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Uncomfortable with size of DH room/bathroom

  1. #9
    Gracey is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Hong Kong

    @ JuneBug. Welcome to Hong Kong.
    If you hire a full-time helper from the Philippines, the paperwork can take up to 10 weeks. Add 2 weeks at least for contacting the agency, doing interviews, choosing someone, etc. So even if you started now, you might not get a FT helper before you deliver.

    I started looking for a helper in late March / early April, and we're not expecting her to arrive till late June / early July.

    If you're not working full-time, try a part-time helper. The going rate is HK $60 an hour in cash for a helper who is under contract with someone else. (Many employers, particularly expats, let their helpers go out and do extra work. Text me if you need a recommendation). This is a good option if you want someone to give you a hand with running errands, groceries, housework, etc., for a set number of shifts a week.

    Otherwise, you can call Merry Maids and they'll send someone over for a 4-hour shift for HK $350. I've used them before, too. They won't do errands, groceries or shopping. But they will do a deep-clean of your flat, or things like ironing.

    Even if you're doing all your own childcare, I think it's helpful to have someone lend a hand when you're in late pregnancy, or just caring for a newborn. One of the pluses of Hong Kong is the affordable house help.

    BUT if you do want to hire full-time, don't feel bad about the small bathroom. Just be upfront with the person you're hiring and see if she's OK. She probably will be.

  2. #10
    Gracey is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Hong Kong

    If you are very concerned about your helper's welfare, you can always pay her a bit more than the minimum, or give her bonuses for good work / on holidays. Most of these women send cash back to poor families. What would be a minimal amount of cash for most people on this forum would probably mean more to a helper than a larger bathroom.

  3. #11
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009

    After glancing through the replies, I have to agree that most helpers here (or at least many) aren't on a "pleasure cruise"--they are here to work and earn income for their families and are willing to sacrifice a lot to do that. Many mothers leave their small children for years at a time in order to earn money to pay for food, shelter and schooling. So, I think the helpers who are here for "business not pleasure" and are serious about making a better life for themselves and their families are willing to tough it out through rough living conditions--especially if she works for a family that really respects her and makes sure her needs are met. I think that the living conditions are a pretty minimal concern as long as they are decent and fair but respect goes a long way. I have heard some of my husband's family (local Chinese) talk about helpers like they are possessions and they really don't treat them very human-like--they make them work like they're robots. Expat families tend to be of a different persuasion. I think as long as you're generous and considerate that will make up for a lot of things.

    In our situation, we live in a village house outside of the city so our helper has a decently sized room to herself and almost a private (normal--not just a hose for a shower) bathroom. But, I'm guessing that the conditions you described for your apartment's helper quarters is probably normal for Hong Kong. Some helpers don't even get their own room here at all and share a room with an elderly person or a baby or both. One of my colleagues lives in a small flat and their helper sleeps in the same room with the child and an elderly grandparent because they only have two bedrooms in their flat. Sharing a bathroom is actually an acceptable option if you find that her bathroom is not up to standard.

    As an American, I found having a live-in helper to be a very weird concept initially and so for the first year of my son's life I chose not to have one. Since hiring a helper that we really like, my life has become exponentially better--I'd say the lives of everyone in my family have. I think it's a very personal matter but in our case, our helper has very much grown to be part of our family so I don't feel weird about her living in the same house with me. I just feel like I have another family member who helps me out a lot. :) Not everyone has this type of relationship with their helper and not every helper is of high caliber either.

    Anyway, when the time is right you'll know if you want a helper or not and hopefully if you do decide to hire one she'll fit your family well. All the best and welcome to Hong Kong!

    “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

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