Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coping without my baby's nanny

Here in the Philippines, when both parents work full-time, we hire a live-in babysitter to take care of the kids, and that's besides the househelp that's also hired. In our case, since we live in an apartment and there's little that needs to be done in terms of household chores (which, most can be done early or during the weekends when both my husband and I are home), we have an all-in-one helper. She takes care of Jack-Jack while we're out working and does the household chores early in the morning, when my son's asleep, or during weekends.

When I gave birth, we didn't immediately have a helper to help around the house. Especially since it was still a bit difficult to move, despite my having a normal vaginal birth. Plus, my baby always seem to be nursing so it was difficult to go about and do some household chores. But we managed, since I was still on maternity leave and my husband took his paternity and block leave to coincide with mine so we can bond with our new baby. We had a helper (#1) the week after I gave birth, but she left us after two weeks, which, she was replaced a few days after but the replacement (#2) left us after four days. (Yes, we had quite a few misfortunes in looking for a helper/nanny.) It was still ok, given that I still have around five weeks of ML left and it was a good enough period to look for someone at least semi-permanent. So it was just me and baby during the day as J was back to work already. We were also at my parents' house for about a week during the day as the road in our street was being improved.

Anyway, helper #2 texted J that she wanted to go back to us, to which, we agreed, but she was bound to return at the start of November. So we had our helper and she's been a big help (no pun intended). She wakes up early in the morning to sweep around the house, do the laundry if it's laundry day, buy bread for breakfast, then when we go down after our morning rituals, she takes Jack-Jack and have him exposed to the sun while J and I eat our breakfast.

Throughout the day, she'd be holding Jack-Jack (as the boy seems to never want to be put down), occasionally placing him in his playpen when she would cook dinner or when she needs to go to the toilet, etc. When we get home, she'd be washing the bottles I used to collect for milk so that they'd be ready for use the next day.

Almost two weeks ago, our helper had to go back to the province for her brother-in-law's wake. She has a scheduled leave actually, for the graduation of her daughter but she had to go home earlier due to her brother-in-law's death. She told us she'd stay there to wait until the graduation of her daughter since it's expensive to go back and forth and she still doesn't exactly know when. We agreed. Last March 18, she left for Isabela. I took a half-day off and helped my mom watch Jack-Jack. Next day, Friday, same thing. But this time, my mom went here to the house earlier since J and I still had to go to work. I just took another half-day so I can relieve my mom of taking care of Jack-Jack.

The next working week, from March 22-26, was a struggle. From Monday to Wednesday, J and I would feed Jack-Jack his solid food for the day (it was papaya), bathe him (when there's still a bit of time), pack his things, then go to my parents' house to leave Jack-Jack with them. Our apartment, at that time was under renovation so it was dusty all-over that my baby developed a bad case of colds (which was cute at the same time since snot would ooze out of his nose everytime he sneezes) so it was better to leave him with my mom. Thursday and Friday, my mom would come to our house so she could watch over Jack-Jack since the construction was done. I only managed to sweep our bedroom. His night-time routine wasn't being religiously followed anymore.

I was late for every day of that week. J would be washing the collection bottles and pump parts I use when I pump in the office and sterilize them, along with the bottles that was used during the day. We ate take-out food for a week (even when we would leave Jack-Jack with my mom since she couldn't cook because Jack-Jack doesn't want to be left down). I'd try to wake up early in the morning so we'd have ample time to bathe, eat our breakfast, feed Jack-Jack and sort his things. I only managed to sweep our room so it'd at least be dust-free when we sleep. His night-time routine wasn't being followed anymore. And I was cranky, irritable, and just plain tired.

Thankfully, a temporary babysitter can come to our house to watch over Jack-Jack, who was offered by an aunt of mine since she now has a lot of free time after graduating from her nursing degree just last Thursday, March 25. At least now, about half of the work was taken off our shoulders, and my mom doesn't have to watch over Jack-Jack as he's becoming too active to her liking. We didn't turnover most duties to her since she's only temporary and the important thing is someone takes care of my baby and someone can clean the house and wash the dishes.

So now, we still have two nights before we're back to being nanny-less, then we have to prepare for an overnight thing at my in-laws' house, and then we have to go to my grandma's house for her birthday. And then our helper would come home.


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