Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Secret to Marriage: Outsourcing

The New York Times just busted out another classic article. It's all about "equally shared parenting." When you think it's impossible to over-think children and families, someone offers another view.

So the deal there is that each parent is equally involved in everything. They have equal work hours, equal quality time with kids, equal responsibility of the home, and equal 15 minutes bouts of boring sex.

Obviously I read this and felt the need to put a Brazilian spin on it. I'm getting quite predictable on this blog, or as I like to call it "equally shared topic use."

Anyway, Brazilians have an easy answer to the equality at home issue, they outsource. Hell, I think most marriages here come with a full-time maid to clean and cook. Depending on the financial situation of the parents, come little Jr. there could be the addition of a nanny, the expansion of the job description of the maid, or the abuse of extended family members.

Yes, the family helps. You have the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Siblings, and goodness knows however many cousins the parents feel comfortable having help. The Brazilians have the tribe style of raising kids down.

So in the middle class two working parent situation, Brazilians have that stuff down. Not only do neither of them actually have to do housework, sometimes they hardly need to raise their children unless they really want to. I think that explains why I'm the Mom getting annoyed with my kid's tantrum and the Brazilian parent is calmly lecturing them on how it makes Mommy feel... all while the kid is screaming.

In the past I have always accounted the parents I encounter's patience with just being more patient. I would swear to myself that my pregnant Mother really should have gotten her butt on a plane and birthed me in a more acceptable country. Turns out, upon reflection, that maybe this patience comes from having help. They are not burnt out by their kids or household duties. They do not have to argue with their spouse over who never does the dishes because Valeria or Lillian is coming in to handle them in the morning.

In all seriousness though, they need the help! If you have two working parents with semi-decent careers the hours are a bitch! Mr. Rant can go from getting home at 630pm one week to 830pm the next. It doesn't matter how early he starts his day. It's that damn 6pm meeting that every Brazilian seems to love to schedule that only actually starts at 630 or 7pm. That meeting will bite you in the ass weekly!

So I guess when you are in Brazil you do what the Brazilians do, unless you are me that is. I'm a glutton for punishment and can't manage a maid more than twice a week. Call me crazy but sharing my box of an apartment with another woman, who talks more than me by the way, is enough to send me to the Brazilian crazy house. Trust me, not the crazy house you want to end up in!

How do you or will you handle your household?


  1. I thought it was interesting how the article just kind of quickly glossed over some of the parents' comments on hiring maids and nannies. I think 2 different families mentioned it and the author didn't even address or reflect on it it as an option.

  2. Rachel,

    We invest in better appliances, like the best possible dishwasher available, quiet and efficient. The best Washer and Dryer. An iRobot ( vaccum cleaner ).
    The very best product ever invented to help clean a house is the "Magic Eraser Sponge", love it more than any other house hold product, right after "Scrubbing Bubbles" off course.
    A Faxineira costs about U$40.00 an hour around here, it's just not happening. We clean a little bit at a time, all the time, so it never accumulate.
    However, we don't have children yet, we will definitely have to re-acess the situation when we have kids.
    We do occasionally hire people to work on the yard, and leaf and snow removal, it's just too much. But definitely spend less than our parents do with their condo fees in Sao Paulo.


  3. post modern solution: robot maids!
    Oh why can't it be 2062 like The Jatsons cartoon! hahahaha

  4. One word..."Sogra". Best thing is that she's family and actually enjoys helping all of the time with the kids and cleaning. It is almost insulting to tell her "you don't need to do that". If the sogra is happy, the whole family is happy.