- 08-22-2011, 01:13 PM #9Banned
- Join Date
- Feb 2010
- Hong Kong
I moved here with 2 kids aged 3 and 9mths (at the time) and had not had a helper or family nearby in our home country. Fairly common thing of course in Western countries and as others have said, you don't miss what you don't have. So when we first moved here we didn't have a helper for a while. We now have had one for a year. So thought i'd give you some thoughts which may give you things to consider.
The main benefit for me of having a helper is not having to take the little one everywhere the other one needed to be; don't mean playdates etc as i take both 99% of the time, but just things like when I had to drop her off at preschool and pick her up - it was right when he wanted to sleep but had to be lugged about in the sling (impossible to use a pram on that journey as all steps!) so often meant he got overtired or had less sleep than he needed. Also as others have said things like the doctors. When I was first here i was quite sick for over a week but still had to do all the normal things feeling like death. Lucky that the 2nd one was only small so very easy to entertain, much harder once they get more mobile. Also do love being able to go out in the evenings, both with my husband but also when he is away and i just want some adult time.
The other thing is exercise. It was really tough for me to do any without a helper - again will change when both kids in some sort of school but my normal early morning was mostly out because that was my husbands time to exercise. So i got in a couple of mornings but that was it. That was hard for me. But now i can still go early after my husband gets back but don't need to rush home before he needs to leave. At home there was a creche at the gym/pool that i could use. I love it that i can now go running again which was minimal before at home because of childcare.
The main thing I found different here compared to Western countries is that friends don't do 'child care exchange' as you would do there; ie drop my kids at a friends while i had my hair cut or similar and then they would do the same for you. Which does make it harder to not have any help and means you miss out on family time at the weekends cos you do it then. Also when i went to the playground or playcentre i was often the only mum there so i didn't get the social interaction i would've at home, even if i didn't actually know the other mums. The helpers were all very friendly but obviously i was still like a 'boss' to them, so it wasn't the same
Having said that when my helper was away for 2 weeks for family reasons I did enjoy having the house to myself. And found i fell easily back into managing everything, it just takes more planning - but the exercise thing is the key for me!
- 08-22-2011, 01:21 PM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
As my children were not born in HK, I had no helper until we moved here, which was when my oldest was 4y3m and my twins were almost 2. I've managed fine, and I'll be the last one to say it's not doable. I didn't have a choice, no family close by, luckily good friends, and a part timer for 8 hours a week. One child had to go to the doctor, brought all 3 ... It wasn't always nice, and I wasn't always the nicest mommy (I still have my moments, even with a helper) but you do what needs to be done. I just think it's hard not having a helper in Hong Kong because most people have one, and friends count on you having one too. I've been able to do volunteer work, play sports again in the evening (not having to wait until 8 pm when my husband comes back home), pick up a part time while my kids are in school. It just has made my life easier, but I still do plenty of things with my kids. I take them to the playground even if I am the only mother around, take them to the pool, shopping, etc. But it's nice that I don't always have to take 3 when one has to go to the doctor, when one has something else to do, whether it's a birthday party, a modelling job, etc. I paid close to US$350 a month for cleaning ladies in my house once a week, plus US$15 an hour x 8 hours a week x 4 weeks a month for baby sitting (excl. the occassional evening). Coming here (my husband had been here for 4 months already) gave me the opportunity to do some things for me, which helps in taking care of them.
- 08-22-2011, 01:53 PM #11Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
- Mid Levels
This thread is great..... makes me feel more 'normal' I was beginning to think I was the only 'crazy' mum with 2 kids and no helper!
I have a 3.5 year old and 10month old ad was in the same position as you a year ago. We decided to get a full time live in helper.... it was the biggest mistake, I was not convinced and therefore with hindsight it was never going to work. We ended up terminating our helper after 10days and 4 days prior to my son being born.It was the best decision we made... for our family at least.
yes it is busy, especially currently as its school holidays, but completely manageable. I think my expectations of my eldest changed and she has learnt that she is not the only person on the planet and there are times when she has to entertain herself or even 'help'. I have been very impressed by what she can actually manage when she has too; dress herself, wash her hair,put clothes away etc etc
Our normal day:
6-7am kids wake up and I am always out of bed by 6.45
7-8am dress and feed kids
8am drive husband to work and eldest to school
9.15am Home; I shower while son naps, then we play/ I do some housewor/ prep lunch
11.15am drive back to get my daughter
Afternoons are free, so park or playdate with friends etc
5pm start dinner
6pm bath time
7pm bed time
7 onwards- housework, dinner for hubby and I (hubby usually home 8-9pm)
The dinner, bath and bed routine has become much quicker and it is definitely the one thing we keep the same, dinner, bath and bed by 7.
I admit I have a cleaner 2 hours twice a week just to do some of the bigger jobs as I have found now my youngest is mobile that is tricky to do with him around. We also try and have a babysitter one night a week so I can have dinner out with hubby as I do get fed up of cooking.
I agree the one thing I really miss is exercise, but I either get up super early for a walk up the peak and make sure I am home by 7, or I drop my daughter at school and put my son in his backpack and take him walking up the peak with me. It is by no means the same as pre second child but I have realised this wont be forever and I dont want to have someone living in nour home and as I dont want/need them for childcare I really dont know what a helper would do all day for me.
Perhaps we could all meet up to share tips and advice and who knows even arrange childcare swap so we can all have an hour off now and again?!
- 08-22-2011, 02:56 PM #12Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
- 08-22-2011, 06:53 PM #13Registered User
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
- hong kong
Wow, thank you all for your replies! Must say I am truly impressed and amazed by some of your schedules! Your inputs have definitely helped shed some light on what to expect with two kids w/wo helpers. By the way, just wondering how we could go about hiring babysitters? What are the hours and how much should we pay? Any advice? Would really love to head out with my hb for a movie some time! Thanks!
- 08-23-2011, 12:50 PM #14Registered User
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
- Hong Kong
It also really depends on the age difference between children. I have a 20month old and a 4 month old and I REALLY need my helper. It's been amazing to have her. She helps me take the older one out so I can have some time with the baby and to do the grocery shopping. As the younger one gets older, I would like to take them out more on my own, but right now, I need her help on big outings and with the house.
- 08-23-2011, 01:47 PM #15Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
- South District
must say it is a definite luxury to have a helper in hong kong and i've taken advantage of hiring one to help me out. my thinking is...if you can afford one, why not? of course you can ALWAYS manage without one - but once you have one, i must say you can't go back to square one.
looking at the ages of your 2 kids - it would appear that having one would help...i've got 3 (3yr old, 1 yr old and new born) and i'm just trying to think what life would be without my helper (and middle child) so I'd be more in your shoes...
for one, my older one takes the school bus every day but that would be hauling my new born up and down to drop off and pick up my older one from the bus stop - could be easily done, but breast feeding needs to be timed so that it does not clash with drop off / pick up time.
cooking meals would be done during babies sleep times - so no problem there.
we'd go to all play groups together - which is no problem but the older one is getting a bit jealous and posssessive so need to deal with her feelings and teaching her to adjust to the baby at the same time as dealing with diaper changing and feeding - again, not a major problem, the older one will adapt.
the house would be a bit messier, but if sleeping patterns are adhered to (say 8pm daily) then there'd be time when all are asleep to do the housework before bed time.
i guess the only thing i'd miss would be going out for a quick bite with my husband when all of the kids are sleeping - attending friends weddings / family celebrations that start too late for kids.
definitely doable but do you want to do it! :)
- 09-13-2011, 09:44 AM #16Registered User
- Join Date
- Feb 2011
- Happy Valley
I have a 16 month old daughter and #2 due in March. I don't have a helper, and I really don't want one, but I am really feeling the 'pressure' to have someone help. This is the first time I have not worked and I have always looked forward to taking care of my family.......and it is far better than I ever imagined. My husband works until 7:00/8:00pm and travels a lot. When he is home on the weekends I want to be with him every minute.
I feel really lucky to have made so many great friends since I moved here, but I am feeling very left out because they do so many thing without kids or don't ask me because they know I will have a little one with me. I would love to exchange baby sitting but of course no one wants to as they have helpers. I think it is really sad that people don't help each other out, they just pay someone to do it for them. I also think it is amazing more moms don't want to do more with their kids. Also, why don't people let me pay their helper to watch my girl too while we go do something? I do not mean to be disrespectful to people with helpers and totally support peoples decisions to do what is best for them and their families......I am just trying to understand the normal that is so new for me. I really only miss family/friends/neighbors to help about one day a month to go to the doctor or go out with the girls.
We can afford a helper but I would rather save/use money in different ways.
It is really nice to know there are a couple other moms out there like me! I would love advice on how to find a babysitter or maybe part time helper for a couple hours a week.
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