Cleaning House

Living the “no yaya lifestyle” is really no joke. My hats off to all the women in the world who do everything from cleaning to cooking to laundry to taking care of the kids to organizing their homes. For the next week, we will have no help. We let them have a well-deserved vacation. Of course this means that Edric and I have to share domestic duties and get the kids to do chores.

We have assigned Elijah to kitchen duty, Edan to keeping the rooms straight, Edric will take out the trash, clean the bathrooms, coordinate with the laundromat for our laundry, oversee the boys’ responsibilities, and I will do everything else. Titus and Tiana will help out in whatever way they can.

Today was day 1. I was tired by 9 pm but I still had to put the groceries away and tidy up the house (I didn’t finish). This is going to be a very interesting bonding time for our family. Thankfully, the kids are excited about their assigned duties and eager to step up to the challenge of doing everything for ourselves.

I know it sounds so spoiled to make a big deal about having no house help for just for one week. But, we are kind of spoiled in the Philippines. Having house help is such a blessing. It is one of the reasons why we don’t mind having more children and why we refuse to live in the U.S. Even if we are all U.S. citizens, the Philippines is a wonderful place to be, especially when you have lots of kids. I think I would go crazy if every hour of my day was spent on domestic chores!

Nevertheless, this week is something our family is looking forward to. Edric calls it “forced bonding.” I really appreciate how Edric has embraced this circumstance as a positive experience. We didn’t have to let all our help take a vacation at the same time but he was amenable to the idea when I proposed it. And I am thankful that he is going to make sure that everyone in the family fulfills their roles. I am not 100% functional because I am pregnant. On some days, all I want to do is sleep. So knowing that Edric is taking this adjustment seriously and very intentionally is comforting. He has even said that he will “serve himself.” That is a big deal! His language of love is service.

Edric and I were both willing to sacrifice our comfort because we want our house help to know that we genuinely care about them. They expressed to us that they would like to be with their families on New Year’s. And I know they were embarrassed to ask because I am pregnant and they know what a handful the kids can be. But we allowed ourselves to be inconvenienced so they could relax and enjoy their families. They work so faithfully. This is our way of communicating our appreciation for all they do.

Personally, the blessing in all of this is learning to be a more faithful home manager. Having house help can make me complacent because I can delegate everything. But now that I have to be so hands on, I am going through all the cabinets, looking through all our storage, paying attention to what needs to be repaired or replaced, and fixing what I can. I like what Elijah said when we were cleaning out the kitchen cabinets together. “Mom, we really have to do a lot of organization in this kitchen. I think one of the reasons why God has not let us finish our house building yet is because we need to be better stewards of what he has given us.” Amen, son. That is a true observation which I intend to take to heart. The Bible does say, we must be faithful in the little things before we are put in charge of bigger things.

5 thoughts on “Cleaning House

  1. Joy, it makes me even more proud of our country, the Philippines, every time I would read an article about people expressing their appreciation of our home country…

    I am saddened when I would talk to Filipinos and tell them that I would still prefer to live in the Philippines and indeed “mas Masaya pa rin sa Pilipinas” and they would tell me, “It is understandable because it is ‘your’ home country”… How sad that they don’t consider the Philippines anymore as their own country…

    Yes, household helpers really make our lives more comfortable with their service, sacrifice and unselfishness…

    Good on you for being kind and nice to your house helpers (“,)

    In your previous article, I think it was naughty of Edric to snicker… He he… (“,)

    I believe you are a great mother, like your mother Deonna, based on the life testimony of the whole Tan-Chi family and the stories in your blog.

    1. Yes, It’s more fun in the Philippines! Seriously though, I do believe that Philippines is a land of great opportunity, especially for serving God. But I also want to be around as the Philippines turns around and is blessed by God. 🙂

  2. We are in the same predicament this holiday season. And it hasn’t been easy even with just two kids! How do you manage when Edrick needs to go to work?

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