Family Friday: Maidless, Not Helpless

Second Friday of the month: Home & Living / Parenting

We've been without help for two months now. Well, we were able to hire a cleaning lady once or twice weekly, and was able to find a full time helper two weeks ago. Unfortunately, she only stayed for a week before she got news that her toddler was hospitalized. In short, we are still maidless as of this writing. This is how our kids' room looks like now. Horror!

Big deal? Not really. But let's face it, having a kasambahay brings so much weight off our shoulders as homemakers. Who wouldn't want an extra set (or sets) helping hands, right? Having a maid would mean having more time spent with the kids and getting some (income-generating)work done, instead of logging hours doing chores. Sumasakit na yung mga kamay ko kaka-hugas, walis, minsan laba, and I'm getting dry hands na (vanity strikes)! :p

Part of my growing up years, we didn't have house help either. Same goes for J. We both learned to do household chores and to fend for ourselves, not waiting to be served. We're not afraid to get our hands dirty - literally.

As parents, we know the value of learning life skills and for children not to depend on anyone to do things for them or clean up after them. It's what we hope to teach our kids as they grow. Having a helper is a privilege.

While we're still searching for "the one", J and I agreed that we'll use this maidless period to make the kids work. Hindi child labor ha! =)  

Teaching moments, diba? And there are lots of it! Like this... the boy helping daddy clean the table after dinner and then wash his own plate and utensils. I told him he will be credited for HELE (home eco subject) when he contribute in doing house chores. The girl, we observed, seems to enjoy washing dishes more than big brother (kasi naglalaro pa with the water)!

We have a three-level house, five rooms, with four adults (including my in-laws) and two kids, aside from the family driver. Everyone helps out, and that's the good part. However, the most tedious for me is actually cooking and doing the laundry. It takes the most amount of time to do. Wash dishes, sweep the floor, clean the toilet, hand-wash and iron clothes, cook, I can do them all... but only if I really, really, really have to. Siyempre, I choose not to diba (remember I still homeschool the boy on top of housework, kakapagod!), and instead look for service providers that can address specific needs.

So in the meantime, we avail of as much help as we can get, and find ways to lessen the load for everyone in the house. On top of the division of labor, we use various services and products that help us in managing the household more efficiently, such as:
  • Hire a part-time cleaning lady
  • Assign chores and tasks to kids
  • Use a reliable laundry shop
  • Use innovative, multi-tasking, or multi-use kitchen and house care products
  • Call for food delivery

Pang-laba. I bought this coz there are times I need to wash our undergarments and a few pieces of clothing that we need immediately, like kids' uniform.
It's more expensive than regular brands but I found this to be an effective laundry powder and makes our clothes soft -- no need for fabric conditioner, and it's all natural pa!

For most of our laundry needs, I bring them to SUDS Laundry.
Overall, we are very satisfied with the efficient service from the staff at their Shaw branch, and most importantly, the quality of their wash, fold and press. Some clothes we don't even have to iron anymore since they've folded them quite neatly! They are mildly scented too so hindi masakit sa ilong yung amoy unlike others we've tried in the past.
We were introduced to SUDS' services last summer and we have stuck with them since then.
Read more about my earlier feature here.

Food -- quick-cooking meals, ready-to-cook food, corned beef, and leftover makeover, of course!

Take-outs or order in. It's the most convenient for all of us since no more cooking, no more dishes to wash afterwards, and no cleaning after all the mess.
There's our ever reliable food outlets that deliver, like Country Chicken for their chicken and BBQ, Golden Chicken House for affordable lutong-bahay ulam, and Diao Eng Chay (DEC) for instant ready-to-serve dishes and snacks.

We can't do this every day, so on days I have to cook and prepare our meals, I always rely on multi-use kitchen tools like my kitchen-to-table Lock & Lock glass containers, and Glad Press 'n Seal. With these items, no need to transfer leftover food to another container, which lessens our time on dish washing and saves water too! The next day, it's ready to be heated and served in the same dish.

We're maidless, but definitely not helpless. We just look at this as a minor hump and a learning opportunity for the children. Always thankful for the means available to us that ease our day to day "burdens".

For those of you who don't have help, especially those living abroad, how do you do it?

Looking forward to better days ahead, for sure. For now, carry on.

p.s. I will not attempt to clear that warzone of a room up there!

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