Author Topic: House servants? Are you kidding me?  (Read 17442 times)

jinga nation

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2015, 10:56:47 AM »
When I kept a time diary, food preparation was 15-20 hours a week, between cooking, clean up, and shopping. I've been cooking for twenty years and I'm pretty efficient too. It's a part time job

Maybe.  I can tell you that we start, eat, and clean up from dinner in an hour a day, MAYBE 90 minutes max.  Going to the grocery takes me an hour on Sunday.  Lunches are sandwiches, usually made in about 10 minutes before going to bed for the next day.  Breakfast is whatever granola bar or fruit or yogurt you grab.  We'd struggle to hit 15 hours a week.

I think this is dependent on how one see's it as a chore or as family time. My wife and I cook together, have the 3 yo participate by fetching the onions, garlic, etc from the baskets, she stands on a small stool and tries to "help". She's curious, and we want her cooking full meals by the age of 12-14, just like my wife was taught by her mother. We got a bread maker, so we let her help with measuring water, flour, etc. The 1.5 yo is content to sit on the kitchen floor in the corner, just give her some pots and pans and utensils. The alternative is to have them sit on the sofa and watch cartoons, youtube, etc on the TV or tablet, and that ain't happenin'!

Giro

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2015, 11:27:42 AM »
It doesn't matter if being a Mom involves being paid or not. It is the hardest job there is if you do if well.

If being a "Mom" is the hardest job doesn't shouldn't that include being a "Dad" as well.  Or are Dads just not as good as being a parent as a Mom is?


Quote
Families benefit greatly when 1 parent stays at home when the kids are little. So yes I would say that they have a "job."

I disagree with this one too.  I think it is more  important for a parent to be home during the teenage years than the early years.  There are many options of childcare for infant through beginning school, which are heavily regulated to provide good care for children.  However with childcare the kids will still grow up fine.  It is the teen years that are tough and where I think a parent should be home to help provide guidance.  There are options for parents when the kids are young to keep them safe but those options are nonexistent during the years when the kids are nothing but a walking bag of curious, rebellious, surging hormones.  I find a lot of parents of teens have no idea what their kids are doing and who they are hanging around with.  From experience
There are enough hours in the day to have it all, it's just a matter of what you choose to do with those hours.

And no, there really aren't enough hours in the day to have it all.

Just for me then, i have enough hours and I'm happy and want for nothing.  But I'm easy to please, I guess.

Giro

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2015, 01:14:48 PM »
I think when you are FI it's a lot different.  I really believe I have it all. 
It doesn't matter if being a Mom involves being paid or not. It is the hardest job there is if you do if well.

If being a "Mom" is the hardest job doesn't shouldn't that include being a "Dad" as well.  Or are Dads just not as good as being a parent as a Mom is?


Quote
Families benefit greatly when 1 parent stays at home when the kids are little. So yes I would say that they have a "job."

I disagree with this one too.  I think it is more  important for a parent to be home during the teenage years than the early years.  There are many options of childcare for infant through beginning school, which are heavily regulated to provide good care for children.  However with childcare the kids will still grow up fine.  It is the teen years that are tough and where I think a parent should be home to help provide guidance.  There are options for parents when the kids are young to keep them safe but those options are nonexistent during the years when the kids are nothing but a walking bag of curious, rebellious, surging hormones.  I find a lot of parents of teens have no idea what their kids are doing and who they are hanging around with.  From experience
There are enough hours in the day to have it all, it's just a matter of what you choose to do with those hours.

And no, there really aren't enough hours in the day to have it all.

Just for me then, i have enough hours and I'm happy and want for nothing.  But I'm easy to please, I guess.

So, you're happy and don't want everything. It's still objectively impossible to have it all, in many cases. You can't be at your desk at 7 every morning and drop off your child at elementary school. You can't have a job that requires extensive international travel and expect to be home to get your kids off the bus every day. You can't spend like MC Hammer and FIRE. Tradeoffs. We all make them, though some find them less painful than others.

I feel that I do have it all.  I drop my kid off at the bus and go to work.  I work 6-7 hours a day and that includes a 2 hour break to go to the gym.  I get to choose which contracts I work on because I don't need the money.  I have 6 weeks of vacation so I take time off when I want to do something during work hours.  I love my home, I love my car, I love my family, I love my pay, Hell, I even kinda love my job right now.  What else is there?

It's the beauty of being FI.  I made tradeoffs for years so that I don't have to make them now. 

OlyFish

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2015, 11:15:19 PM »
If I never had to go to Costco or mop my kitchen floor or do the ironing again, as far as I'm concerned, that would be awesome.

I do about 90 percent of what little shopping I do at Costco. It's the most efficient place to shop. I'm also a happy Costco shareholder and I'd continue to shop there and gas my cars there regardless of my level of wealth. Jimmy Kimmel said pretty much the same in a recent issue of Costco magazine and presumably he can afford a personal shopper.

I really like Costco, I just really, really hate navigating a giant cart or stroller through crowds of other Costco shoppers. I want a lackey to go grocery shopping FOR me. I hate shopping.

I get worse road rage inside a Costco than I ever do on the actual road. Ten people lined up with giant carts blocking everything to get a sample of lemonade. HAVE YOU NEVER TASTED LEMONADE BEFORE?????

cerebus

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #54 on: August 25, 2015, 01:42:44 AM »
What the hell??? Being a stay at home mother IS a full time job, especially if you take it on yourself to do the housework. In our case my wife looks after the 3 including school runs and the housework. She works bloody hard. I think probably harder than I do - at least, she's more shattered than I am at the end of the day.

Anyway in this country if you're middle class it's strange NOT to have house servants. We're the oddities and people are always pulling my wife aside and telling her that she's MAD, just absolutely MAD, to do it all herself. People have told her that she has a duty to employ the poor domestic workers and she should be ashamed for not doing it.

Thing is, I don't really object to her having help, but we have never found a woman who can clean to the standard that we want - they break stuff, they steal stuff, they shove things into any place they can find (it's not uncommon to find your remotes inside decorative vases for instance), and they bring their problems, which are truly horrendous living situations of domestic abuse and AIDS and absolute destitution of the kind you couldn't even imagine, into their work. We're at a point now where maybe once in 2 or three months we'll have someone come in for a day when my wife is really drowning. Otherwise we'd rather just do it ourselves. I cook and chip in wherever I can with the kids as well.

Chris22

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #55 on: August 25, 2015, 09:49:45 AM »
What the hell??? Being a stay at home mother IS a full time job, especially if you take it on yourself to do the housework.

There's no question it's a job, and a lot of work, and hard, and stressful.  It's the whole "it's the hardest job in the world" that I object to. 

FatCat

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #56 on: August 25, 2015, 10:04:14 AM »
Thing is, I don't really object to her having help, but we have never found a woman who can clean to the standard that we want - they break stuff, they steal stuff, they shove things into any place they can find (it's not uncommon to find your remotes inside decorative vases for instance)

This is why I don't see the appeal of hiring out household chores. One lady took all the remotes and put them in the silverware drawer. At least she put them were we would find them again quickly.  They clean things I didn't want them to touch and don't clean the areas that were the whole reason I hired them in the first place. I've left lists of things to clean with someone and when I came back later that day they had written a list of things they did instead. So they didn't even do what I wanted at all. Things go missing or get broken. And when questioned, they give childish responses. Apparently an antique lamp that has been residing peacefully in the same position for the past 50 years mysteriously threw itself onto the floor and shattered while the cleaning lady was nowhere near it. It was anchored into its position. You would have to unhook it to move it. She claimed it was a ghost that didn't want her in the house so it was trying to frame her by breaking the lamp because she didn't touch it.

I'm sure there are people in this line of work that do a good job, but I haven't had good experiences.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #57 on: August 25, 2015, 10:05:09 AM »
However, I wonder if poor, low-skilled people weren't better off "back in the day" when being "in service" was an acceptable life choice.  Obviously, it wasn't a career that was ever going to allow them to better themselves -- ever -- but they did have their room and board covered, so they didn't have to manage their money in the same way that people do today.

No. They were not. Being poor today is way, way better than being poor in the 1880s.

mm1970

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #58 on: August 25, 2015, 10:53:55 AM »
Quote
I think staying home full time with a younger baby is much easier than working. But staying home with an 15 month old day in and day out? Lord help me! I am jealous of my husband, since he gets a "break" from the insanity by going to work. But children don't linearly get easier or harder. They go through stages.

But ultimately I think it is impossible to generalize about these things. You've got a complex interplay of a child's personality, a parent's personality, the type of job, the number of children, the personality of the spouse, the amount of external support you have, etc. etc. etc. The answer as to which is "harder" will always depend on these variables and be different for each and every person.

Totally. I always thought that overall, having a stay at home parent was more relaxing and less stressful - FOR THE FAMILY - because of the ability to "do stuff" during the day.  Like, if a kid is sick, the parent is already home.  Meeting the plumber?  Parent at home.  Doing the laundry, picking stuff up, paying bills, cooking dinner, running the dishwasher, taking out the trash?  Parent at home.

Taking the kid to the doctor, dentist?  Parent at home.  Going to the school award ceremony at 9 am?  Parent at home.  After school baseball?  Parent at home.

However, BEING AT HOME is a lot harder, to me, than being at work.

At work, I can eat, pee, and read my email on my own damn schedule.

At home, with babies/ toddlers/ preschoolers, you are sunk.  You start making your coffee and have to help someone pee/poop/wipe their butt.  You finish making the coffee and put in your toast.  But then you have to make the kids' breakfast.  And then you eventually eat your own breakfast and then do the dishes.

But then in the middle of trying to wash lettuce for your lunch salad, the kids are hungry, so you detour.  Then they eat and they want to PLAY, but you haven't eaten yet.

The difficulty here varies on the kid's personality, age, activity level, etc.  But I found being home with babies during maternity leave to be HARD and then toddlers are so much damn work.  (My younger son is 3).

The hard thing about working is getting home after 10 hours of being away, and needing to make dinner - but having a toddler who wants to snack/ play/ bug you, so that even 15 minutes to cut vegetables takes 30 or 40, and by the time dinner is ready he's not hungry anymore, because he already had strawberries/ cucumbers/ leftover chicken.

And of course the weekends, which are chores chores chores.

Chris22

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #59 on: August 25, 2015, 12:32:57 PM »
Quote
I think staying home full time with a younger baby is much easier than working. But staying home with an 15 month old day in and day out? Lord help me! I am jealous of my husband, since he gets a "break" from the insanity by going to work. But children don't linearly get easier or harder. They go through stages.

But ultimately I think it is impossible to generalize about these things. You've got a complex interplay of a child's personality, a parent's personality, the type of job, the number of children, the personality of the spouse, the amount of external support you have, etc. etc. etc. The answer as to which is "harder" will always depend on these variables and be different for each and every person.

Totally. I always thought that overall, having a stay at home parent was more relaxing and less stressful - FOR THE FAMILY - because of the ability to "do stuff" during the day.  Like, if a kid is sick, the parent is already home.  Meeting the plumber?  Parent at home.  Doing the laundry, picking stuff up, paying bills, cooking dinner, running the dishwasher, taking out the trash?  Parent at home.

Taking the kid to the doctor, dentist?  Parent at home.  Going to the school award ceremony at 9 am?  Parent at home.  After school baseball?  Parent at home.

However, BEING AT HOME is a lot harder, to me, than being at work.

At work, I can eat, pee, and read my email on my own damn schedule.

At home, with babies/ toddlers/ preschoolers, you are sunk.  You start making your coffee and have to help someone pee/poop/wipe their butt.  You finish making the coffee and put in your toast.  But then you have to make the kids' breakfast.  And then you eventually eat your own breakfast and then do the dishes.

But then in the middle of trying to wash lettuce for your lunch salad, the kids are hungry, so you detour.  Then they eat and they want to PLAY, but you haven't eaten yet.

The difficulty here varies on the kid's personality, age, activity level, etc.  But I found being home with babies during maternity leave to be HARD and then toddlers are so much damn work.  (My younger son is 3).

The hard thing about working is getting home after 10 hours of being away, and needing to make dinner - but having a toddler who wants to snack/ play/ bug you, so that even 15 minutes to cut vegetables takes 30 or 40, and by the time dinner is ready he's not hungry anymore, because he already had strawberries/ cucumbers/ leftover chicken.

And of course the weekends, which are chores chores chores.

Meh.  I had a good case study on this this weekend.  Saturday I was home with my toddler all day, Mommy was out, and we had nothing particular to do aside from a couple small household chores.  Life was easy.  I put a show on for her and mowed the lawn, then puttered in the garage, then she came out and we played, then we went to the pool, grilled some meat for dinner, bath, bed.

No big deal.

Monday (yesterday) I had to work from home (gap in childcare, preschool started today) and watch her, and juggling the work emails/meetings/calls/responsibilities with feeding and keeping a toddler entertained is a nightmare.  To the point where when my wife got home, I got in the car and drove to work for a couple hours. 

If you just have household chores you have to get done "at some point" you can juggle things around the kid's schedule and get them done when convenient.  It's when you have real world deadlines (not, "I want to get the laundry done today") that life gets hard.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 12:44:19 PM by Chris22 »

RunHappy

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #60 on: August 25, 2015, 12:41:30 PM »
Quote
I think staying home full time with a younger baby is much easier than working. But staying home with an 15 month old day in and day out? Lord help me! I am jealous of my husband, since he gets a "break" from the insanity by going to work. But children don't linearly get easier or harder. They go through stages.

But ultimately I think it is impossible to generalize about these things. You've got a complex interplay of a child's personality, a parent's personality, the type of job, the number of children, the personality of the spouse, the amount of external support you have, etc. etc. etc. The answer as to which is "harder" will always depend on these variables and be different for each and every person.

Totally. I always thought that overall, having a stay at home parent was more relaxing and less stressful - FOR THE FAMILY - because of the ability to "do stuff" during the day.  Like, if a kid is sick, the parent is already home.  Meeting the plumber?  Parent at home.  Doing the laundry, picking stuff up, paying bills, cooking dinner, running the dishwasher, taking out the trash?  Parent at home.

Taking the kid to the doctor, dentist?  Parent at home.  Going to the school award ceremony at 9 am?  Parent at home.  After school baseball?  Parent at home.

However, BEING AT HOME is a lot harder, to me, than being at work.

At work, I can eat, pee, and read my email on my own damn schedule.

At home, with babies/ toddlers/ preschoolers, you are sunk.  You start making your coffee and have to help someone pee/poop/wipe their butt.  You finish making the coffee and put in your toast.  But then you have to make the kids' breakfast.  And then you eventually eat your own breakfast and then do the dishes.

But then in the middle of trying to wash lettuce for your lunch salad, the kids are hungry, so you detour.  Then they eat and they want to PLAY, but you haven't eaten yet.

The difficulty here varies on the kid's personality, age, activity level, etc.  But I found being home with babies during maternity leave to be HARD and then toddlers are so much damn work.  (My younger son is 3).

The hard thing about working is getting home after 10 hours of being away, and needing to make dinner - but having a toddler who wants to snack/ play/ bug you, so that even 15 minutes to cut vegetables takes 30 or 40, and by the time dinner is ready he's not hungry anymore, because he already had strawberries/ cucumbers/ leftover chicken.

And of course the weekends, which are chores chores chores.

No one ever said being at home wasn't tough for all the reasons you mentioned.  I just personally object to calling it a "job" or "work".  A job you can quit.  Work is usually something you do to accomplish a task. To me none of those are applicable to being a SAHP.  Yes  I have been a single working mom, so I do understand what goes into raising children, especially without help.  I guess to me calling it a job or work, cheapens what really goes into it.

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Re: House servants? Are you kidding me?
« Reply #61 on: August 29, 2015, 07:52:37 PM »
Thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent electronic revolution, much of the work associated with maintaining a modern standard of living is being done by machine. To have exclusive access to the same amount of living space and equivalent quality of food, clothing, and cleanliness would have required at least three adults' worth of labor excluding child care.

- Bicycles have replaced horses, which is fantastic since bikes don't require onoing food and shelter the way horses do, and have a much lower level of care. A family of 4, with four bicycles and perhaps one car in the modern age, would require four horses and a cart to transport themselves the same distance. So they would have needed space and a groom to care for the animals.
- Vacuum cleaners and washing machines have replaced manual rug-beating and clothes-washing. To enjoy clean socks and underwear every day, clean outerwear three to four times per week, and carpets that are cleaned once a week, a family of four would have had to employ a full-time laundry and house servant.
- Refrigerators and hot running water have eliminated the need for a full-time scullery maid to keep hot water boiling and fetch the daily groceries (or pay for them to be delivered). People who like to shower and bathe every day probably appreciate this.

Fact is, a modern Mustachian standard of living would indeed have qualified as "middle class" during the Downton Abbey era. But since labor is now expensive and gadgets are cheap (a situation that is the opposite to what prevailed throughout nearly all of human history, and which came about only this last 100 years are so), we generally make do by hiring as few other people as possible.

Most of the things Mustachians avoid are expensive chiefly because of the amount of human labor involved in making them.