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Uncomfortable with size of DH room/bathroom

  1. #1
    Junebugwhite is offline Registered User
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    Mar 2011
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    Hong Kong
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    Uncomfortable with size of DH room/bathroom

    I am struggling with whether or not to hire a DH or not. Moved over recently from the states, and pregnant, due this July with our first child. The idea of someone living in is such a strange concept to me, but the thing that really has me hesitating is the size of their quarters. The bedroom is not too bad, but the bathroom/shower situation is horrible. I just don't think it is very sanitary for there to just be a hose from the wall for her to shower with? Does anyone else have this type of shower set up for their helper? It seems like a breeding ground for roaches, my worst phobia...ha ha!

    But honestly, I just feel so strange thinking these are acceptable living conditions, would love some input.

    It will just be my husband and I, plus the new baby...not sure I even have enough for someone to do if they were living with us full time. From what I understand it is very hard to find part time help/babysitters, etc and you are better off hiring a live in.

    So stressful, any advice is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    It's entirely up to you and if it's stressing you out then you don't have to do it. It does make life a lot easier to have a DH but that doesn't mean you have to have one, not with one baby and if you're not planning to work. Bear in mind it can be hard work to train the person in what you want done and how you want it done and you become responsible for another person's welfare so there is certainly some effort that needs to come from the employer's side too.

    Having said that, I think it's one of the joys of HK to have the extra help and it compensates to some extent for being so far from your family. It means you're never a stressed Mummy and can schedule enough sleep in those early months, it means you can get your 'me' time and your time out with just you and your husband. I also think it's natural for babies to have more than one primary carer, it harks back to times when we lived in more close-knit family groups with mothers and aunties all pitching in and I think they thrive on the extra time and attention you can both give them. Our helper is fantastic and I wouldn't be without her.

    With the room, it's pretty simple, if you decide you want a helper and start interviewing you can show them the room and bathroom and gauge their reaction. The setup that you have sounds pretty normal to me and is probably what they expect - I've always told our helper she's welcome to use our spare bathroom to shower but she prefers not to and I get why as her room and bathroom is private and it's 'her' space. I'd probably do the same in her situation.

  3. #3
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2008
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    South District
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    the size of the helpers accomodation sounds about right if you are living in the city (not suburban HK) or in a "new" flat i.e. under 10years old. for most cases that i have seen, the bathroom / showers have been quite OK...I mean, it's no fun walking into something that is dripping still and so it would be up to your helper to clean up after herself. if she doesn't mind it being "dirty" then I'd probably question her overall hygiene standards and whether she will do a good job for your place. if you think about it, the helpers room is relative to the size of the apt in HK (with the exception of 1 complex in HK I can think of at the top of my head now which TOTALLY baffles me) - for a 700sq ft apt they are not going to make the helpers room any bigger than 100sq ft since their would probably be 3-4people living inthe remaining 600sq ft and that would be 2/3 bedrooms + living and dining area + bathroom...the overall area is about 150-200 sq ft / person. the helpers quarters would be slightly smaller.


    as for hiring a helper...if you are a full time mom then perhaps you won't need one - depends on how hands on you are. part time help is very hard to come by and technically illegal (I believe)...plus not really the culture here since most people hire full time helpers. with one child you could cope i'm sure - if you're planning on having 2 then you'd probably need to have a live in since household + kids will take a tool on you in the long run (though i am sure people do it). guess it just makes life easier.

    hope this helps a bit...

  4. #4
    banane76 is offline Registered User
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    Welcome to HK! We didn't really have a helper when I had our first baby. My mom helped us 2 times a week (I'm really lucky to have her living here too) when I went back to work part time after 4 months. However, when I got pregnant with number 2, we thought it would be a good idea to hire a helper full-time. Now that baby is here, it's been extremely helpful to have her living with us. She helps me greatly with my older daughter while I'm with my newborn full-time. She does the cleaning and cooking and I try to pitch in as much as I can, but at the moment, she's taken a lot of responsibility while I'm with the new baby. We're in a 3 bedroom apt in Tung Chung and we gave her the 3rd bedroom and she uses the guest bathroom with the babies. We also have our older one in her own bedroom and will eventually put the 2 in the same room. We think it's important that she has her own bedroom and space for her to rest and get some quiet time.

  5. #5
    Biggie is offline Registered User
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    The helper room situation is completely normal in hk and a helper you hire here will be use to such small room and bathroom. In some local family, the helper has to sleep with the kid or in the kitchen on a fold up bed so they appreciate their own room no matter how small.
    Also remember some come from very poor village where the whole family share a small hut and never have their own room before.
    Posted via Mobile Device

  6. #6
    Junebugwhite is offline Registered User
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    Thanks so much for your replies, very helpful during this scary time!

  7. #7
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    Oct 2006
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    My helper told me that they had no running water and had to bathe in the river, so she was very happy with even a basic bathroom of her own!

  8. #8
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Leslie -- Maybe we move in different circles, but probably 90% of my work colleagues and friends use part-time help. (Not so many parents in my crowd, but many working couples who only need a hand once or twice a week).

    The helper contracts are really bizarre in this town. Filipina helpers are not allowed to do all sorts of things everyone else can, like take a part-time job or live in their own flat. I think it's really unfair.

    But practically speaking, in my and my husband's experience -- 15 years here -- nobody has ever gotten in trouble for it.

    It seems like Immigration only cracks down when there are cases of abuse (unscrupulous employers forcing their helpers to work for entire vast families with no extra pay) or some other kind of crime, like overstaying a visa, etc.

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