I am very thankful that living in Saudi has allowed us to have additional resources to help around the house. When we were in Texas we didn't have any additional help for household stuff but we managed and we had family nearby which was a huge blessing with childcare. When we arrived here we immediately hired someone to help with the outdoor yard care of sweeping, raking leaves, cutting grass and all the numerous tasks outside which has been a huge help and taken the burden off John so he can spend more time with us. We also have someone who comes and cleans once a week which has been awesome because I don't have to do the bathrooms, wash floors and feel stressed to get that done and not be with the kids. We felt incredibly fortunate and very blessed to have this extra help in our lives.
What has been missing though and what has been a huge need is help with childcare. With no family here, no childcare at gyms etc I was finding it hard to do things by myself and have some time to recharge/regroup and even more so was finding it hard to spend time with Peyton. I had tons of time with Graham while Peyton was at school but she never got one on one time and I know that one of her love languages is quality time. And I was overwhelmed with the day to day stuff that needed to get done and frustrated that I was always telling the kids "no' or "just wait" while I was finishing tasks around the house. I also have more play dates, coffee gatherings and just commitments than I would have had while we were in the States because there is nothing else to fill our time...I can't run errands until John is home. With Graham napping during the day it has been hard to go and visit people or take Peyton to play dates which is important to her life here so I was either missing events (and then feeling very isolated and down) or taking a cranky baby who needed to be napping and chasing him around and just being frustrated. We have known for awhile (since before I left for Christmas) that we needed regular help to give me a breath and allow me much needed time by myself and also with just Peyton. So... I have been looking for a LONG time for some part time childcare help but it is incredibly hard to find and everyone on camp is looking. I had given up....I figured that at some point in life it would be easier and I would be able to make regular dinners again, bake, do laundry regularly and not be so overwhelmed and that I would continue to do my best at building relationships for me and Peyton and just work through this phase.
Then one afternoon a friend called and said she had heard of a woman who was looking for work and that my friend wanted to split the hours with me. We talked, worked out a schedule which gave us each time during the week and then we interviewed the woman. She was faboulous! The kids loved her, she was a former pediatric nurse who is having a hard time finding work in Saudi, she lives in the town next to our camp so she didn't need somewhere to live and she was willing to help me out around the house with dishes, laundry, bed making etc. which many people won't do. She has been with us for a little over three weeks now and has been an BLESSING!
Priscilla is from the Phillipines and she has three children of her own that live in the Phillipines with her mother. It is incredibly hard to have someone who is living/working away from her three kids come watch your kids because you need a break...when I am sure all she would want is to be around them all the time. Some guilt there for sure but I am focusing on what is best for both of us....I need some help and she needs the work. As I said, she is a pediatric nurse which has already proven to be a huge help as Graham was sick the second weeks she was with us. I was telling John just a couple of weeks ago that I missed having a nurse line to ask simple questions!
She has been an extra set of hands in my day to day life and has helped out so much! When Graham is sleeping she helps with stuff around the house, when he is awake she often spends time with him if there is something I need to work on. She loves our dog (she had two dogs in the Philippines) and will walk Titus and spoils him rotten. He is almost as excited to see her as the kids! Graham loves his morning walks and playground time with her and they get along wonderfully. Peyton is warming up to her and starting to ask to be around her more and more and also started giving her hugs goodbye but she hasn't stayed alone with Priscilla yet. Peyton always notices the things Priscilla does around the house and tells her thank you which makes me happy to see her treat others with respect.
The BEST part is by far the time that I have been able to have with Peyton. We have been able to go have coffee and read books together, go swimming, go to the beach, play games and just have quality time with each other. I am so THANKFUL for that time with Peyton and it has made such a difference in her demeanor. Also, knowing that the day to day stuff is done or at least being done or will get done between the two of us is a huge weight off my shoulders and just allows me to be in the moment and treasuring the time with the kids. And I am enjoying the morning coffees with friends where I don't have Graham with me and can be intentional and focused on conversations and building relationships!
We are so thankful for Priscilla and try to let her know as much as possible what a blessing she is to our family. We continue to pray that it works out and she stays with us as long as possible! I am beyond thankful and incredibly humbled that we are in a country/situation that allows us to afford to have help like this and am soaking up the precious time with my kids and trying to keep the guilt at bay.