How We Cope Without A Domestic Helper

In Singapore, many families with young children cannot do without a domestic helper. Even some families with Stay-At-Home-Mothers engage domestic helpers to help out with the kids and household chores.

Our eldest is turning eleven this year. In these past eleven years, we have had two domestic helpers – both lasted not more than six months each.

The first worked with us for about four months when I was working full-time, with two kids. We sent her back after I decided to be a stay home mother.

The second worked for us for about four months too. I was a SAHM with three kids below the age of seven. My husband was recovering from a major operation. So, we decided to employ a helper. After four months, we found out that she had been dishonest and was a constant liar. We sent her back.

And we have not had any since.


How we coped without a domestic helper:

1. Train the kids to pack up after playing

Ever since they were toddlers, we got our kids to pick up after themselves. The hubby is great at this. He is able to get them to keep their toys, books and whatever stuff that have been left lying around at the end of the day. They usually have to pack up before bedtime.

They grumble. They complain. They drag their feet. But they still have to pack.

As a result, they also learn to keep the toys after a play-date at friends’ or relatives’ homes, which is a good habit.

2. Organisation is key

I love storage boxes and cannot stand bits and pieces of random stuff lying around. So I buy storage boxes from ikea, toyogo and wherever I see nice suitable ones.


Recently, we bought these bins from ikea and use them as laundry bins. They have helped to reduce our time spent on sorting the dirty clothes for washing, as the clothes are immediately separated into 4 categories – white/light clothings, dark clothings, white/light socks and undergarments, dark socks and undergarments. When one of the bins are getting full, we just dump them into the washing machine and get them washed. It has been a great time-saver!

3. Use time and labour saving appliances

To reduce the time needed for household chores, we invest in appliances such as a dryer for drying washed laundry, a multipurpose oven for cooking, heating, steaming and a drinking water system so that there’s no need to keep boiling water. We used to have an auto-vacuum cleaner (iclebo) but it is no longer in working condition.

4. Outsource major housework

For major housework that cannot be done with appliances, we employ a part-time helper who comes in once a week for about 4 hours. She helps to wash the toilets, iron and fold the clothes, vacuum and mop the floor, change the bedsheets and other major cleaning. She is a great help to me and I cannot do without this part-time helper since we do not a live-in helper.

5. Isolate the mess

Kids’ Playroom – where we isolate the mess

When you’re really swimming in the mess and have no time to declutter (yet), a temporary solution to keep your sanity is to isolate the mess. We try to keep the mess in one of the bedrooms upstairs that is unused. This is also the kids’ playroom where most of their toys are kept. Now that they’re getting older and not playing with many of these toys anymore, the room has become our spare / storage / ironing / guest room. Until i have time for a major declutter, anything left lying around will be placed there for now. This helps to keep the rest of the house at least a little less messy (and our sanity intact).

6. Cook simple meals

I am not a good cook. Neither do I enjoy cooking. But for the sake of letting my family have some home-cooked meals, I will put my limited cooking skills to the test at least once or twice a week for dinner.

However, I specialise in ultra-simple meals that require little preparation and little cleaning up.

I make use of the oven for grilling or steaming, and the trusted HappyCall for pan-frying without having oil splattering everywhere. To make sure I do not have to mop the kitchen after cooking, I place newspaper on the floor (a trick I learnt from my mum-in-law!).

Once I am done with the cooking, I will simply use a piece of wet cloth and hand-wipe the kitchen floor once or twice. That’s it!

7. Get help from grandparents

About once a week, we have our dinner at either my parents’ or in-law’s place. Some days, my mother-in-law cooks extra food and the hubby will go over to bring the dishes back home for us. I just need to cook the rice.

My parents and mum-in-law are a great help with the kids. On days when I have to work, the kids will be at their grandparents’. We are blessed to have wonderful parents who are happy to extend their help with our kids.

8. Online shopping

We used to go grocery shopping about once a fortnight, lugging the three kids along. They loved it… but I hated it. To them it was fun running around the supermarket, looking at stuff and playing catching sometimes! To me, my stress level often hit the roof.

To reduce this, we are now looking at buying our groceries online.

I buy other stuff online too, simply for the convenience as I can shop when the kids are in school or in bed.

So, that is how we cope without a live-in domestic helper.

Recently, with the increase in my workload, the thought of getting a domestic helper crossed my mind. It is tempting to be able to offload all the household chores and cooking, so that I can devote my time to my work and the family.

However, having lived without a domestic helper for years now, we are all used to not having a stranger living in our home. If we were to have a helper now, it would require great adjustments on our part.

Do you have a domestic helper?
If not, how do you cope?


10 thoughts on “How We Cope Without A Domestic Helper

  1. Thanks for sharing tips which comes in useful whenever you have a helper or not. πŸ™‚
    We have a live-in helper shortly after no. 2 came along. Since then, we changed a helper & just renewed the present one. As much as possible, I wished we don’t need a live-in helper… But the amount of household chores reduced with another pair of hands is amazing.. And it is especially helpful when anyone is unwell at home.
    Can understand your dilemma of getting a live-in helper or not….
    For us, after many debates – sanity and harmony is key. 😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing Eve! We’re really considering. When I’m really exhausted, I wish there’s someone else at home to do all the washing and cleaning besides my hub and I. It is true… sanity and harmony is key. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your tips and actually follow many of them too. Here to have a live in helper wouldn’t do, it would cost too much (neither do we have the space for it now). So we have to find a way to get it done. Now when the kids are older, we have a smaller home and no more garden to take care of, i find we manage. But I will hire my cousins daughter for a week in June to get the windows, storage closets and mats cleaned, stuff rarely done but still needs to be done sometimes. I do not want to spend my holiday cleaning! I also think kids need to learn to clean up after themselves, it will help them in the future and involve them in my easy quick cooking too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds great! Agree that kids need to learn to clean up after themselves. These are basic life skills. Talking about cleaning of closets… this is something that is impossible for me to do for now!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome tips! At this point, it is still necessary for us to have a live in helper since I started work. Somebody has to care for my youngest as I am not prepared to send her to full time daycare. The key truly is in how each family dynamics works out in harmony with or without a helper. And as Eve says, these tips are great for all to learn! Will be sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Angie. Totally agree that it is up to the individual family. Some thrive with helper, some without. I guess we just have to make our own decision and stick with it… πŸ™‚


  4. I do not have one too. I have learnt to churn out meals without any frying (no need even to wipe kitchen everytime) via magic pots; washed toilets whilst showering; or drink water with 1 hand and fill up waterjug with another hand. The trick is to use your hands and feet together at the same time. Think scrubbing ur body with hands and using feet to scrub floor in toilet haha….

    Liked by 1 person

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