Wednesday, July 10, 2013

One Month

It has been a month since we have had househelps here at home. And we have survived. Yes, I am so tired, my hands are not as smooth as they once were, and my patience has been getting shorter and shorter, but we are surviving. Dare I say, we are kinda getting the hang of it actually. We have had to make adjustments, both big and small, and it certainly wasn't easy the first week. We still have a lot of adjusting to do and it still isn't easy, but we are getting things done a bit more efficiently now. Yay, us!

So how does a mom of a Manila househelp-less household with a toddler and a pre-schooler go about a normal week?

Basically, my schedule revolves around Ally's school schedule, which is right smack in the middle of the day, because I drive her to and from school. This means I have to do the house chores early in the morning, before everyone wakes up, and after Ally's school, when hopefully the kids are having their afternoon nap. Plus, I have to squeeze in all outside errands while Ally is in school. Seems typical enough for a SAHM mom, right?

I usually wake up at 8am, except on laundry days when I have to be up by 630. First task is to get Ally's school gear (ID, uniform, socks, undies, bag, assignments) ready. Then I prepare her baon for recess as well as her breakfast, while I eat my own breakfast. Then I take a bath and dress up before I wake Ally up. It takes about an hour to get Ally to eat her breakfast, shower and dressed for school. This is the most stressful hour of my day as it takes a lot of cajoling, bribing, threatening and a whole lot of patience to get Ally moving along. That little girl moves so slow and comes up with all sorts of excuses and reasons, it is so exasperating! Jojo has called my attention one too many times because I nag and easily lose my temper in the morning, but if I didn't, I doubt if Ally would ever get to school on time.

I use the drive to Ally's school to recenter myself for the day. Usually the two girls in the backseat are either quiet or I hear them giggling and amusing themselves. Sometimes I review Ally on her lessons, and sometimes Sofia and I just listen to Ally and her made up songs.

After Sofia and I drop Ally off at school, we basically have three hours to kill before we'd need to be back to fetch her. Oftentimes we'd go to my parents' place, which is closer to the school than our house. But there are also days when we'd need to do outside errands, like go to the bank or to the grocery, or my parents are out for the day. And it is on these days that my energy supply gets critically low. It is exhausting to have to do errands with a squiggly and hyperactive toddler in tow, I tell you. We tried once to just chill and wait at a nearby Starbucks. Major fail! Sofia kept going to the other customers and tried so many times to get their drinks. I think I apologized more than 10 times in under an hour. So embarrassing! We didn't last an hour there.

On the days that we kill time at my parents' place, my mom usually accompanies us to fetch Ally. Then we'd spend another hour at her house before we'd go back home. The drive back to our house is the most peaceful part of my day because more often than not, the two girls are asleep. I barely even mind if there is traffic! Sometimes the girls are so tired that when we get home they don't stir when Jojo and I move them from the car to the bed. I then use the 1-2 hours of quiet to finish house chores, usually folding the laundry or washing the dishes.

We usually go out to eat dinner so there is no cleaning up after, but there are also times that we have food delivered or we buy food from nearby restaurants and eat in. I'm in charge of the post-meal clean up while Jojo minds the girls. Bedtime for the girls starts around 10, but with all their excuses and delaying tactics and what-nots, it is usually midnight when I get both to sleep. I stay up another hour or so before I finally sleep.

Weekends are spent tidying up the house and spending time at the mall, both absolutely necessary for health and sanity.

Although having a routine helps a lot, I still get overwhelmed and have defeated moments, like when I scraped my knuckles cleaning the bathroom or when it rained just as I finished hanging freshly-laundered clothes to dry or when I had to run to the next street at 630am to give the garbage to the collectors. Yes, I still cry to let out my frustrations and tiredness, but I rally to put myself back together and face all problems head on. It helps to have Titanium (not the David Guetta version but the more dramatic Madilyn Bailey cover) playing on loop in my mind, because I'm ma-drama like that. And it also helps to accept that I am not nor I doubt if I'll ever be a domestic goddess.

I've matured a bit since last month and I am not as scared as I once was. Don't get me wrong, I'd jump at the chance of having househelps again, but I am happy that I know I can do without, that I am not as dependent on them as I thought. Growth, wow.

Oh, and all the chores, dealing with the kids hands-on, the very little time to just sit down and rest, and lack of sleep, it might have wrecked havoc on my hands, but it did wonders for the rest of my body. A lot of people have commented that I am noticeably slimmer! Now that's the best silver lining one can hope for!

Happy one month of househelpless-ness to the Battung household! Good job!

PS I apologize if this post seemed all over the place, I wrote it in bits and pieces over the span of a week. You obviously know why.

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