And now for something completely different….

….this week, I am doing something I never thought I would do. I am hiring household help. Whew – there….I said it.

This topic has caused much internal debate for the past few months for a number of reasons. For one, everyone expects expats to hire local help since “it’s so cheap” and “why would you deny yourself that luxury?” My response used to be something along the lines of “Well, yes, domestic help is less expensive abroad than in the US, but does that really mean you need to have it?” and “I can cook, clean, and raise a child , I don’t need anyone else to do that for me.” (After all, I have many years of higher education behind me so that surely should qualify me for some or at least one of these tasks, right?). And mind you, I am a strong willed person (yes, I admit it!), and I felt pretty strongly about not wanting to hire someone because I wanted to do it all myself.

Well, fast forward a few months to present time Sao Paulo. Add a large apartment that has white (!) tiles and hardwood floors and more bathrooms than we can use. And then, add city pollution that invades your home as soon as you open a door or a window (=dust everywhere all the time) plus a curious toddler who loves picking up and eating anything off the floor. Yes you too would think it’s about time for a helper. And so, the process begins…


5 thoughts on “And now for something completely different….

  1. good luck finding someone easily! Personally I'd LOVE to have some HH help, but to each her own…I'm sure you'll get used to it quickly and it will take some weight off your shoulders.

  2. It's Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you're on it!Here is the link: I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)Thanks!

  3. It's not a luxury, it can truly be a need. Not only for day to day keeping up of housework, but child care, shopping, food prep, etc. How many places in the US require you to wash your walls regularly? How about soak and bleach your fruits and veggies? Shopping can often be more of a time-consuming ordeal, and pet and child care and not readily available 'commercially'. Amman does not burden me unduly(!), it's nice here, but I'm going to be looking for a part-time maid too, good to have the help, and we'll be wanting to travel. I want someone I can trust to watch our house while we are gone, keep it clean, watch for bursting pipes or other fun calamities, and take care of our cats.

  4. I hear you. I wrestle with this decision with every overseas move we do. Afterall, I am a "stay at home mom"…can I not do my own laundry for goodness sake? I have (without regret) hired staff at every post. My decision for hiring staff is a bit different than the two you listed (ie it's so cheap & why would you deny yourself the luxury.) My reason for hiring staff was that it means a well paying job for someone else. The other two reasons are nice as well. =)Best of luck as you look for the person who'll be working in your home!Naoma PS~I'm a new follower on your blog and am enjoying reading!

  5. In retrospect, I wish I had utilized household help more when we lived in Ukraine. -Life- just took longer — and having help from someone super-efficient with household tasks? Totally worth it. But I felt. . . guilty?. . . that I couldn't do it all myself. Now I look back and wish I spent more time language learning, more time out in the community, more time taking my kids places, and utilized help more regularly. If/when we move overseas again, I'll be more active in planning to have help instead of trying to prove to myself that I can "do it all" and do the things that either only I can do (things with my kids) or things I want to invest myself in (language studies/voluntarism.)

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