Confort de Vie

Posted by Analyse at 6:07 PM

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Having a second child had been a hot topic at home. Frenchguy had been wanting another one since Louna blew her first candle. I was on the other hand taken into a whirlwind of work and was enjoying it. I was given more responsibilities, given a challenging project.. and I'm the kind who respect engagement at work.

Close family and friends started to ask for a little brother or a little sister when Louna blew the second candle. I always answered with a shy smile, justifying my indifference with reasons like : Louna's still too young or life in France is difficult. Frenchguy thought I wasn't interested. Then the topic died a natural death. Frenchguy not daring to ask avoiding disppointment, afraid of my negative answer.

Then my project had taken a lot of delay. And Louna's now approaching her 3rd birthday. I thought, there's more to life than burning my ass off at work...

Frenchguy was teary-eyed upon learning about the good news. It came as a surprise. Finally, he talked about his sentiments about my reactions when we talk about having a second child. He thought I would never be ready.

Announcing my pregnancy at work was another exercise - I hate to leave my job half-done - but it's time to set priorities. My boss wished me a healthy baby boy with a little survey on the side - What if it's a girl?

The question caught me unprepared. What if it's a girl? Without too much reflection, I told him that we only plan for two kids. Then adding that Life in France is difficult.

The last sentence surprised him. How on earth could life in France be more difficult if the only reference I have is life in the Philippines? He removed his glasses and looked at me inquisitively.

So I explained.

In the Philippines, it's just normal to have stay-in all-around maids and yayas even in lower middle class families. Families are always around to give us a hand especially in taking care of our kids. School buses are available to take our kids to school.

In France, it's another kind of lifestyle, thus another type of comfort. Both engineers in a multinational company, a leader in its domain at that, we cannot really claim that we receive a miserable salary. But all we could pay is a househelp who works 3 hours a week, cleaning and ironing included, and a nanny who takes care of 2 other kids aside from Louna, 8:15am - 5:45pm Monday to Friday.

With that, a load of houseworks still awaits us before and after work:

- Prepare breakfast / dinner.
- Clear the table (Even this tiny bit of housechore counts when you know Louna has to be at the nanny's place at 8:20am and on bed at 9:00pm. And yes, sometimes, it's left unclean in the morning.).
- Bring / fetch Louna at her nanny's place (Check the time. Avoid paying overtime.)
- Teach Louna ABCs and car colors while on the road. Time is gold.
- Bath time for Louna. Oh and yes, we still do baby massage till now. Tho it takes time, it sure gives us more bonding time.
- Prepare clothes for the next day (I loss a lot of time thinking about what clothes to wear in the morning so I prepare it the night before).
- Play/DVD time in between other housechores. Story time before going to bed.
- Breakfast / Dinner. Good thing Louna's independent in this aspect.
- Wash clothes if needed.
- Do some groceries once a week.
- Please don't ask about the bed. It's quite a mess.
- Add more minutes when I need to scrape off snow from the car in the morning.

All that are simple chores but certainly entails time. We normally arrive at home around 6:00 - 6:30pm so I need to shrink all those listed above up to 9:00pm.

A typical pinoy employee working in the Philippines would watch TV with his kids upon arriving at home (or other activities, of course) - oh well, that's what I would do. This typical pinoy employee working in France would prepare dinner and/or bath her daughter and dress her in pajama during that same time. (Imagine having two kids and a husband on work travel!)

No, I'm not complaining. Grrrr. Errr, am I not?


Francesca said...

When you pass all hurdles ,louna and her sibling(s)with S yan, hehe, will because adults, you wont believe it, how did you managed???!!!

its because you are a supermom.

You are best in everything.
Dont you know?

A lot less incapabale mothers(due to money and health) DID it, why cant you and Laurent?

some kambal or triplets pa, haha

And, raising Kids is not ALL mothers SHOULD got to do.

Ang mga Tatay, katuwang po sila...
Half half...

Mitch said...

I agree - definitely.

Life in France/abroad is far different from Pnas.

Back home we have our parents or relatives to take care of our kids kung aalis man tayo. There, we need to make proper sched first bago makapagdecide.

Anyway, I wish you an easy pregnancy.... Take care!

Analyse said...

Francesca, that's what I'm really thankful for too.. Laurent's really helping a lot, in fact, sya halos lahat sa bahay, kapal ko pang mag reklamo hehe.. but you know, hirap ding magbuntis ha..

Mitch, sabi mo pa. Even going to a cinema is almost impossible now :(. But well, we're survivors, right?

Maya said...

You'll be fine. no doubt of it.Enjoy your pregnancy first.Start the bonding with Ate Louna by letting her touch you belly.It works, to avoid jelousy between siblings.

ruth said...

i used to think the same way, that life and parenting is more difficult there (germany in my case), having no househelp. but having moved here to singapore, where i could get help if i wanted to made me realize that no, if you look at the bigger picture, life for kids and parents in europe ain't all that bad.

re-read your last paragraph. which scenario do you think is better in building family ties anyway?

julie said...

I wish you well, Ana. I wish you a little boy too :)


Christianne said...

I often think about how much easier life would be with nannies but there's a reason we are choosing to raise our kids here right? I posted this on a thread in PinoyExchange (

"My husband and I can provide well for my daughter in Manila and ensure her safety by keeping tabs on her whereabouts at all times, but we do not want her to be one of those kids who are driven to and from school and are too sheltered their whole lives. We want her to be able to take public transportation without us worrying about her safety, and to live in a society where opportunities are open for everyone and basic services like health care and education is available not just for the moneyed class but for everyone who needs it...

What are the things we have given up? The luxury of having a yaya and maid to do the chores. Having dates and going on an overnight trip sans the baby. In the grand scheme of things those sacrifices are insignificant...

About chores, I would much rather skip the traffic and spend my time feeding and bathing my baby, and later on when she's old enough, wash dishes and clean the house with her helping. "Outsourcing" the chores is convenient but I wouldn't want to outsource the time spent with my child. I don't think I would be able to spend all this time with her if I had to work long hours and battle traffic to get home."

Anonymous said...

It is hard raising a child, no matter where you are. But I hear you about the difference of raising kids in the Phil and in other countries. It's such a major task and it's usually the Moms who are doing most of the work. Unfair nga minsan eh.
But then I also think that such scenario makes our families closer. We have no one to rely on but ourselves. And we lean to each other for support. No strangers necessary.

Lucille said...

Coucou Analyse! Wow you have a baby on the way rin pala?? Congrats! Big sister Louna will really enjoy having a lil' sister or brother soon.
Hope baby boy na yan. :-)

haze said...

Let's just look the positive side of of living alone in a foreign country without all those comfort we have had when we were back home! As for me though I have drastic life transition I guess I am capable to face them, be more responsible which taught me to be more assertive. Our children will also grow to be independent and no spoon feeding that could be an advantage for life. My children have each own little task to contribute at home and I am glad they are trained. I chose to start my family therefore I am ready to face whatever obligation or duty a mother could have either in the Philipines or in a foreign land.

On the other hand, yayas or maids could be replaced by automatic machines or equipments that we use at home and make our life easier right ? We have washing machine with rinsing program, sampay na lang, Dishwashing machine, vacuum cleaner, etc etc. and to sum it up, time management and organization should be on top of it!

I could say I have learned many things living abroad without the help of anyone and I am proud and thankful. I'm sure my parents are ! Life abroad has taught me achieve greater maturity! Let us just accept that life abroad is a DO.IT.MYSELF.ATTITUDE ! which is not bad at all!

Analyse said...

Maya, oh, she's already caressing the baby, but i dont know if she really understands what's inside..

Ruth, on second thought, you're right. my daughter seems to be a lot more independent compared to her cousins in the phils who are older than her. sometimes i have this urge to baby her more that's why i want more time, probably.. but then, i love her independence, that gives me more time for me too..

Julie, thanks. I'm fine, pregnancy blues lang siguro..

Christianne, oppps, i'm not complaining about the time i spend with my daughter. im actually complaining about the chores because it's taking a lot of time, and that time could have been spent reading books with her or other family activities..

GreyMom, oh, the Frenchguy's helping a lot and I can't really complain about that. He could bath Louna and prepare dinner afterwards while i enjoy preggy life.. oh, i think im just complianing too much.

Lucille, RIN? are you preggy too?

Haze, i completely agree with you and i have no problem with time management. but time aint just enough. im just thinking, after reading all the comments, that i probably complained a lot about the housechores when the bottomline, what i really wanted to convey is that, i want and need more time with my daughter.. that's probably my symptoms of pregnancy and knowing that my time for louna will be shared with the little bunny who starts to move inside my round tummy. now, im getting emotionnal and im actually teary-eyed now.. hay, hirap maging nanay.

kala said...

Ana, a bit late, but CONGRATULATIONS to you guys!!!! You are a supermom, I'm sure you'll be able to juggle all that AND have time to have a beer with us :)

haze said...

Oh I forgot YOU ARE A SUPERMOM don't you forget that! In your case time is really gold because you need to really balance between personal and professional life and find quality time for your kid(s). But am sure you will get over them ngayon pa na dalawa na sila, kids are your strength :D ! BIG HUG !

Christianne said...

Exactly, what I meant is that time spent on the chores could be time spent with Louna as well if you get her to help, or play nearby. It's easy to idealize life in the Philippines when you're missing your family's support and the presence of househelp to make your life easier, but if you take a poll among middle class parents in Manila I'm sure you'll find out that kids spend more time with the TV or the yaya than with their parents, because the parents are busy working or spending hours in traffic.

And yup, we're thinking about having another baby too so I worry about not spending as much time with Annika too... but I do think 2-4 years is the ideal gap between siblings so cheer up, it will all be worth it in the long run...

zingtrial said...

Hi! family support is the thing other wise it does get hard.Mother Nature is wonderful. Children get too old for piggy-back rides just about the same time they get too heavy for them. :) my friend Wishing you well

geri said...

Ana, this post resonates with me (not that I'm expecting). Congratulations once again. When we went to the Philippines on a vacation for a month I was surprised that I really didn't feel that the yaya made that much of a difference. Maybe a yaya in the US setting will (which is impossible) but back in PI there are conveniences in the US that is not there. So all in all pareho pa rin. Realistically, I think it will be hard in the first few months but eventually it will balance out. I remember my brother would tell me how his 3 year old help entertain the baby by making funny noises etc. The thing to keep in mind I guess if other parents could do it with 3 or more kids, you and Laurent (and Louna) too! Take care buntis!

+ Liz + said...

SuperMom ka and you should be proud of it. I admit minsan, I cant imagine without househelp esp now I work full time plus overtime. Iniisip ko minsan kung papano kung ganyan buhay namin db. Ingat!

ScroochChronicles said...

That's exactly the same reason my sister in the States has been voicing out. She is still wanting to have a child (failed 2x) and envies the way things were and are still done here in Pinas. It's not only the fact that you can have help available for hire. Also the fact that family is somewhere close by is really a big, big relief for most parents. Personally, I can't imagine how it would be like if I didn't have my Mom and my Mom-in-Law around. I have to admit that I've hollered many times and they've answered without hesitation.

No worries though. I'm sure you're doing kid, 2 kids, or more :)

JO said...

dont worry, you have plenty of time to get ready before the arrival of your second baby.

raqgold said...

kaya mo yan :D eto ako, with two kids and nobody to help me out with; only my very dependable husband -- my in laws cant help me na kasi matanda na sila; my hubby's sis and her family are busy with their lives -- you would learn to be more resourceful, which i know you already are. actually, what i needed was only someone to talk to which i found sa PMN!