Survival Guide for Parents without full-time Helper in Singapore

True account of a working mom / parents who had to manage everything on the home front without any help for some weeks and lessons learnt thereby.

This post should be useful to all those who are planning to employ a full-time helper / or planning to live without helper.

I have always had a full time helper and consider that it is a boon to moms especially working moms. I am too dependent on them and almost feel crippled in their absence. It is a shameful fact 🙁

So what happens when the helper had to be repatriated to her hometown due to an unfortunate emergency? How a family with 2 kids faced this “crisis”?


Here are the pointers –

1. Get out of your comfort zone and get going –

For first 1-2 days after my helper left, I was like a newbie in my own home! Confused and haywire state of mind and lazy body were not ready to move at all. So firstly, shed all the slack and start working! Once we are out of the comfort zone set by the daily routine with the helper, it is easier to adapt to the new scenario.

2. Take stock of the situation in a balanced way – 

Okay, so the helper is not there, then what next? Are we going to get a new one? Are we going to become a SAHM? Are we planning to send kids to child care / student care / nanny?

Discuss with the partner about realignment of finances, who will share what work and so on.

3. Do meticulous Planning –

A good plan ensures great success. So to survive without the full-time helper, we will have to put a very detailed plan in place. Create a to-do list for all the day-to-day tasks and assign the duties and responsibilities. For example:

Task Day Time Assigned to
Making kids ready for school Mon-Fri 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM Mom
Dropping kids to school Mon-Fri 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Dad
Buying groceries Weekly 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM Dad
Kids homework Mon-Fri 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Mom

Once this is set, believe me, things will become quite smooth.

4. There should not be any issue in doing your own work –

Yes, we had helper but now we have to handle the work ourselves. Be it toilet cleaning, washing dishes etc. Once we accept this fact, it all becomes quite fun actually. Frankly speaking, I found my home cleaner after I did the mopping, sweeping myself and actually lost some weight too. That was the perk of all the hard work. Also, hubby remarked that after a long time, he has actually bought groceries and now he knows the cost of one kilogram of tomato.

We also have to make our family members understand this point and seek everyone’s co-operation. Kids should also contribute in their small little ways and help parents. Example, my 4-year old boy helped me to fold some clothes. We should not tax them too much though and appreciate their bit-size help.

5. Don’t get bogged down with all work and no play –

House work is a never-ending saga and we will never feel that we have completed all the work. So take a break, relax and just let the hair down sometimes. Order food from outside, get the services of part-time helpers and indulge in some pampering. It will help to recharge energies.

We eventually got a new helper. But the period we were without the helper, we managed not bad! We learnt the importance of doing work ourselves, we learnt a new meaning of team spirit and faced the challenges together as a family. After kids become a bit older, I think we are ready to go helper-free again. 🙂 🙂


Note: I wrote this article for theAsianparent. Link to original article is here.

22 thoughts on “Survival Guide for Parents without full-time Helper in Singapore”

  1. I think this guide can be used in any country and not just Singapore. Even me here in the US can can do with some help but since I don’t have it, I need to get busy.

  2. Yeah! Thanks for the tips and schedule. Not everyone has the luxury to get a full time domestic helper at home. Sometimes I do enjoy doing the house work, take it as part of my workout.

  3. I find that playing tag team and roping in any help you can get from your ‘village’ a.k.a parents, in laws, friends and neighbours, help a LOT too when the helper goes on home leave or have to be sent away. We’ve been through this cycle few times and it ain’t easy at all, esp when both parents are working full time and kids are young.

  4. I know nothing about parenting let out alone making it work on a busy schedule. I applaud parents in general.

  5. That is definitely freaky! My sis has a helper too. On the helper’s annual vacation of 1 month, someone has to go to there to balance the situation!!

  6. Nice list. It’s been over a decade since we stop hiring a helper at home. But we were able to manage. I know it’s hard especially for busy people. So this read is totally recommendable to those who are struggling.

  7. I remember a friend who has struggled a lot in handling her two kids. Imagine, she has 2 kids and is working full time at the same time?! But I fidn it amazing how moms like you guys can work it out.

  8. Great tips you have there. I’ll be sure to keep these in mind if I ever become a parent, and it’s true that parents should spend time playing with them too.

  9. I think it’s important to plan and be organized when you are without help. You get to do more and would be handling everything full time.

  10. Here in the Philippines, we are taught to be responsible in doing household chores. But sometimes we need to have an assistant to help us with the chores, and house helpers come in. Due to safety & security purposes, we need to have full information of our helpers. It is very difficult to look for a trusted helpers.

  11. Getting through days without a helper if you had been used to having one is really a big challenge for the whole family. Everybody really has to do their part. Even father who had worked all day at the office, will have to help wash and dry the dishes.

  12. It’s not always easy when you’re managing a home and working as well. This is such a struggle for many moms out there and it’s nice to stick to a schedule when it comes to not having help around. I love that you have a timeline for everything!

  13. I’m a SAHM and agreed that kids should help a little here and there, appreciate their efforts. My girls will hang and fold the clothes, set table before meals and their all time favourite vacuum the floor.

  14. Being without a helper for a few months can be quite challenging for my household. I hate doing the dishes and folding clothes. Ironing becomes an issue as well. I guess we will manage somehow.

  15. We have a part timer lady who comes every weekly so I try to do other general cleaning on Sundays. Probably a balance between the 2 option.


  16. Having a schedule really helps me to keep my life balanced as a ftwm! But then again I don’t know how things would be like with more than 1 child. :p

  17. Being a mother of three and no full time helper, I would say that coming up with a to-do list is very helpful too. I take it as a challenge daily to complete my daily chores and I would compete against myself to see how fast and well I can get it done daily.

    It becomes less mundane and it satisfies my competitive nature – running against time!

  18. I have a stay in help myself too. I can’t imagine how it will be like of I do not have her around. Kudos to you!

  19. I am just that. When I read your blog title, I was going, “Me Me Me!” Actually, everything will fall in place naturally when you follow a routine. Truth is, house-cleaning does take up a lot of time. Which means, you get to spend less time having me-time, less time with the kids and less time for outings. I opt for part-time help =) It’s my way of feeling more balanced.

  20. I felt totally lost at first when my helper went on her home-leave for 3 weeks too. But once the initial shock of change in routine settles down, it isn’t really hard to take on the chores ourselves. Well done to you too!

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