I have wanted and waited to write this post since we first got here 2 years ago. I knew I needed more time to sort it all out and to experience the true impact in our household. There is a lot of conversation and thought that goes into how I will write this post, and I am going to start with this is just how I have experienced having help in our family. I can’t possibly touch on all the cultural factors that play out, so I will try to stay in my lane.
Having help in your house is one of the best perks of living here in Cartagena. We were unable to afford this kind of help back in the States and now having someone in my house several times a week has completely sold me on the value of having paid help. She has quite possibly saved my sanity while I have a traveling husband in a country where I am not fluent in the language. She helps me run my house hold and gives me some much-needed freedom from being a solo parent during the week. I no longer feel the burden of cooking, cleaning and entertaining kids every. single. day.
Simultaneously, living in an apartment in the city means no house projects and therefore plenty of free time. It is such a change from owning your own home with property and trying to do it all yourself. No surprise here, I really like it. I have loved owning my own home in the past, but being in Cartagena has given us freedom from some of those adult responsibilities, and it has been wonderful.
I also believe that having her in my home with my family has given us all a front row seat to Colombian culture. We share stories, we exchange the cooking traditions of holidays and we laugh at all the crazy things that happen. She is very open to understanding our differences and I hope that she feels we respect and learn from her as well.
I was never sure I would be comfortable having someone in my home so often, basically cleaning up after our family. However, I have learned that respect is really the answer to that initial awkwardness. I treat her just as I would any other professional coming into my home. As we have grown more comfortable, we share stories about our families, we talk about the problems we are dealing with, we help and care for each other and I hope she knows just how much I appreciate her. every. single. day.