Monica went to Costco and picked up a 10 lb bag of onions, a huge bag of potatoes, a box of 35 water bottles, giant size tub of Tide, tissues, a doormat, a bag of watermelons, few gallons of milk, and some other grocery. As she loaded the grocery in her car, she twisted her arm. She drove back home in pain and regretted her greed to stock up heavy stuff. When she got home her husband helped her. Then he became the Tarzan of the house and emptied that car trunk!
Many dream of a life in the dream country-America. Few know that it’s not all that easy when it comes to household chores and the general work around the house.
The goal of this article is not to scare you if you are thinking about moving to a western country, including the United States. As always we strive to make you aware of what to expect so that you may make an informed decision.
For those who move from countries that have plenty of domestic help, like India and China, it comes as a rude awakening. They are used to a lot of help at work and at home. I like to call them little luxuries of life.
- Someone cooks for them and serves hot food around mealtime.
- Someone does dishes for them.
- Someone cleans the house for them.
- Someone does laundry for them, the whole nine yards from picking dirty laundry to placing crisp, ironed clothes for you.
- Someone comes for weekly upkeep of their backyards or front lawns.
- Someone delivers grocery to them at home.
- Someone helps them to change the baby’s diapers and give the baby a massage.
- Someone even helps with the school pick up and drop off for older kids.
- Someone fills gas in their cars.
- Someone comes to clean their car every day. Yes every day!
I have had my fair share of the little luxuries and I am truly humbled by all the help. But that’s not how it works in the U.S.
Get ready to brace yourself for doing most of the household chores on your own.
- You have to cook, clean, mop, repeat.
- You have to throw out garbage.
- You have to take your car to the car wash or better yet clean it yourself!
- You have to do grocery.
- You have to change sheets and do laundry.
- You have to go to the bank, pick up kids, and get packed food (once in a while you don’t want to cook, right?).
- You have to do your own taxes.
- You have to pick your own trees and mow your backyard.
- You have to remove snow and ice from your car after a snow storm.
- You have to fill gas at the gas stations and fill water and air in the car as well.
Basically you have to do everything on your own.
Now this does not mean that life is crazy and you are a ‘bonded labor’ to your own dream- the dream of living in the United States. It just means that you will need some time to settle in and adjust to the new ways of life.
There are machines to help you. For example, a powerful vacuum cleaner is a great investment. A robotic mop, like Mint or iRobot works great on non-carpeted floors. Get a food processor and you can knead your own dough for rotis, pizza, tortillas, and what not. Think of a problem and you will be amazed at the number of mechanical solutions.
2. Hired Help
There are people to help you as well. You can hire cleaners to clean your home once every few weeks. Or hire a nanny to take care of your kids. Or hire a cook to help you in the kitchen. That does mean a lot of cash but there are options!
3. Systems are pretty automatic.
You can get pizza delivered within 30 minutes anytime, anywhere. You can place an online order on Chipotle and pick up your food within 15 minutes. Yes you get to skip the lines. Online shopping is a blessing. You can use ‘Walmart To Go’ for grocery delivery at home within 24-48 hours. I always add some household items like toothpaste and cleaners to my list as well and Walmart does not mind. Amazon is amazing. Some stores are also offering curb side pickup so you can skip parking and entering the store altogether.
In most of the nicer cities in the United States, weather is great. Homes don’t get dirty all that much too. You don’t really have to do vacuum every day. If you are a small family, running a dishwasher every other day is fine. Laundry two times a week is fine. Grocery shopping is pretty systematic and streamlined. Every large store is well marked and you have a ton of options to choose from. You know exactly where to find milk, salmon, spinach, kale, and that shredded organic cheese.
So it’s not that bad. You do miss the little luxuries but are quickly assimilated into the culture of doing things on your own!
Back to Monica…
Now Monica uses Google Shopping Express to get the heavy things delivered at home from Costco. She uses Amazon and Walmart for other things at home. Of course she loves to pick her own vegetables and so she makes the weekly visit to her favorite grocery store. She also has some part time help at home. She has divided other household chores like garbage, yard work, and dishes with her husband and children. Cleaners come once a month to give her home a facelift. She has cut down on eating out to balance the overall budget. That means eating cleaner, healthier, home cooked meals and saving. She rarely twists her arm and if it all that happens she moves on. She is no longer a princess but she is happy in her own cocoon!
Think for yourself. Which life would you prefer? What would make you happy? How would you balance work life and household chores? Through this article, I hope to help you make an informed and happy life decision.