The double shift
You’ve heard of the double shift right? It’s the concept that women do a shift at work and then come home to complete a second shift of domestic and caring work at home. But during the pandemic lockdowns, the double shift became the “double double shift”.
It’s important to talk about the double double shift in Anusha and Chris’ situation as this is exactly what they were facing. Between their dual full-time work schedules and homeschooling their two boys, aged 5 and 7, keeping on top of the housekeeping was the last thing on their minds.
However, due to the lockdowns, their Moncierge wasn’t able to make her regular, weekly visits to help out. Overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, the couple took the approach of accepting the situation for what it was and simply doing what they could.
“Chris and I were both working from home in COVID,” explains Anusha. “We have a big house, two very active boys and both of us have back related issues. Even when we did clean up, it was a mess again within 2 or 3 days.”
A spanner in the works
Chris and Anusha initially signed up to mtime in April 2019 after they realised that what they needed was more akin to a Melbourne housekeeper rather than a cleaner. So when lockdowns rolled around, they had been using the service for 12 months and really valued having a Moncierge in their home.
“We had used cleaners in the past, but we liked the idea that with mtime, the Moncierges are nanny housekeepers so you can also use them for childminding if needed,” says Anusha.
“Our Moncierges have all been really good at cleaning and organising things, which was so valuable to us. They have organised the pantry and the fridge and take initiative when they see something that needs to be done rather than waiting for me to ask them. It feels really homely, like they are a friend or family member rather than just a cleaner.”
All up, it was five long months that Anusha and Chris were without a Moncierge due to the lockdown. But, as restrictions eased, they welcomed their Moncierge, Sharon, back with very open arms.
Sharon is a part-time Moncierge and a full-time chemistry student. She has worked with many families and was excited to get back to work post the stage 4 lockdowns.
“Working with Chris and Anusha was the first work I had post-stage 4 which was really exciting,” explains Sharon. “I have been a Melbourne housekeeping Moncierge for two years and love that it’s the type of job where I can really help people.
“When I walked into Anusha and Chris’s home they apologised for how messy it was but I completely understood how difficult the situation was. They were both working in senior roles and it was so much to take care of working from home, homeschooling and managing the house.”
Attacking the problem
Together, they developed a plan of attack. Understandably, most of the mess had built up in the playroom so that is where Sharon started.
“We usually only have a Moncierge for one session per week, but for the first couple of weeks after Sharon started coming after lockdown, we had two sessions so she could help us to get the situation under control,” says Anusha.
“In that time she was able to do a really thorough clean. She’s really very good at what she does. She is always polite and the kids love her. I really liked that she got the kids involved in the process and was teaching them how to make their beds properly and letting them use the vacuum cleaner.”
For Sharon, she had a great sense of pride in the work she did.
“It’s hard to explain, but to see the relief on Chris and Anusha’s face after I had cleaned up the playroom, and subsequent rooms, was so incredible,” recalls Sharon.
“I want to help people. That’s what makes it so worthwhile for me. I’ll scrub the floor if it will make their jobs easier. Being a Moncierge has really increased my respect for working parents.
“It’s an honour to be a Moncierge. People are welcoming me into their home so it’s really important that they feel comfortable with me. I love cleaning and helping people. And I get paid to do it!"
Not a regular cleaning service
That’s one of the things that’s really distinctive about the mtime Melbourne housekeeping service. We aren’t your regular cleaning service. Yes, our Moncierges clean… but they also cook, care for the children and help out with chores.
That was partly what drew Anusha to mtime in the first place - having the flexibility to use the service as her needs changed. But more than that, she wanted to support a socially minded enterprise.
“As someone who works in the human rights field, I understand the perils of a casualised workforce. I really like the idea that by going through mtime, the Moncierges that are coming to us have access to superannuation etcetera - the kinds of things you don’t usually have in this type of work.
“I think people often make assumptions about the type of people who might be working in a social enterprise but our Moncierges have all been incredibly strong and intelligent women. We have had four Moncierges over the years - the first was a medical doctor, the second was completing her Masters degree, Sharon was a chemistry student and our fourth Moncierge has had some really interesting life experiences.”
With mtime, you also have a dedicated Concierge who will check in with you after every session and help to manage replacements if your Moncierge is sick or on leave. We create a household manual for every client so the new Moncierge knows every detail from where you keep the bathroom cleaning products to the settings to use on the washing machine and the names of your pets!
Each time Anusha has changed Moncierges due to scheduling conflicts, the transition to the new Moncierge has been seamless, thanks to our Concierge service.
“At the first session, you get an extra 30 minutes to show the Moncierge around,” explains Anusha. “Usually I make a cup of tea and we sit down for chat to get to know each other. Even if your Moncierge is on leave, their replacement will always call me beforehand so they don’t just turn up on the day without us having had a chat first.”
It’s what you make of it
Anusha believes that the Moncierge service is what you make of it. And we agree.
“We’ve used other house cleaners in Melbourne before and while I always felt like I should clean before the cleaner came, I never had the time to really do it properly,” concedes Anusha. “Maybe this is on me, but I did feel a bit judged by the cleaners.”
“My Moncierges have always told me that they’re here to help and I genuinely believe them. They understand how hard it is to work and have kids and try to fit everything in.”
Like many of our clients, Anusha feels like her Moncierges have become almost like part of the family. If they are working a shift around dinner time, she will include them in the family meal. She also loves the cultural exchange aspect of the service, with many of our Moncierges from culturally diverse backgrounds.
“The cultural element is a huge bonus for me,” admits Anusha. “Two of my Moncierges have been from the Philippines and one from Kenya. It’s so good for my kids to get exposure to different people, different cultures and different ways of doing things. My background is Sri Lankan so I have also cooked some Sri Lankan food for them which was a really nice cultural exchange. Having a Moncierge is a really cool way to be in touch with people you never ordinarily would. I’m really interested in their backgrounds, stories and experiences.
“As a mum of two boys who have all male cousins, it’s also been really nice for them to have access to female Moncierges who are all really strong women. They have both a quiet and overt strength and we often talk about politics or world events. I love that my boys can hear what we’re talking about and learn from different views.”
“Our Moncierges have integrated into our lives so beautifully. It’s like having a friend or family member coming into the home and being part of our afternoon.”
Melbourne housekeeping and so much more
At mtime, we offer you the flexibility to use our services as you need. Melbourne housekeeping was the priority for Anusha and Chris with the knowledge they had back up child care if they needed it. Other families lean more on child minding, cooking or a mix and match approach for every session.
When you sign up with mtime, we match you with a Moncierge based on your family’s unique needs. You can hire your Moncierge for as little as three hours a week for a flat hourly fee knowing that we will handle all recruitment, payroll, insurance, background checks and scheduling.