Meet Theresa, Our Foreign Domestic Helper on Episode 1 of Tuesdays With Theresa
Who takes care of Boogie when we’re working? Who is this mysterious person that holds our family together? Today I want you to get to know the heartbeat of our family here in Hong Kong, our foreign domestic helper, Theresa. I’m hoping that this can become a bi-monthly segment where you can get a glimpse into this amazing woman and all that she does for our family… Including her spectacular cooking!
Tuesdays with Theresa- Meet Our Foreign Domestic Helper
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to hire or be a domestic helper? Let me know in the comments what questions you have so we can answer them!
My Perspective on our Helper Theresa
Before we get into the interview with Theresa, I just want to take a minute to tell you a little about her from my perspective. We hired Theresa at the end of 2016 and she officially started in January 2017. I’ll go more into the hiring process in another video, but I want to make it clear that there was a lot of trust we had to have when choosing her. She was very nervous about us contacting her last employer in case they sought revenge on her for leaving. Unfortunately, that sometimes happens. So we decided not to contact them and trust our instincts. We could not have been more pleased.
In our home, Theresa helps takes care of the dogs, the house and cooking, and the baby. We actually never meant for her to take on all of that, even though normally domestic helpers do all of those things and more. But it turns out she ended up being bored with the schedule we made for her, even though I thought they were more realistic expectations.
From the beginning, Theresa has been a proactive go-getter. She sees what needs done and does it. And if there’s something we want done specifically, all we have to do is tell her and she handles it. Honestly, I think she’s superwoman.
Here are a few examples of her proactiveness…
Before Boogie was born we just had our two dogs. They were pretty lazy dogs to be honest lol. But once Theresa came along they would go on 5 walks a day sometimes! Once Boogie was born the number came down to three for most days, but still, 5 walks a day otherwise! And we’re not talking short little 10 minutes to pee and poop and come back inside. These were nice long walks on the beach or even up to the top of the mountain, a 30 minute walk just going up!
Then there are the play dates. Never once have we asked her to seek out friends for Boogie or the dogs, she’s just naturally done it! First it was play dates for the dogs. Then play dates for Boogie and the dogs. And now that we’ve moved she not only has play dates for him, but she takes him to a kindergarten playgroup every morning too! These are things I don’t think I would have been able to do here. That’s just not in my personality and of course the language difference. So I’m so thankful to her for doing it.
Oh, and I can’t forget the cooking!
When we hired her we actually said not to worry about the cooking because Hubby likes to cook! Well, she took that on too considering what time we got home at night from work, and thank God she did. But here’s the kicker. We never told her what to make in the beginning! She just saw what we had in the fridge and in the cabinets then searched on YouTube to make something she thought we liked and it was fantastic! It ended up being a lifesaver too, especially after the baby was born. Now she handles all the cooking unless Hubby wants to cook something.
Living With a Helper
After J was born, nothing changed, she continued to be amazing. She even still found time to play with the dogs!
I did have my moments where I got jealous because she wanted Boogie so much and I was desperate to spend as much time with him before I had to go back to work. But as time has gone on, those times she takes him to go play really helps me keep my sanity and get things done… like this blog!
I could go on and on, but I really want you to learn about Theresa from Theresa, even though she thinks she has nothing to say, she is filled with history, goals, and a family all her own.
The Interview With Our Amazing Helper, Theresa.
So we not-so-secretly think she should have her own blog and YouTube channel to teach and inspire other people and so we said we’d trial it out through my networks lol.
So those of you watching/ reading make sure to comment if you want to see more from our fabulous Theresa!
(Watch the video for answers from Theresa, I will be paraphrasing below. )
Where are you from?
Mindanao Region in the Philippines.
What’s it like there?
Everybody smiles. Even with lots of trials and struggles, everybody happy. Even with big families where you struggle to eat 3x a day, they’re happy.
Most people there work for Del Monte Pineapples. There’s a big farm there so most people work for them.
Can you tell us a little about your family?
I live with my mother and daughter. My mother takes care of my daughter. Or she did until my mother got sick and now my daughter takes care of her. I’m married, but we’re separated. We’re good friends still. (They’re not allowed to divorce in the Philippines and an annulment is cost prohibitive).
I had a son, but he died (in a car accident).
Who are you doing this for back home?
My family. So my daughter can have what she wants (this helps pay her education and helps take care of her mom.)
When you were growing up what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I wanted to be a policewoman.
What made you not do that?
I was too short! There was a minimum height then. Plus my mom didn’t want me to do that. She wanted me to be a nurse or teacher. I don’t like nursing, very big book to study, so I became a teacher.
Why did you decide to be a foreign domestic helper?
Because I can make 4x what I made as a teacher in the Philippines! I didn’t want to originally, but then I saw a neighbor come home and she was very white and her children had so much chocolate. My son just kept staring. So I thought I would too to earn more money.
Can you tell us where you worked before joining our family and what kind of experiences you had at each place?
My first job was in Bahrain. The woman was a teacher like you. Every day when she went to work the sir would bring us to his mother’s house. The Grandma was very nice. She had a younger daughter and I tutored her. When she would get good grades the grandma would give me gold gifts. When my employer had a second baby the older one slept with me. The grandma would have me nap when the baby did and eat when the baby did. They liked me because I was so playful with the children. They were very nice, but I had no days off.
Then I had my first Chinese employer. They were very nice, but I only worked for them 2 years and then I went home because my son died.
My last employer was an older Chinese couple here. I worked for them 6 years and they were good employers, but they wanted massages every day. My hands hurt very much.
Why did you choose to work for our family?
I wanted to work for a western family, because I heard they were nicer and more openminded. My goal was also to work with children. I missed playing with them and teaching them.
What has been the most difficult and best parts of working for us?
I love walking with the dogs and J.
When we moved. That was very hard!
*For reference you can see this post on the struggles we were going through then… Multiple hospital visits, bad moving company, and just issue after issue.
What does your day look like with Boogie when we’re gone?
When you’re working: I wake up with you at 5 and cook you breakfast. I get your pumping stuff and lunch packed. Then do dishes until the baby wakes up. I make your bed and he likes to help me. We take the dog’s for a walk before going to the kindergarten playgroup. After we come back and play or watch his music videos. I clean and do laundry while he naps. Then, when he wakes up, he eats and then we go for another walk until you come home and I make dinner. While you eat dinner I take the dogs for another walk and then I’m done about 7 o’clock.
What’s your favorite activity to do with Boogie?
Go for walks. J loves to be outside. He also loves Zumba right now.
Do you have a favorite song or book you like to sing or read to him?
J likes “Baby Shark” right now. And I’ve been singing the Watermelon song since he was like 4m. I know you don’t like Barney lol!
What is your dream job now? Like if money wasn’t a concern, what would you do?
I want to own a restaurant. But not a fancy restaurant. One that anyone can go to, even if you’re poor.
I also want to own a big business. A buy and sell business where I buy crops at wholesale and then resell them. But I need a big ten-wheeler truck. Maybe one day.
What are your favorite foods to cook?
For you, I like to cook the chicken stroganoff. It’s easy and you and J like it.
For me, I like anything BBQ, you know outside BBQ? But my mom’s doctor said that’s what caused her colon issues so I can’t eat that anymore.
What things do you not like to cook?
I can’t make dough. I don’t know why. I’ve tried before and it just fell flat and was as hard as a brick. So I don’t like doughs.
What words of advice would you give those thinking of becoming a domestic helper?
To have lots of patience and to love your job. Know that in the beginning that it is hard and you will be homesick, but you just need to push through. Everything is under control.
Final Words To Our Domestic Helper:
Thank you Theresa for sharing so much about yourself. I’m so glad that we have this for when Boogie gets older so he can watch it.
And I’m sure it’s going to help others when they’re looking for their own domestic helper or employer. This will be an inspiration to people around the world on sacrifice and perseverance.
If you enjoyed this post and want to see more from Theresa then make sure to share it and leave a comment below with a question you have for Theresa or something you’d like to see her make!