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Two kids without helper?

  1. #1
    trttrt is offline Registered User
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    Jul 2011
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    hong kong
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    Two kids without helper?

    Hi! I have a 2 yr old toddler and am due to have a baby at the end of the year. The original plan was for us to hire a domestic helper since my husband travels often for work and we do not have any family we can turn to in times of emergency. We have interviewed a helper but were skeptical about hiring her as she lied about her previous employment. On top of that, we have had so many friends share horror stories about hiring help, that we are just not sure if we should proceed as planned. We value our privacy very much and if not for the fact that my husband is away so much due to work, we would never imagine hiring a helper to live- in. I do not find part- time helpers useful as I clean my house everyday and there really isn't very much to do around here when they come by once or twice a week. I just wanted to ask advice from any stay-home moms to two or more kids without a domestic helper. How do you cope? Btw, I would need to take my older child to playschool in the afternoon for 3 hours everyday. It gives me a nice break to do my shopping and coffee. Just am not sure what I would be doing when the new baby gets here! We usually take the taxi and I find most cabbies impatient and a bit rough. Dont think they would like me much if I try to get on with a toddler and newborn. Any advice for me? Hope to hear from you soon, since hiring a helper would take quite a few weeks I suppose! TIA!!

  2. #2
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2008
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    Gold Coast
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    I have two children and have never had a helper. I am not really sure how to answer the question about how I cope, other than to say that you don't miss what you never had! As soon as my daughter was born we all just sort of slipped in to a nice routine where we seemed to manage. My son started school full time about 6 weeks after my daughter was born so after I would take him to school I got all the housework done in between my daughters naps etc.

    My husband travels with work quite a lot and also works late hours so most of the time during the week it is just me and the kids. To keep myself sane and get some "me time" I tend to take a couple of hours on a Saturday to grab a coffee by myself or do some shopping etc while my husband has the kids and then on Sundays we do things as a family.

    My kids are older now (Son almost 7 and daughter almost 2) and a typical day is:

    Husband and I wake at 6. Have coffee! shower and he gets ready for work.
    6:30 Wake son to get him breakfast and ready for school.
    7:00 daughter wakes and has breakfast
    7:30 Son gets bus to school.
    7:30 - 8:30 get daughter washed, dressed and make beds/change beds
    8:30 - 9:30 put on laundry and do ironing while daugher "helps!"
    9:30 - 10:00 Hoover apartment while daughter has snack.
    10:00 - 11:00 go to the shops
    11:00 - 12:30 daugher naps whil I check e-mails, have more coffee and clean bathroom/kitchen etc
    12:30 - 1:30 lunch
    1:30 - 3:00 play with daughter
    3:00 - 3:30 prepare dinner
    3:30 pick up son from school bus
    3:30 - 4:30 play with children and they have snack.
    4:30 - 5:30 do homework with son while daughter does "art!"
    5:30 have dinner
    6:00 go swimming or for walk or to beach with children/(some outdoor activity)
    7:00 daughter has bath then story then bed
    7:30 son has shower then story then bed
    7:30 clean up after dinner and wash floors.
    8:00 husband gets home from work

    some days vary but the dinner times, wake times and bed times never change!
    rani, shwetakhanna, miran and 2 others like this.

  3. #3
    shwetakhanna is offline Registered User
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    Wow... Hats off to you AmyH for this perfect schedule... We have a 3.5yr old and are still struggling to work out a routine with her...
    Quote Originally Posted by AmyH View Post
    I have two children and have never had a helper. I am not really sure how to answer the question about how I cope, other than to say that you don't miss what you never had! As soon as my daughter was born we all just sort of slipped in to a nice routine where we seemed to manage. My son started school full time about 6 weeks after my daughter was born so after I would take him to school I got all the housework done in between my daughters naps etc.

    My husband travels with work quite a lot and also works late hours so most of the time during the week it is just me and the kids. To keep myself sane and get some "me time" I tend to take a couple of hours on a Saturday to grab a coffee by myself or do some shopping etc while my husband has the kids and then on Sundays we do things as a family.

    My kids are older now (Son almost 7 and daughter almost 2) and a typical day is:

    Husband and I wake at 6. Have coffee! shower and he gets ready for work.
    6:30 Wake son to get him breakfast and ready for school.
    7:00 daughter wakes and has breakfast
    7:30 Son gets bus to school.
    7:30 - 8:30 get daughter washed, dressed and make beds/change beds
    8:30 - 9:30 put on laundry and do ironing while daugher "helps!"
    9:30 - 10:00 Hoover apartment while daughter has snack.
    10:00 - 11:00 go to the shops
    11:00 - 12:30 daugher naps whil I check e-mails, have more coffee and clean bathroom/kitchen etc
    12:30 - 1:30 lunch
    1:30 - 3:00 play with daughter
    3:00 - 3:30 prepare dinner
    3:30 pick up son from school bus
    3:30 - 4:30 play with children and they have snack.
    4:30 - 5:30 do homework with son while daughter does "art!"
    5:30 have dinner
    6:00 go swimming or for walk or to beach with children/(some outdoor activity)
    7:00 daughter has bath then story then bed
    7:30 son has shower then story then bed
    7:30 clean up after dinner and wash floors.
    8:00 husband gets home from work

    some days vary but the dinner times, wake times and bed times never change!

  4. #4
    mumsy is offline Registered User
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    Hong Kong
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    I used to be a stay at home mum looking after two kids with no helper. It’s definitely hard work and you become very good at multi-tasking!

    I would say the first few months were actually the easiest for me just because baby didn’t need much interaction then, just mainly sleeping and feeding. My oldest was also in half day school but I just had to drop him off and pick him up at the bus stop.

    I would order all heavy/bulky items via online shopping, and just take baby with me to pick up fresh meat/groceries. Normally would only cook very simple/fast meals. More time consuming meals could be prepared at nighttime after the kids were asleep or done at the weekend and frozen. A few times if baby wouldn’t stay down for his nap, I would carry him in a sling and do the chores at the same time.
    I’ve never had a problem with public transport but tend not to take the stroller if we are going on buses.

    Things get more challenging as baby gets older and more alert/active as you need to watch them 24/7 (we don’t have the space for an enclosed playpen and you can’t really childproof 100%).

    Also there were a few occasions when it would have been nice to have an extra set of hands around:
    - When either child is sick, you have to take them both along to the doctor.
    - When you’re sick yourself, you have to wait until hubby gets home before you can see the doctor.
    - Having to take newborn out when it’s really cold outside or raining heavily.
    - Attending parent meetings/school activities and sometimes baby is not allowed to come along, so hubby ends up taking annual leave or you miss the event altogether (although I guess you could always hire an ad hoc babysitter for those occasions).
    - You can only get a proper ‘me’ time at the weekends when hubby takes over.

    Anyway due to other circumstances, we had little choice but to hire a helper when my baby was 8mths old. We too were reluctant to hire one previously because we have a tiny apartment and basically no place to put her. However since hiring a helper, I really appreciate having another person around to help and especially during the holidays when there is no school. My baby has been going to playgroups since 10mths old and my oldest has his own activities to attend so it would be impossible to take them both myself if I didn’t have a helper.

    You might like to start without a helper and see how it goes but eventually you might need one (be it a helper, part-time babysitter, cleaner) depending on you and your kids lifestyle. Good luck.

  5. #5
    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    Thanks shwetakhanna! It took a while to have it mastered but it works well for us now.

    I agree with mumsy about the difficulty with sickness etc. I have been very lucky that my children have not really been sick since we moved to hong kong (apart from colds etc) and my GP is open on Saturday and Sunday so doctors appointments and dentist appointments are done on those days.

    For parent teacher meetings in the school, my son's teacher is aware of the fact that it is just me during the day so we schedule meetings for first thing in the morning. My husband has a job where he can work from home sometimes so he just does that while I am at meetings and does not need to take annual leave. For sportsdays/school plays etc the school are very inclusive when it comes to siblings so we are always able to take our daughter. My husband always makes sure he is off work for those too so he does not miss out on seeing our son.

    I have been very lucky that I have only been sick once or twice since my daughter was born. the last time, my husband was away for week but luckily my friend was visiting from Ireland at the time so she was able to look after the kids while I went to the doctor.

  6. #6
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    I would LOVE to not have a helper (I have 2 kids) but due to my youngest daughter having special medical needs and a lot of doctors appointments and therapy etc, I don't know how we could have managed without one. She was in NICU for her first 4 months and so we had to leave my older daughter every day - kids are not allowed in NICU over here.

    I do have friends with 2 kids and no helper though and it is hard work - but you just manage. The house is a little dustier, toys are not put away as quickly, dinner might be take away a bit more often - but there are other benefits - more time with the kids, more privacy, more space at home (no need to accommodate a helper).

    When my two are older and we have hopefully less doctors appointments etc, I would love to have no helper again. I probably would hire a part time cleaner since I am horrible at cleaning - but would LOVE to have the extra space... I know there are aspects of having a helper I would miss - like being able to take just one kid out at a time, or being able to put the kids to bed and then go out with my hubby... but I do look forward to when I won't "need" one so much... We'll see...

  7. #7
    FShah is offline Registered User
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    I have two children, 3.5yrs and 15mths with a part time helper who comes in twice to do ironing & abit. As nicolejoy says, it does get crazy at times but you somehow do manage. It was pretty tough at first but you do eventually get into a routine which works for you. My daughter will start halfday school next week so morning runs, my 15mth old will stay with dad while I send her to school but will have to bring son along when I do pickup. My husband has his own company hence its a full work week for him and I have the kids to myself all week. Our routine is somewhat the same as AmyH but my kids both rise at 6-630am and I use their naptime which is between 12-130pm or 2pm on good days to prepare dinner and catchup online. My son goes down for the night at 7pm and daughter by 730pm, so that's when my me time begins after my cleaning up. Occasionally I do get to do dinner with friends while husband stays home with kids. Since husband's self employed, my mornings are easier as he only gets to work at 10ish and is normally back by 7 or 8pm.
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  8. #8
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    I love having a helper, cos I like spending more time with my little guy and not have to worry about housework etc. But on the other hand, I can't wait until he's a bit older and independent, that we can manage with a part timer just a couple times a week :)
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

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