3 years back when I moved to Singapore from India I found myself in midst of women who could be categorised in 2 groups - 1. Who just can’t do without a house help and 2. Who took pride in not having a house help and managing everything themselves.
Both groups have such strong views that sometimes discussions on this topic were more intense than the India / Pakistan dispute or the US / China trade war. And I have to accept coming from India I was an out and out 1st category woman. I hardly ever cooked, had never done house cleaning, 95% grocery shopping was online, never ironed a thing in my life. I was a master of outsourcing, till COVID hit me. And boy it hit me hard.
But before I dive into my story a note to my lovely ladies in both categories:
Note to category 1 ladies - It’s possible to survive without house help. YES you can. If I can, anyone can.
Note to category 2 ladies - It’s really good that you can manage yourself but it doesn’t make you superior. So stop judging.
Back to me: My helper had to go back home 1 week before lockdown in Singapore. Leaving me with no time to interview and do the paperwork for a replacement. On top of that, the Singapore government banned part time helpers too. All, I mean all hell broke loose for me.
But I am proud to confirm it's been more than 1 year now and I am managing quite well without a helper. I have managed to cook, clean, do laundry, teach my kid, take her to classes, work out, etc etc all by myself. I can’t believe myself sometimes but it was a rocky journey and hence here are some pointers for my lovely ladies in category 1 who are getting dragged into category 2 for whatever / different reasons.
STEP 1: ACCEPTANCE
- Accept you can’t do everything every day.
- Accept everything will not shine. It need not shine.
- Accept you are not getting any reward. Not even a tiara.
- Accept you are a human and not a ROBOT.
STEP 2: PLANNING
- Plan plan plan. Plan every step of the day.
- Send calendar invites to yourself. It’s totally normal.
- Send a calendar invite to your husband when you need him to do something for you (trust me on this one).
STEP 3: ORGANISE
- Organise your work area kitchen, pantry, study.
- Do prep cooking at least one day of the week.
- Chop and stock some of the most commonly used vegetables in your house (onions for me).
- Freeze some food and use in rotation.
- Stock up on some quick but healthy snacks.
STEP 4: HAVE SOME FUN
Put your headphones on and
- Listen to your favourite music while doing the dishes / cooking / folding laundry etc.
- Catch ups with friends and family, while waiting for your kid’s playdate to get over.
- Listen to news / podcasts.
STEP 5: Learn to say NO
- You need an off day as much as others do.
- Prioritise your gym / swim / yoga / coffee with friends. These are all essential services.
Moving from Category 1 to Category 2 is an uphill task ladies but not impossible. So complement yourself if you decide to take on this journey. But like I always say, outsource what you can and don’t break your back (no one is getting a nobel prize for doing everything herself). Each family is different, each person is different and has different situations. So choose what works best for you and your family and be proud of all that you do for them.
I know just like me COVID has made a whole lot of women take on this transition. So do tell us how you made this transition, how did you manage to do it all.