The Domestic Helper Green Bug
Green with jealousy. That must be it.
Well, I’m writing this article as a supplement to my hoard of domestic helper articles. It’s really to give a break-down analysis of how I overcame and am still overcoming the green bug. Everyone has jealousy on different degrees and everyone is (un)comfortable in different ways. Some people highly enjoy (or have no choice with) having their DH’s very involved in their children’s lives, while others turn green and use criticism as rationale. I don’t say my methods are correct, nor do I endorse that everyone follow my lead, but maybe getting a different perspective will help tuck the green bug back into its home.
Do the important things yourself
I will always be the one to bathe my children. I will also be the one to feed them if I can (and of course, my helper takes over when I can’t). I will read to them and tell them stories and do all the fun things – like play at the park and take them shopping. I will cut their hair, I will put them to sleep, I will be the first one they see and hear when they wake up in the morning. These things are important to me, so I prioritize that I will be the one to do them.
There are moments where my helper will read to them or put them down for a nap, but on most occassions, it’s my job. The domestic helper is merely a supplement to me.
Set the precedence
With my first helper, I kind of let her trample me and take over my jobs with the children. It was difficult to say no when they are that persistent. However, through that experience, I’ve learned to put my foot down and set the precendence for everything. Now, my helper feeds the kids when I can’t, not I feed the kid when the helper can’t. You have to be firm with your requests and don’t feel guilty if the DH is being persistent. Same goes with pushing the stroller. They usually request to push something because it makes them feel helpful. If I don’t have anything for her to push or help with, then I don’t bring her along. In most cases when I go out, I won’t bring the helper. Again, setting the precedence. Yes, sometimes, it’s nicer to have the help, but in most cases, I can manage. It’s gotten to the point where I will give my helper choices (does she want to come or not) and her usual answer is NO – but this is because she knows I’m going with the in-laws and really don’t require her there. There are instances where I will request her to join me (if I’m going swimming with both kids) and she knows that I do need her – so we tag team it. It’s a happy medium and if she stays home, the house is usually sparkling when I get home.
This is important to have, but it’s not easily given. I don’t think employers should explicitly trust their helpers at time zero of employment. It must be earned. And even then, trust doesn’t hit 100% after x number of days of employment, in fact, it may never hit 100%, but we’re getting close. Initially, I didn’t trust myhelper. I wasn’t sure of her capabilities, I wasn’t sure of her judgment, I wasn’t sure of her. However, you slowly build trust (in both directions) through time and measured tasks.
How about starting with the more tangible things? Like money? Well, use a log book. Whatever she buys, she needs to provide receipts and write it down. Overtime, the log book becomes a nuisance because you trust her with money.
What’s next? Trusting her with your children? I think this is usually a key factor in hiring a DH. OK, so start small again. I started with just letting her play with the children or babies while we ate or showered. If that worked out, then you extend the time longer, but still with supervision. After that, you move to tasks that you think she can handle. Changing diapers, changing clothes, feeding – again, all with supervision. Not all DH’s are trained to take care of babies well, but if you invest the time to teach them properly and how you like it done, it pays off. Then you can slowly take that to another level – leave the kid at home with the helper for brief moments to run errands and then slowly extend that time.
You have to let them in
And when I mean in, I mean emotionally. If the DH is emotionally attached to your child (even in the slightest), she will care for them as best as she can. It’s not just a job anymore, it’s the well-being of your children. Initially, it would peeve me so much that my child would laugh with her, but rationally, it benefits everyone. I still get jealous when she plays with my child and my youngest baby would hug her and play with her back, but the rationale is that she takes wonderful care of her and always looks out for the baby’s best interest. Regardless, my baby still comes to me when she’s upset or sad or sleepy, so she still remembers who mommy is – they all do.
Invest in training
I’m still training my DH. The current one has been with me for 7 months now and the training goes on. Of course, you have to find the right one to train and that sometimes is just dumb luck. I am nit picky to the high heavens and that means everything must be done a specific way or else I turn into a werewolf. How do I do it? Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You need patience here because you can’t assume that everyone learns at the same rate. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Mr’s shirts go here, this way. My jogging pants go here. The socks much be rolled this way. The children’s food must be prepared this way. Vanessa likes her oatmeal this way. The list goes on and on, but it’s worth it. I am very satisfied with my DH’s training, but like I said, it needs fine-tuning.
Take time for yourself
As a mother of 2, I find that I do need time for myself. So I tuck away my green bug to do something for me. This means leaving the kids at home with the DH and going to do something for me. A good thing is to get a massage. A better thing is to get the massage at home - because my paranoid self is still contained. But do things for yourself and you’ll feel physically and mentally better.
HAHAHAHA. I think recognizing it is a first good step. With my first DH, I think I was so jealous that I was criticizing everything she did. For example, if she was pushing my child in the stroller and she hit a bump, I would suck in my breath and think “She’s damaging to my child”. I hated watching her feed my baby because she wasn’t doing it MY way. Everything she did disturbed me and so I terminated her contract at 6 months and hired another one – which was worse. It was only on my third DH that I finally began to understand that perfection only came in the form of a cloned self and that wasn’t going to happen. So I acknowledged my jealousy and the fact that I had to give and take some and not expect perfection from anyone – not even myself. No one can have the house spotless, cook the perfect meal, bathe all the children, have the clothes ironed, and get enough beauty sleep while having perfectly manicured toes.
Adult children don’t remember
My mother had a live-in DH with us for 7 years from the age of 4 – 11 (or something like that). My mom says that she was amazing and the best DH in the whole world. Well, I vaguely remember her. My youngest sister (with whom she had the greatest attachment to) doesn’t remember her at all. So there you go. I sure as hell remember my mother. Whom I confide in, whom I talk to, who chastised me when we were bad, who played the bad and good cop all at once. This is the mother that I know and love. See? There’s a difference. The DH merely did the domestic chores, but my heart still goes to my mother and not the DH. My mom even says that my youngest sister would prefer the DH to her when she was younger. Ask my sister who she prefers now. Impressions on children isn’t reduced to spurts of time, they actually last a lifetime.
I think it’s normal to have jealousy. Heck, I get jealous at everything – even when my own mother carries my children. Or when Victoria prefers to have Por Por put her to sleep, but deep down, it’s good. Children should have emotional ties to different people and not just one person. And jealousy is a human emotion that won’t go away, but at least it can be controlled. I hope this article has helped you understand a little more and let go a little bit. This type of understanding has helped me live a happier life and settle myself emotionally with a live-in DH. Initially, I hated having the DH, but with some reasoning, time, and understanding, we’ve worked out a happy harmony in my household and now I rather like it like that.