Living in China without ayi

Life before

From Summer 2016 until Summer 2017 we had a full-time ayi, a nanny who took care of our daughter, cleaned and cooked. She lived with us five days per week.

During that year we got so spoiled! Dinner was always on the table when we got home from work, Anna liked playing with ayi and ayi would help out in the evening too if I wanted to sneak to the movies with my husband.

But then came Summer 2017 and our ayi started to talk about leaving, she said she could consider staying with a higher pay, but we wanted to check our options first.

We realized salaries for ayi had increased a lot, best ayis were now 6000rmb per month! Luckily we found a nice daycare where Anna now goes four or five days per week.

Life after

So how has our life in Guangzhou changed since we don’t have an ayi anymore?

Before I often worked until 6pm and got home at 7pm, now I finish before 5pm so I can get to daycare on time to pick our daughter.

Before my husband worked long hours, for months he did the night shift. Now he started working for him self as well, making his working hours very flexible. He is now the one who stays at home when Anna is sick and takes care of her every Saturday when I’m working.

Household work and cooking is done by both of us. During the week my husband is in charge, on weekends we often clean and cook together. During the week we often cook for two days at a time or prepare meat and vegetables the day before. During Winter hot pot has become our favorite as it’s easy to prepare.

The biggest difference is that as me and my husband are either working, taking care of Anna or doing household chores, we rarely have time for the two of us. “Let’s watch a movie when Anna is asleep” has become a joke, I usually fall asleep when I put Anna to bed!

Now that we don’t have a babysitter in hand, we decided once a month to have a date day. Our daughter usually doesn’t go to daycare on Mondays, but once a week she does. So me and my husband hit the gym, have lunch and watch a movie. Then rush to the daycare to pick up Anna.

Why to have or not to have an ayi?

If both of the parents are working it’s definitely good to have an ayi. Work days are longer in China and with the traffic it’s often late when a working parent gets home. In general apartments also get dirty fast so cleaning takes more time than in Finland for example.

Having an ayi is also a way to minimize and family debates on who does more household chores!

Our decision to not have an ayi anymore is mostly financial, we rather save money than use it all to ayi’s salary. Anna’s daycare is cheaper that hiring a full-time nanny.

Luckily our flexible jobs allow us to manage this without having help. I admit it would be difficult if my husband still worked such a long hours as before.

All in all it’s busy years for us juggling work and family, but for now we can do it without an ayi. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend to hire one if possible ;)