easier to have helpers who are related if you still go down the two helper route. We have two sisters (who live in) and a very happy household.

  5. #5
    sherwes is offline Registered User
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    We recently employed a second helper. Similar situation to yours except that I work part time and our children are 18 months apart. The reason we hired the second helper was that my son can not go to playgroup unaccompanied. Therefore we needed someone to take him to playgroup and another person to look after my baby. I think that if my older child was old enough to go to kindy by himself on the bus then I would not have hired a second helper. Can you older child go to activities by herself?

    I know that lots of mums in our home countries look after 2 young children but none of my friends at home do it without help. They have a cleaner once a week, pay someone to do the ironing and often send the older child to childcare one of two days per week so that they can spend some time alone with the baby. Even then they generally find it very difficult. My sister did it with no help at all and ending up weighing 45kgs and suffering from post natal depression. Quite frankly, if you can afford the extra help, then go for it!

    Carang,
    1. you run your own business so I wonder if you are able to be a little more flexible and help out your helper when she needs it. For instance are you and your husband able to be home for bathtime and dinner time (generally this is the "witching hour" in our house)?,

    2. your older child must have had no scheduled activities (playgroup, music class etc)?? Otherwise, who looked after your baby while your 2 year old attended activities?

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    yes, owning my own business does mean i have slightly more flexible hours, some of which i can work from home. hubby works from home, too (but often we have more than 20 dogs, so his time to help is very limited).

    when my kids were very little, we lived in db. neither of my kids did any playgroup or anything when we were there. there was enough to do wihtout having to "pay for play".

    when we moved to sai kung, because of where we lived, my son didn't do any activities either. last year, both of my kids did socatots. i arranged it so that my helper could drop off my son at school, then take my daughter to soccer and when that was finished, they went to te playground or library until my son finished school at 12. now, my son is in full day school, and my daughter is not taking any other classes. we just don't have the time nor the money to be able to get the kids to and from classes in addition to my son's school.

    my kids are great, well-adjusted, good at sharing (most of the time) and have no problem making friends at the playground.

    we now have 2 helpers. we didn't get the second helper to help with the kids and he pretty much doesn't ever watch over them. his main job is taking care of the house and cleaning the ground floor.

    i still maintain that mothers all over the world are able to manage 2 kids without any helpers at all, so 2 kids shouldn't be too bad.

    i also think that many kids in hk (not saying yours, just ones i've encountere) are WAYYYYY over-scheduled. i once taught a 4 year old who took 13 additional classes every week in addition to school!

    my kids' schedule goes somthing like this:
    7am wake/b'fast/dressed
    7:45 walk to bus stop
    8am bus to sai kung (no school bus comes out to us!)
    8:45 drop off at school then to market
    9-9:30am bus home
    10-11:45 play while helper cleans
    11:45 tidy up
    12 lunch
    1-2:30 nap (helper starts to prepare dinner)
    3-3:30ish pm bus to sai kung
    4 pick up son from school
    4-5 play at the playground (weather permitting)
    5:30 home (helper prepares dinner)
    5:30-6:30 play/watch tv
    6:30 dinner
    7:15 bath (helper does dishes, i give kids a bath~ usually)
    7:30-7:45 homework (for son)
    8pm bed

    helper is usually finished by 8:30pm at the latest.

  7. #7
    slamdunk is offline Registered User
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    think welshdad wasn't asking about whether a 2nd helper is needed but more about the practical issues.

    having 2 helpers can sometimes bring on a whole set of problems with changed dynamics (whether related/friends or not). you hear stories from them 'ganging up' against the employer or accusing each other of breakages/missing items/shoddy work - but i know many friends with 2 helpers without any real problem (incl ourselves)

    for us, like welshdad our first helper was with us for a while with our elder child (now 3) and we hired the second helper when the younger child (now 1) was born.

    to begin with, while no. 2 helper was still learning the ropes of our household (mostly the housework, laundry, bottle washing etc) and general childcare was taken care of by first helper. we felt trust had to be built up before we could put a newborn (and toddler) in their care.

    the work load division has changed over the year and work has been divided out according to their strengths (or weaknesses!). So one does all the cooking (kids and adults sometimes) because she's a fantastic (and passionate) cook - and the other will play with the kids. Both have a schedule of housework and laundry (set by them but to meet our requirements) and we specifically didn't want one particular helper doing all the childcare playdates and activities.

    as mentioned by sherwes, activities (local playdates/park etc) take up more time as no. 2 is a toddler and we still need someone to be around to pick up/drop off the older child from kindy school bus etc.

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i was only addressing the issue of not necessarily needing 2 helpers because they don't have space (wanting to get a loan in order to move?) and possibly wanting a live-out helper.

    yes, two helper CAN lighten the workload, but by no means is it anywhere near necessary.

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