February flew by and March flashed before my eyes. I blinked and they were both gone. As you and your family adjust to a new schedule, a new way of accomplishing tasks, you will find yourself wondering where your time went.
When you move from a warm-climate culture into a cold-climate culture, you will realize that time is a very valuable and non-renewable resource. You will find more and more demands on your time that will force you to become much more scheduled and much less spontaneous. I did not want to fall into the busyness trap, rushed, anxious and tired. But all of a sudden, without realizing it, I became over-committed, disappointed and exhausted. How do I step back, re-evaluate and re-arrange my and my family’s schedule? How do I protect this valuable resource? Allow me to give you a few suggestions.
I miss my full time house help: 8 hours a day for five days a week. She cleaned, washed clothes, prepared lunch, loved and cared for my kids. Oh… I was so spoiled! Sometimes I ask myself: Why did we move to the US?
It is culturally acceptable even for lower-middle class families to hire full or part time help in the home. For foreigners, it is almost expected. Labor is cheap in the developing world. Work is also scarce, even for highly educated people living in urban areas, not to mention people who live in rural areas. I needed to run a home in a hot, humid and dusty environment where floors needed to be swept and mopped daily and clothes and sheets got moldy – not to mention we did not have a dishwasher nor air conditioning, and had to hang clothes to dry on a line because electricity is really, really expensive. That was my “old normal.”