Here’s an Indian (or Asian or Middle Eastern) immigrant’s Guide to living happily in Australia without a cleaner, cook and gardener.
It’s only when you move to a Western or developed country with a high standard of living, you realise not everybody on this planet has easy access to domestic help.
The minimum wage is high so labour is not cheap. Not everyone can afford a nanny, maid, bai or Raju (my cleaner from Dubai, oh I miss him) or Ramu kaka (reference: old Indian movies).
Here is some tips to manage the sudden increase of domestic workload that might have been alien to you before you set foot in Aussie or a Western country like UK, Europe or USA –
First things first, Accept it
After you overcome the initial shocker, you need to accept the new way of life. The sooner you come to terms with a new hands on (and non-lazy) way of living, the better for you.
Note: You’ll see 50 year olds moving bed frames and entire home furniture. Hear of 60 year old partners building an entire home by themselves.
Unsolicited Gyaan (Knowledge): Partners in Aussie are what is couples after dating, but not married. Marriage is not all the rage like back home, of which the entire world now knows thanks to Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking! And weddings are often intimate with super close family and besties. The bride and groom will know everyone attending their wedding. (Not pressurized with bura maan jayenge so you land up inviting 500 people, 450 of which the bride and groom have never met before and will probably see again only in the giant wedding photo-album.)
Reduce your expectations
Used to a nanny or maid doing jhadoo poocha (sweeping and mopping) everyday? You are your bai, your cleaner and your cook; so keep the expectations low for your own sanity.
If you can shell out 30 bucks an hour, you could consider hire a cleaner once a fortnight or week. And it’s quite common here to vacuum just once or twice a week.
Here are some practical tips for efficiency and automation, Aussie style –
- No bai is going to come and make you hot fluffy phulkas. You might do good to let go of the need for Chappati’s everyday. You could get a Roti maker, but it ain’t cheap.
- At least 2-3 times a week, cooky easy. Do a pasta. A sandwich or a salad. Or a stir fry with ready cut veggies from Coles or Aldi. Tip: Use Kitchen King Masala for desi style stir fry- all you need is Oil, Veggies, Salt and Kitchen King Masala.
- You could try an Aussie Meal Kit a few times a week (veggie options easily available) from-
- Prep: You could cut onions and tomatoes for a week’s supply. Many bulk cook on weekends and freeze in meal size portions.
- A Rice Cooker can be handy
I highly recommend a Robotic vacuum. It’s been totally worth the investment for our family.
I have an Eufy 11s, an amazon best seller, who I’ve named Happy Flappy Singh. Oh, the joy my back feels when Happy Flappy saves me vacuuming the daily mess my child makes.
Ah, the Aussie dream of owning a house with a gorgeous backyard. Often translates to weekends spent on repairs, maintenance, cleaning gutters, mowing the lawn and pulling out weeds!
- A high pressure cleaner is a wonderful device for the outdoors grime and spider webs (yes, you read correctly. Spider webs. even my apartment’s balcony is not spared). Replaces hosing and scrubbing for an easy shiny clean. Bonus: Great for a car wash DIY. A manual outdoor only car wash usually costs about $30.
- YouTube is your best friend for DIY advice (Especially for such non-handy people like me who didn’t know how to change a light bulb. Imagine my shock when the 50 inch smart tv included only delivery to door and ‘no installation’. We are so so so spoilt in the Middle East and Asia. Luckily, the TV didn’t break.)
Call out fees for plumbers, technicians, small moves and the like can be very expensive. You could get affordable help at AirTasker.com (this link includes $25 off Airtasker). Do tread with caution, ensuring good reviews and tasker’s insurance cover. I’ve used AirTasker for moving an outdoor table at last minute’s notice – was easy done.
Do you have any tip or device that makes your life easy? Drop a comment to share the joy.
Note to Women: You don’t have to do everything. Life in beautiful Aussie is good but there is a lot you have to do by yourself. Get the men and kids in your life to lend a helping hand. And if they don’t want to lift a finger, you stop lifting everything day in and day out.
Note to Men, married and unmarried: Be a man, do the right thing! Step up. Help roomies, the women in your life and your family. It’s not India, Pakistan, Dubai, Asia or the Middle East where there is domestic help. Share the load, share the love and share the respect.