Hands up if you’ve got a domestic maid at home. Chances are, almost 2 out of 10 households in Singapore has a domestic helper. And that probability may be higher if you’ve got young children or aged parents at home.
So it was interesting to read this commentary on how Singaporeans should prepare to go maidless if new policies from the Philippines or Indonesia kick in. Recently, there were already reports that Indonesian helpers employed in Malaysia can only do limited set of tasks, only housekeeping, babysitting or caring for the aged but not all 3. While I understand the concerns that these helpers may be overworked by some employers but with such a limited responsibilities, the help rendered may well be handled by ourselves.
In other countries, like Japan, South Korean and even the US, the concept of a life-in helper is simply unheard of due to the high cost. But somehow, they have managed to get by. So are Singaporeans a pampered bunch?
My family made a decision right from the start to go maidless. And yes, we are still surviving, thank you.
In terms of childcare, Sophie was placed in a infant care when she turned 4 months after my maternity leave. We were not keen to do the daily commute to my in laws as it takes almost an hours drive from home to their place and then to the office. Sophie attended a full day infant care that was just across my office so we’ll drop her off before heading to work and pick her up after work.
We’re still on the same arrangement with her in another child care, which I really give the thumbs up. One thing that we really appreciate is that the child care center understands the needs of working parents and serves dinner in school. Plus they even extended the center closing timing to 7:30pm, which is a great help if we do get held back at work.
You know wives who complain that they have to wash the dishes right after their husband did them? Not for me, because Alexis does such a wonderful job. In fact, he takes care of most of the cleaning and he’s a lean mean cleaning machine.
We are very democratic when it comes to the household chores. Since we don’t have a maid, everyone must chip in. That includes Sophie. She’s been taught to keep her things away after she’s done, bring her used utensils to the kitchen and even helps me with the laundry. I’ll say, it’s a fantastic way to teach the little ones about responsibilities around the house.
With Sophie’s dinner being settled in child care before coming home, it takes a huge load off me. But because I’ve decided to embark on a healthy lifestyle, I decided to prepare own my meals so that I have control over what I eat.
When cooking, I opt for simple dishes that I can whip up in less than half an hour. This would mean that I would need to prepare some of my ingredients the night before so that I can just concentrate on cooking when I get back. Some days, I would even cook extra portions so that I can have left overs to freeze, either for another day’s lunch or dinner. But there are days when I give myself a break and we’ll just eat out.
Oh and with my newly acquired “toy”, the Happy Call Pan, I hope to learn more recipes which I can whip up in the kitchen.
A healthy dinner cooked with my Happy Call Pan
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no superwoman despite me working, cooking, cleaning and looking after my family. The decision to go maidless would not be possible if not for the support from a very hands-on Alexis who not only helps with the household chores but also with Sophie. Otherwise, how else can I find the time to cook or exercise?
We’ve also got very supportive parents who helps us out on the home front whenever they can. They’ll even gladly pick Sophie from child care on evenings when we have a date night. And not forgetting, understanding bosses and colleagues who understands that our families need us after a day’s work.
If you have a maid at home, can you foresee yourself without help in the family? Or perhaps you’ve decided to get by life without a maid in Singapore In that case how do you cope? I’ll love to hear your personal experiences.
This article was featured in MummySG.