Since this is a parenting blog, I might as well write something about this topic. And to be specific, the difference of parenting here in Australia as opposed to parenting in Manila.
One major difference is that there are no maids or yayas at all. I have heard of stories where maids and yayas in Manila impose working conditions and sometimes just leave you without much notice. This is especially hard if the child is really attached to the yaya. Having helpers around does have an advantage: this will give you more time for things to pamper yourself like watching a movie or having a pleasant meal without any interruptions. But then you get to miss out on things like having the satisfaction of cooking meals and getting praises for them, getting the kids involved in house chores like sorting out clean socks and treat it as part of a game, and most especially bedtime routines that include reading books and lots of cuddling.
There are a few families here who have the best of both worlds: that are quite fortunate to have close friends and relatives around to help you out with anything around the house as you take care of the children. They even have the chance to go out on "dates" as a couple. Sadly, we are not one of them. When our firstborn came, we were on our own. Hubby took a week off from work, but that was the time I was in the hospital recovering from the birth. By the time we took home the baby, we had a week to get ready a move to another apartment!
The first few weeks were not easy as we were both sleep deprived with no experience at all to back us up during these trying times. Staying at home for the first few months alone with a baby meant I would stay in my pyjamas all day until hubby came home from work. Lots of times I would panic in not knowing how to calm the crying baby, but eventually I got to know my baby well enough to see the cues myself (e.g. when she was hungry, sleepy, bored, etc.). This especially came in handy when our son was born 3 years later.
I must admit, there are good days and bad days. There are days that you feel so proud of the kids' knowledge and achievements as you can see from our previous posts. But there are days you just want to lock yourself in a room and take time-out from the kids. There are lots times I feel guilty .... for not having enough time to bond with kids due to loads of housework, ... for not keeping the house in order, ... for not taking care of my mental health by choosing to stop work and stay with the kids until they go to school. At these times, I just put things in perspective and consider ourselves lucky to have our basic needs met: we have a happy and healthy family. And thats really all that matters, right?
At the end of the day, the experience of looking after the kids on our own has brought us parents closer to each other, making a good team in relying on each other, deciding what we know is best for the kids, and sticking to them when needed. There were a couple of times that we were questioned by other people for some of these decisions, but we find comfort in the knowledge that it comes from our first hand-experience in raising our children.