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How Long To Adjust to Having A DH? Is It For Me?

  1. #1
    sea princess is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hong Kong

    How Long To Adjust to Having A DH? Is It For Me?

    I need to vent my frustration somewhere, so apologies in advance! I really want to know, is a DH really for me? I know I am the only one who can answer that, but in the month we have had her, I am feeling incredibly suffocated!

    We employed a helper primarily for cleaning & ironing as well as caring for our pets when we travel back home or holiday abroad and occasional child minding. We have a very open plan apartment with a maids room off the kitchen (so in sight of our living room). I'm finding it a real struggle having someone in my space all of the time. It's like a flat mate that never goes out!

    Our DH is a 52 years of age and we hired her on recommendation from another expat family who had used her. Probably due to her age, she is not keen on having time off to herslf to go wandering. I have told her once she has finished cleaning to have time in her room or she can leave the apartment, but instead she hangs around all day and night waiting for more work. I feel she is always dwelling on me or my child, whom incidently is finding a new person living in the house pretty daunting.

    Has anyonne else been in a similiar situation? Any advice? I feel myself getting irritated and I end up going out of the house just so I can have some space.

  2. #2
    AussieMum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Hi Sea Princess, I hear your frustration and feel exactly the same. We hired our DH around 3 months ago, and although I think she is quite a good employee, I am stuggling with having her around most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely thankful of the opportunity to have her, and do appreciate her help (she does a good job). I think the issue is me - this is my home and I am not used to having someone around for a full 6 days a week. A fault of mine is that I am extremely particular in the way things are done, and even if she does something up to standard but it is not the way I would do it, it frustrates me. Also, she is so eager to please that I have often asked her to do something, she has answered 'Yes' but then not done it because she really didn't know how, even when she said she did. She does lack a little common sense and occasionally does not listen to instructions, which I stuggle to come to terms with as well. I try and remind myself of the positives:
    - Thankfully she is great with our daughter (although she does minimal babysitting);
    - She is generally good at cleaning and does work very hard;
    - She can cook from a recipe, she does a great job and saves me going into the kitchen at night;
    - She does give my husband and I some freedom which we didn't have before (we can go out for dinner or elsewhere at last minute);
    - She never complains, and if I ask her to do something she does it (even if it is not how I would).
    But most of all - she gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my daughter, as I don't have to worry about the housework or cooking.
    Some tips:
    - send her out to a market or shops when you are home, even if it is just to get milk;
    - I have 'ordered' my helper to take a lunch break, get outdoors and revive. When I gave her the option, she still didn't do it, but I have told her I want her to;
    - give her some additional tasks that maybe you wouldn't do, like go and bake some cookies or cake, she can go and get the ingredients etc.
    - try and structure your days so she cleans whilst you are out and then she goes out when you are home (if you can).
    Although I am no expert and as I said, I am stuggling to adapt, the above may help. I too am keen to read others advice. I know it sounds horrible and don't mean to sound like a whinger, but I would actually get rid of my helper if I wasn't expecting another baby in a couple of months, and hire someone part time. It is just not for me, and it is something that we will readdress a couple of months after baby number two arrives (I am hoping I have adapted a little more by then). Thanks for posting this thread!

  3. #3
    sherwes is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    When you say that she "hangs around" do you mean that she stays in the same room that you are in or that she hangs out in her room? I just wondering whether what is bothering you is her being your "shadow" or whether it is just the thought of her being in the apartment regardless of whether you can see or hear her. My helper is very good at being unobtrusive - basically she goes to her room and surfs the net/talks on the phone etc and I can shut the kitchen door and forget that she is there.
    I agree with what AussieMum says regarding giving her tasks. Give her a recipe book and get her to try some new recipes. Going to the supermarket for all of the ingredients will get her out of the apartment for a while! Perhaps you can have fresh baked brownies for afternoon tea tomorrow....mmmm.....

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    i understand that you are feeling a little suffocated. the advice given by the previous posters is great.

    what many have a hard time getting used to is actually having someone there to "take up the slack". when our helper first started, i was in the hospital before delivering my first. i asked my hubby if she was making him breakfast. he said, no but that it didn't matter as it was easy enough for him to do himself. i had to explain to him that was what she was for. she was there to help us do these little things.

    you could tell her the time you will be up and when to have breakfast for you. you could tell her what you want the day before and she can go out to get the ingredients. make it special, like blueberry pancakes or something like that. you could change it up every day. that way, she could do the shopping for the next day as well, so she's always buying ingredients for tomorrow's food, not todays. that way if she can't find something, then you can send her further afield.

    you could have her run down to pay your bills. if you write cheques and give her the bills, then she could easily spend an hour or so running around to pay them all.

    you can go through your cookbooks and mark anything that looks interesting to you. tell her that you would like her to present to you a menu for the month. (breakfast, lunch and dinner~ if that is what you are home for). not only that, but she should write down all of the ingredients that she would need so that she knows in advance and can plan accordingly to reduce waste. (ie. if she's making stir-fried mixed vegetables, she could use the left over cabbage...highly unlikely that she'd use a whole head for the first.... to make lebanese cabbage rolls.)

    she could use time that you are home to be doing all of these things. ask her to take a couple of afternoons to do all of this planning.

    get her to do as many of the errands that you need to do just to get her out. instead of getting the dry cleaning picked up and delivered to your house, get her to take it.

    also, be kind but firm. if you don't want her hanging around, maybe get her a tv for her room and a dvd player. if you aren't happy with her watching tv during "work" time, maybe you can find some cooking show tv shows for her to watch and write down the recipes?

    if you like to give your little one a bath yourself, then have her run the bath and clean up after you've finished.

    i figure that if she cooks breakfast, then cleans up after you. then does some cleaning. makes lunch... cleans up... goes to the supermarket... cooks dinner, cleans up... most of the day is gone...

  5. #5
    aussie mum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    i can imagine it being tough depending on the size / layout of where you live. we were in a serviced apartment for 2 weeks with my helper when she first started and i cried and cried. hated having her in my space with nothing to do!
    when we moved to a large apartment it was much better. her room was at the very far end off the back of the kitchen and large laundry. i would never see her and had to come and look for her if i wanted her to do something for me. she would be busying herself ironing or in one of the stupid # of bathrooms somewhere.
    we have recently moved to a much larger house but the layout is different and her room and the laundry area are much smaller. she is therefore more often in the general living spaces folding laundry and things. if we didn't already have such a good relationship i would be finding it tough. but we have worked together for a couple of years now and she is still a quite and unobstrusive person . I have even invited her to watch american idol with me this week!!

  6. #6
    wanfamily is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Aussie Mum and Sea Princess - reading your posts was like reading my own frustrations to the letter! I've had a helper for 8 months now and I still can't get used to the lack of privacy. The main problem is the lay out of our apartment - our DH has to go through the living room to use the bathroom and the 'common bathroom' is very much in earshot of all the bedrooms (sometimes get woken up when she goes in the middle of the night). I have to confess, I do take the kids out a lot just to get some personal space!
    I'm moving apartments in Aug and the main criteria will be more privacy. If I wasn't going back to work, I would be weighing up the pros and cons of actually having someone here at all. I reckon it's just a case of different folks, different privacy needs!

  7. #7
    LeahH is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Hong Kong, Mid Levels

    If you get really down about this, what about a 'live out' option? There are of course both legal and illegal ways of doing it..

    You have less freedom/spontaneity as nights out need to be arranged, but you retain a degree of privacy and still have the help at crucial periods of the day.

    As stated above, there are legal/local hire options (more expensive) and the cheaper but illegal route (having a FDH live in a boarding house).

    These options work for a lot of people.

  8. #8
    deemama is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Mid Levels

    sorry to have gone off the tangent a bit.. i need a DH quite urgently as my current one decides not to renew the contract coz she knows we will be hiring one more DH and she doesnt work with someone else. Im delivering in sept but i would need to train up two before my due date. so i you have any referrals pls call ask them to call me at 9674-3660. Ms Lai.

    to continue with the threads above, i think the "live out" option is good. my place was too small to have a full time DH. i paid her $1800 more a month plus extra transportation costs (sometimes cab fare if stay stays beyond 9:30pm). it worked out very well. she comes in later on Sat as well. Good Luck

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