I count myself very lucky to live in a part of the world where domestic help is somewhat affordable and relatively easy to come by. I say relatively easy to come by because I took advantage of ‘the house help transfer window’ – the period after the Christmas and New Year festivities and holiday season when most house helps decide not to return to their work stations from the village – to get a new house help; however it has taken me a month plus to land one: thank God it would seem from today I am out of the woods!
The general understanding in my part of the world is that house helps assist in housekeeping and when the mother is working then they also take care of the child/children – I hesitate to use the term ‘raise up‘ the child/children. But when I look at it critically, I don’t think they assist – they actually get the job done, period! Because let us be honest if there was ever a thankless job, it has to be housekeeping: Its mundane, it has to be done over and over again especially cleaning but dare you not do it then everything literally begins to fall apart.
According to Wikipedia (who quotes Wikipedia, I do ) housekeeping is defined as:
“. . . the management of duties and chores involved in the running of a household, such as cleaning, cooking, home maintenance, shopping, laundry and bill pay. These tasks may be performed by any of the household members, or by other persons hired to perform these tasks. The term is also used to refer to the money allocated for such use”
Child raising and housekeeping work hand in hand. This is because the children are not being raised in isolation but within a household, and that household requires keeping; maintenance. Housekeeping is also a learning point for the children; as they learn to help around the house and daily participate in housekeeping. During the days when we haven’t had a helper around ( and come to think of it, even when we have had a helper), my elder child has been so helpful. She especially likes washing dishes and cooking, I wonder if it’s because she gets to wear a colorful apron; but I think she enjoys feeling a part of the grownups club. I just wish she knew how growing up is overrated.
Being a stay at home mum means that every moment when the children are awake I have to choose between child raising and housekeeping especially when the two cannot be combined: at that point child raising always wins for me. And that’s where a helper comes in handy; she helps keep the house as I do what only I can do, raise up a godly offspring by God’s grace and for His glory.
Since the beginning of the year I have been reading my Bible from Genesis. I have seen over and over again the culture of a wife having a helper even before child bearing. Those guys must have known how hard marriage life is, leave alone when you add children: No wonder they would in foresight give helpers (known as maidservants or nurse) to their daughters when they got married. Read the story of Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel and you will see what am talking about. Of course in all the women mentioned with the exception of Rebekah we find that the helpers also doubled up as concubines: I am in no way endorsing that practice!
As I said earlier, housekeeping is not one of my strengths but I am learning on the job as a housewife and stay at home mum that it is one of my main job descriptions and expected outputs. Therefore, I have put in place measures to ensure my success; one of them being hiring a helper to clean, do laundry, maintain the house and sometimes help with the cooking. But that leaves me with shopping and paying of bills.
At the end of last year, I stumbled upon an online wholesale shop. You order stuff you need from them and they deliver at your doorstep. Let me just say that, I am smiling since then. If you have tried to go shopping with a toddler and an infant, then you understand why I am smiling. Children love colour and the supermarkets know that only too well, so they display all the colorful eatables at the children eye level and the children follow the cue and pick them and eat them; or ask that you purchase it for them. My three sisters and I once went shopping with six nephews and nieces and let me just say we are never doing that again! The fact that the online shop I discovered sells stuff at whole sale price/discounted price is such a plus for me; helps me stretch the coins.
That leaves me with paying bills which begs the question, where is the income coming from?
To be Continued . . .