“Salute to you mummy, how do you survive your daily life with taking care of your twins without a full-time domestic helper or maid (to be used interchangeably) ?”
This is one of the questions frequently asked by my friends as well as strangers on the street. it seems like an amazing feat that I could cope with my twins since they were born, without a maid. Yes and no to the question. Yes, I do not employed a full-time domestic helper. No, I am the maid!
I have also received this FAQ (frequently asked question) as often- “Why don’t you want to employ a domestic helper?” There are several reasons to this, “we do not want an external party to intrude our lives”, “we do not wish to rely on an unrelated person to take care of our kids”, “we do not want to rely on another person to take care of our daily lives”, “we do not want our kids to grow up in reliance on a maid”, “I want the freedom to walk around my house bra-less”.
It is not difficult to manage our lives maid-less as long as you can follow these 7 tips to survive without a full-time domestic helper, and I am really no super-woman.
1. Accept the fact that at times your life is messy
Before G&G were born, my life was organised and orderly. Same for my cupboard and wardrobe. My twins did not only changed my lifestyle, they changed my attitude towards my life as well. My tolerance level for messiness has raised. It does not matter if my wardrobe looks like it has just gone through a tornado, as long as I can find my clothes. It does not matter if I can only manage to wash my laundry at 11pm as long as they are being washed eventually. I learnt to accept that life is not perfect, at times it gets mess up, it is perfectly fine!
2. Stay as organised as possible
Indeed, we have to accept the imperfect life. Still, staying organised is a must. “Everything has a place it belongs to”, that is what I always tell my beloved husband. So, wherever they are retrieved, they just have to go back to their home after use. In this way, you do not have to always try guessing where things are. You do not get a prize for guessing right but get a lot of frustration if you cannot find it. Same for dirty laundries, they do not belonged to the floor, they go to the laundry basket!
One of the household chores which I find it a waste of time is, folding clothes. So, I compartmentalize the clothes drawer into sections like tees, shorts, undergarment and just put them into the clothes organizer after drying. You can buy those clothes organizer from IKEA and place them in the drawer.
3. Extra sets of utensils, milk bottles and many wash cloths and floor cloths Tots are messy in their exploring stage now. Meal time is especially messy time when they may spit their food on the floor or topple their whole bowl of rice or take out the food from their mouth and start playing with it. Or, they may suddenly close their mouth or turn their heads away when you expect the spoon filled with the delicacy goes straight into their mouth and not somewhere else. There is no time to do thorough cleaning for every mess they made but just have to do a quick wipe or retrieve another set of utensils. Likewise, we have extra milk bottles so that we do not waste time washing them immediately after use. Just rinse them, place in the “To-Wash” tub and wash all in one go after kids go to bed.
4. Declutter your stuff
What are the benefits of decluttering your house? You have less cleaning, less things to organise and more space, and you will have less stress. We always declutter our house every now and then. Some tips to share on decluttering:
a. Look through your wardrobe, clothes that you did not wear for past 6 months you can either give or throw away. if you do not wear them within 6 months, either you do not fit in anymore or simply not wearing them anymore. Time to discard. We always fall into this trap of sentimental feeling by telling ourselves we will wear them one fine day but we know even if this day were to come, we probably change it out again. Same for your shoes!
b. Give away or sell the stuff that you are not using anymore including babies stuff that they have out-grown.
c. Practise this one-item-per-week, every week put one item to give away in a big trash bag. By the time the trash bag is filled, give the bag away.
d. Think before buy. Think of how you would need to declutter when you buy. Probably, you would not buy it at the end of the day and save you the trouble of removing it eventually.
e. Set a target area each month. Focus on an area every month to declutter to avoid overwhelming from decluttering the whole house at one go. When you focus on an area instead of the whole house, you will be more motivated to clean up the small area and use lesser time. You won’t procrastinated so often.
5. Have a time-table yet allow for deviation and make adjustments where necessary
Babies are structured human beings. I try to have a set of daily time-table for my kids, e.g. 7.30 – 8.30am wake up and shower, 9 – 9.30am breakfast, thereafter a morning stroll then proceed home for morning nap around 10.30-11am. But, we do allow for deviation. At times, morning naps may be missed for something else like an outing or they simply are not sleepy, I just let them play until they are tired but not overly-tired (take their cues) before putting them in bed. And they are now transiting from two naps to one, flexibility is imperative.
Similarly for household chores, cleaning of floor, toys, washing dishes and preparing for next meal are all done when kids are napping. Other housework like washing laundry, and milk and water bottles are done after kids are asleep at night. Bonding and learning time are something I will not sacrifice for household chores. Remember tip #1, some things can wait. For chores like ironing, washing toilets and fans, these can be done once per week on weekend when we have full manpower.
I have not mentioned that waking up before your lil ones is essential. 30 minutes can perform a lot of tasks including feeding yourself, boiling water, preparing breakfast for kids and cleaning the dog’s pee tray.
6. Split the roles
We split our roles and household chores among ourselves. I am lucky to have a hands-on husband who would forgo some of his sleep time to help out with the housework, and fortunate to have my mum as helper and main chef for my meals. Each of us has a role to play in the household and we juggle our turns for our personal stuff. While one plays with the kids, another cook then shower. Then, the musical chair starts when one finishes his/her shower.
7. Have some “me” time
To maintain sanity, some “me” time is important. We usually have some “me” or “us” time after kids are asleep. That’s the time when we catch up our lives with each other. At times, I would be given time-off by my other two domestic partners to go for a hair cut or facial. Much needed to upkeep myself as well. Of course, I use some of my “me” time to write my blog posts as well.
That’s pretty much the 7 tips. Oh yeah, one added capability to maintain a life without maid, is the ability to multi-task in fast pace. I have been trained to breastfeed two tots while writing blog posts, or cooking my tots’ dinner while preparing our own as well as my dog’s dinner at the same time all have to be completed within 30 minutes. Also, it helps a lot to tell your kids and dog to behave themselves especially when you are doing the household chores, whether they understand your instruction entirely or not. When I am cleaning the floor, Mr O will have to stay in his chair. No compromise!
If the household chores are too much to handle, you may consider engaging part-time helper to help out once per week. At least the heavier and daunting chores like washing toilet, cleaning windows and fans, ironing and a thorough cleaning can be done by the part-timer. The daily cleaning by ourselves can be performed on a lighter version using the help of technology or domestic products like iRobot vacuum cleaner to let it run on its own and those floor sweeper for light cleaning. Using some of your creativity or reading others’ tips on cleaning helps too.
We are surviving well without a full time maid and never regret any slightest in our decision to remain maid-less. Every day, we tell ourselves life is great without a maid. Life is great, life is fantastic!
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