We have been living in a “maid-less” household for about three weeks now, and with a baby who refuses to be put down, things can get pretty challenging. I know foreign society might laugh at my little predicament but this is the Philippines and the norm is to have maids in practically every household’s employment. Being “help-less” can easily take away a lot of the joys of being a wife and mom—three meals to cook a day, mounting dishes on the sink, dirty floors, stinky reusable diapers, and a baby who just refuses to separate from his mother’s arms. So tempting as it may be to complain, I think it’s time to take ownership of my household. To those who may be in a similar situation as I am, here are some helpful reminders to keep things in perspective, and to help keep the household clean and running (well, as much as possible):
|Cooking while feeding Gabbie|
|Clutter and cute baby. I choose to focus on the latter :)|
- · Choose one or two of baby’s sleeping time to get some work done – ever heard the good ol’ advice to ‘sleep when the baby’s asleep’? Well, I couldn’t follow that. At least not all the time. I use Gabbie’s short nap times to do as much as dishes as I can, iron, chop ingredients. I do a big chunk of chores like cleaning the bathroom or kitchen at night when Gabbie’s asleep. If I have some writing or editing work to do, I just put him in a sling during the afternoon and let him nap in my arms (sleeping in my arms equates to longer, uninterrupted sleep for him). BUT I try to join in one of his afternoon naps so I don’t get all burned out.
- · Adjusting my standards. – I can live with a little mess now. Unmade bed, cluttered dining table, chaotic kitchen…it doesn’t mean I’ll never attend to them. But if Gabbie needs me or if I need to prepare lunch right now, then those chores would to wait. The most important lesson I have learned when I had a baby was FLEXIBILITY. Not everything will go according to my plan and schedule but all can be graceful and even enjoyable.
- · Wear a baby sling – for moms with babies who just refuse to be put down for one reason or another, a baby sling is a lifesaver. I use mine when I have to do some editing, wipe tables, wash dishes or whatever else that require my two hands. I use a SaYa SSK http://www.facebook.com/pages/SaYa-Baby-Carrier/141111665979997
- · Use rubber gloves for quicker, more efficient washing AND less germs – I don’t have much time on my hands to I make sure I protect them so they can work faster. It makes dishwashing or diaper-rinsing so much more bearable and easier to do. Plus, since I’m one who prepares the food around the house, my hands are kept cleaner. I use a regular Ansell pair, bought for about P80 at the grocery.
- · Cook in bigger batches – More chances of leftovers for the next meal. I do this for our and baby’s food. I blend, mix and mash a good meal for Gabbie, put the leftovers in his own ice cube tray and freeze them. I thaw and heat a few cubes for meals thereafter.
- · Involve baby when I can during chores – I count the laundry with him, make him eat his food as I finish up the cooking (of course I make sure the cooking dish isn’t spewing out hot oil or anything like that—just stirring soups or sauces and the like), dance as I wash the dishes, do whatever it takes J
- · Thank God that I have a husband, a cute baby, and a home to look after every single day. The everyday tasks are just to-do’s, they’ll get done sooner or later. But what I have are priceless and the joy of being with them should never be lost.
- · Depend on God fully and completely – it needs to be said that I can try to be a super mom and do everything I can for my family day in and day out, but without the grace of God that is fresh and new everyday, I will accomplish nothing. I’m a first-time wife and mom and I have no prior experience at this, but the reason this household is blissfully joyful is because God is faithful in answering our prayers to lead us in our marriage, in parenting, and in our work.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. “ James 1:5
Don’t get me wrong. There are days when things are extra challenging and I wish I’m be a better homemaker, wife or mom. But I rest in confidence that it is not I who will carry out my tasks for me to fruition. “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philipians 1:6
So really, having no helper is of no consequence to the Cabardo household. There is joy in our hearts especially with these easily-missed benefits of having no maid:
- · I get to cook again and my husband enjoys it.
- · We save on cooking oil and rice, which our helper did not use sparingly
- · Privacy in our condo
- · Enjoying service like no other from my husband who shares dishwashing and cleaning chores with me J
What is your maid-less experience like?