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How early should I look for a helper?

  1. #1
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    How early should I look for a helper?

    I'm in early pregnancy, due in late August / early Sept. It's my first baby.
    I've never had a helper before -- I just use a friend's amah one afternoon a week.
    However, as I work full-time, I will need a helper when the time comes.
    I'd rather have the amah around when the baby is born, so I will have several months to train her while I am on maternity -- and then she will be set in our ways when I go back to work.
    My mom says the process takes 3-4 months, from when you visit the agency to when the amah shows up on your doorstep. Is this right?
    Also, is it better to have the amah start a little before your delivery -- say, when you are in your last few months?
    Thanks for your help! :)

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    yes, to find the right one would take about 3 months because the visa takes 6-8 weeks to be approved...

    i REALLY wanted my helper to start before i had my first baby so that i could train her. as it turned out, my first was a month early and so i never got to train her. then, after i had my son, i had a tough recovery that took me about 2 months to get over (infection developed in the inscision etc)...so i wasn't able to train her then. in the end, i never did get to train her the way that i wanted things done and she got into her own routine and her own way of doing things.

    after 6 years with us, she has now moved to canada and while i miss having someone around to clean up after me, i realise that i really should have trained her no matter what...so, YES, YES, YES, have her start early so that you can make sure she knows EXACTLY how you like things done. i would start looking now or at least in the next few months...

  3. #3
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Gracey, I'd also say start early. I had my baby in November and my helper joined in August. She was actually someone who had done some part-time work with me before so I knew her working style but it helped to have someone around to cook and clean in the last few months of pregnancy. Also, you get used to her living with you. If it's a completely new person, this would be a good time to see if your personalities suit each other. If it really doesn't work, you have time to look for someone else. I don't think you can train her on baby stuff before the baby actually comes but maternity leave should be sufficient for that.

    About the time it takes for the helper's visa to be processed, immigration with expedite if you make a request. I wrote a letter requesting they process quickly since I was pregnant and would be alone when my husband travelled on business. I attached a doctor's certificate confirming my pregnancy. It also stated I was suffering from vomiting, though I don't think that is necessary. My helper's visa came through in two weeks, although she had broken her previous contract (so more complicated procedure than a finished contract - she had to return to the Philippines and come back).

  4. #4
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    as soon as possible - it takes 6-8weeks on a "normal basis" but that is assuming the helper has a valid passport. i am in the process now, and the helper is renewing her passport (have already asked to expedite it - so should take 2 weeks) but in the meantime, I have asked the helper to do the medical and training whilst she waits for her passport. most wait until after collecting the passport I believe but that just adds to the waiting time....according to my helper (she's leaving for Canada and so I need a replacement) you don't need a passport to undergo training (which can be anywhere from 5-10days long (excluding weekends).

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gracey View Post
    I'm in early pregnancy, due in late August / early Sept. It's my first baby.
    I've never had a helper before -- I just use a friend's amah one afternoon a week.
    However, as I work full-time, I will need a helper when the time comes.
    I'd rather have the amah around when the baby is born, so I will have several months to train her while I am on maternity -- and then she will be set in our ways when I go back to work.
    My mom says the process takes 3-4 months, from when you visit the agency to when the amah shows up on your doorstep. Is this right?
    Also, is it better to have the amah start a little before your delivery -- say, when you are in your last few months?
    Thanks for your help! :)
    Yes, it takes at least 3-4 months to secure a helper. But, it's better to start as early as possible, I think because things go wrong sometimes and you'll need time in case that happens. For example, you may find the perfect helper and then she may fail her health exam in the Philippines or something like that. In our case, we found the perfect helper (the one we have now) but she didn't have a passport so her processing took 2-3 more months than we had originally planned--thankfully we didn't need her to be there sooner (although it would have been nice).

    If I were you, I would definitely have her around by the time you enter your third trimester. My reasoning for this is that 1) You'll be bigger and likely a lot more tired and may appreciate the help 2) Getting ready for baby takes some effort and at the end of pregnancy you'll probably go through "nesting" but may just not have the energy to get everything done (setting up the baby's bed, shopping for supplies, cleaning baby clothes etc.) 3) The longer you're around your helper the more comfortable she can become with you and you can become with her--the relationship usually doesn't just develop overnight 4) When you're baby is born, there is going to be a lot of things on your mind. Hopefully you won't have any complications from labor or childbirth, but if you do or your baby needs any special attention the last thing you want to be doing is training a helper while you're trying to learn how to be a mother and deal with things yourself. Training a helper doesn't always happen easily--sometimes there are issues that need to be worked through and it's better to do this in the beginning without the added stress of a screaming baby in the middle of the night and all those "wonderful moments" of early motherhood. 5) Bottom line: Giving yourself more time is usually better than giving yourself less time. If the helper is there 3-4 months before the baby arrives you can spend that time teaching her the basics of running your household (your work schedule, what you eat and how to cook it, what level of cleaning she needs to do, how to get around HK if this is her first contract, and all the other details of your life) and then when the baby comes you don't have to worry about the foundational stuff and both you and she can focus on childcare.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i think someone misunderstood me when i mentioned "training the helper"....i was not referring to training them for taking care of the baby, of course that would be AFTER the baby comes.

    i was referring to teaching the helper how you want your house, clothes, pets, cars etc cared for... also to teacher her your favourite recipes, which brands at the supermarket that you buy etc.

  7. #7
    taysty is offline Registered User
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    I delivered in september last year. Had signed the contract in June and the helper came at August. I agreed with the majority above. Mostly, is not only about "training" but to know this person before you get really busy after delivering your baby.

    For my helper, i do the "norm" thing, set rules and etc. And i tell her right from the first day she came that we must communicate, meaning if you're unclear about anything i tell you, please ask me to repeat myself and vice versa. Also, dont take anything personal regarding our house rules, it is how i wanted, not becoz you're ABC therefore my house rules is set this way.

    Anyway, good luck to you.

  8. #8
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Thank you all so much! I will definitely start looking early. Plus, it will be nice to have someone doing my errands when I get really huge. :)

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