Monday, October 22, 2007

Daisy the House Drudge

Out of my 11+ years of marriage and keeping house, I've only had a maid for 1 1/2 years of that time. Boy how that 1 1/2 years made a big difference in my sanity!

We sent my housekeeper to my in-laws house to work. My father-in-law has become quite ill and it's becoming increasingly difficult for my mother-in-law to keep up the house. I'm grateful I had my maid to help me out with my last heavy months of pregnancy and the first year of Buddy's life. Although it was nice having the dishes washed and toilets scrubbed for me, I found I miss having another adult around the house more than anything since DD's not here most of the time.

In the two days since she's left I have the following problems:
-only 4 combined hours of sleep due to balancing Buddy and EttaMae's waking during the night.
-had to take the world's fastest shower as Buddy stood screaming outside the bathroom.
-had to "hold it" until Buddy passes out for a nap
- carry Buddy in the laundry basket with the dirty clothes since he can't be left on his own
-speedcleaning at night after the kids are asleep because Buddy won't let me do anything else as long as he's awake.
-haven't yet taken the garbage out to the street because I can't carry Buddy and the garbage and I'd have to do it in my abaya.
- I can't just run out for a moment without packing up all my kids.
These are all things my maid would help out with when she was here. She'd play with Buddy for a moment if I needed to answer the "call of nature" or manage EttaMae if she woke up at night while I managed Buddy instead of the two locked in a cycle of waking each other up with their whining. And if I didn't get any sleep the night before, she'd watch Buddy for me as I took a cat nap. She'd also make sure EttaMae didn't kill her brother with love while I was reading for my dissertation.
Inshallah, I'll work out a system soon. I always say that as long as you schedule things right, you can fit in an amazing amount of stuff into a day.


UmmAbdurRahman said...

sorry Daisy you're getting no pity from me here :)

I work the night shift, do all of the above mentioned things while trying to find even an hour to sleep. I have to pay bills, run errands for my deported husband, and find timd daily to chat with him on webcams so our son doesnt forget what he looks like. Oh...I also forgot online classes, preparing for my boards, grocery shopping, oil changes and the list goes on and on and on.

All that aside, it is easy to get spoiled. Most of the world lives without a live in maid to help with daily chores and it can be difficult adjusting when your help is gone.

I hope you work out a plan soon cuz i love ur blog!

أبو سنان said...

I thought Sayf was the only one like that. Maskeena, my wife cannot get anything done when he is awake. He is with her everywhere.

We hope he isnt such a momma's boy when he geets older, but at 18 months I guess it is okay.

barbereally said...

My feelings are if it dosnt get done today oh well there always tomorrow..
Well dont be surprised to see a mess, (1 neighbor came over one day and she said u really need a maid) felt like say b--ch u came unannouced and u sit there and ur looking in my corners, i have young kids all hers are mostly grow WHAT DOES SHE EXPECT !My mother taught me if u dont have something nice to say be quiet.

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

UmmAbdurRahman- The thing that gets me is that while living in the west, I'm an organizational wizard! I'm either getting old or the laid-back lifestyle here is rubbing off on me! I'm making Dua'a for you and your husband.

أبو سنان - MaryJo was very high maintenance from day1 and followed me around every step despite my efforts to make her more independent. She didn't touch a toy on her own unless someone is playing with her, even to this day. She was one on one attention ALL the way and would scream bloody murder if I dared do anything else. Buddy wasn't initially like this but my housekeeper and MaryJo would pick him up at the smallest whimper despite my telling them to let him fuss a bit so now he feels a sense of entitlement, the little prince:P

barbereally- I've mellowed out A LOT! I had to put things into perspective. For example, I'm only washing dishes no more than twice a day instead of jumping on them as soon as they touch the sink. The dinner dishes can sit till after the kids have their baths and go to sleep. I don't think the housewife police operate here:P

Anonymous said...

I guess you don't miss a thing until you *lose* it. I have a 19 month daughter who also likes to follow everywhere but my oldest was the one who was more clingy than this one. My advice is, get the things done that are important, with young kids, you can't have everything done to perfection. Hang in there, they will soon grow up inshallah(I tell that to myself all the time). Though I wouldn't mind having extra help! :D sf

Anonymous said...

Okay, I will admit, as I read your entry, my first thought was "humph, must be rough".:)
Where I live(Northwest US) it is pretty much unheard of to have a maid or nanny. It is considered a luxury to have a "housecleaner" come in and clean a couple hours a week. Since, I am a "SAHM", my husband would not justify the $80.00 for this service.
So, I don't know what I am missing (sigh).
That is ok. I love reading your blog and enjoy learning about other cultures.
I sincerely hope that your stress is resolved soon and you get some help!

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

sf- it was nice being able to sit and drink a cup of cofee exactly when the urge hit me because the extra help was available. I'm having to put if off now until I have my hands free which only further exacerbates my moodiness:(

Lisa- Some day I'm gonna document, in photos, the unholy dust that this country kicks up. I'll sweep it up, weigh it and photo it:P And the houses are enormous. I forgot to write about exactly how much work goes into maintaining cleanliness in Gulf homes. It's a completely different story than what goes on in even the most fastidious of households in the west. I never had a problem keeping up a normal western home. Several houses on my street here have more than one maid because it's hard for one to keep it up to spec in some cases!

Anonymous said...

It is true, the homes and even apartments in the Gulf are more spacious than the *cubes* we have here. My cousin in dubai has a 3 bdrm apartment with 3 full baths! A living room, I think most have 2 living rooms or some kinda rooms that cater to guys and ladies separtely. I think in one way it's fine but then if you don't have extra house help, you are in deep trouble!:) sf

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

sf- Downstairs: Majlis (men's parlor), magellat (women's parlor), dining room, kitchen, and two bathrooms. Upstairs: 3 bedrooms each with full bath, a living room, and a kitchenette. The patio needs the entirety washed down at least every couple of days which means dousing it with water and squeegeeing it. I'm not even including the laundry room/maids room or the driver room, each with their own bath. And my house isn't big, it's a duplex!

Intlxpatr said...

Oh sweetie!

1. Backpack/baby carrieer. It works. Very 70's, but it works.

2. Playpen

3. Walker - you put the child in and they can't get out.

Crib? Works for very short times.

My heart is with you.

L_Oman said...

Ms. Daisy - I totally understand where you're coming from. It's rough over here without a maid - like you, I could bring a whole wastebasket full of sandy dust just to show what happens if the house isn't swept / mopped on a daily (sometimes twice daily) basis!

I was without my helper this summer for about 45 days and let me tell you that there were a few meltdown moments without her. It really made me appreciate her more - even though sometimes she drives me nuts with her weirdness.

Saudi Stepford Wife-Daisy said...

Intlxpatr- i bought a "Snugli" while in the States just for that purpose. I also got into baby-wearing and me and my housekeeper would sling Buddy on our backs or kangaroo-style with an enormous cotton rectangular headscarf and keep him away from his "loving" sister. But alas, Mr. Pudgy-Butt has grown too heavy (he just turned one last month).
My biggest issue is the house layout. The rooms downstairs are all open so I can't block Buddy from going upstairs or eating kitty-brownies from the litter box. The only truly baby-proof room is the living room which is located on the second floor. Most housework is in the kitchen downstairs which leads to problems.

l_oman- OMG, you just reminded me... winter dust-storms and dust-carrying wind are on the way soon. That means it's back up to twice daily dusting's:-(

Anonymous said...

salaams, you're lucky sister, i am blind and havea cronic illneess and no maid etc to aid me but i hope you figure it out soon

Anonymous said...

As a full time live in maid it is nice to see your appriciation of your maid, even if it might have taken being without her to realise it. Most people take their maids for granted (not saying you!) but sometimes our profession is sill associated with the "servant class" of yesteryear. Being a uniformed maid (cap and apron) I think it(the uniform)helps the employer distance themselves from the maid.