Getting a maid

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seidltan
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Getting a maid

Post by seidltan » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 3:24 am

Hi All,

we are moving to singapore and are debating between us the pros and cons of having a maid. I have had maids in the family before, but that was a long time ago - I have left Singapore 15 years ago. I still have this thinking that having a maid is quite convenient as you always have a helping hand nearby. My husband, on the other hand, a european, thinks its decadent to have a maid. Also, he thinks that it is an invasion on our privacy to have someone foreign living in the family. On the other hand, like almost all husbands, my husband shuns any kind of housework. I am a working mum, and I intend to carry on working (and hard too) in Singapore, and we have a 18 month old child, and then - without a maid - I probably will have to deal with the cooking, cleaning, ironing etc...

So I was wondering if anyone has had REAL bad experience with maids (other than those disturbing reports I read about maids murdering their employees, maids stealing from their employees, maids abusing the children of their employees, maids using their employees' master bedroom as 'service' centres etc.) and if anyone would in fact recommend having a part-time cleaner? Is there something like a full-time household/domestic helper in Singapore (I cannot remember if we had them in Singapore - yes it was too long ago) : where the person would not have to live in? Like you just employ this person to work full-time for you and this person goes home to whereever at the end of the day?

Tips and Advice very much welcome!

Thanks!!
:roll:

Bonita
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Not a maid but a companion

Post by Bonita » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 1:07 pm

I believe that if you treat your maid well and with humanity there's no reason for the maid to mistreat your family.

I have a maid and I treat her not as a maid but as a friend coz I'm trusting her with the life and welfare of my children.Provide her a decent room with TV,radio and night lamp in case she wants to read/write before sleeping.I bring her out with the kids for outing and treat her as my companion.If I go out shopping and I see something nice I'd buy it for her so that when I come home with all that shopping bags,her's would be one of them.It's nice to see her smile and feel appreciated.For her birthday I bought her a gold earring and I think she looks pretty.She'll get worried if I went out late and would call my handphone asking if I'm ok.She loves my 2 kids and spoilt them rotten and very defensive of them.I don't expect her to keep my place perfect as showcase apartment but as long as it's neat I'm ok with it.She used to be very withdrawn but sinced she's been with me she's very cheerful :)We'll chat about everything under the sun.My friends think I'm crazy but that's why they're always having problems with their maid.

First of all when you finally get yourself a maid.Sit her down(not on the floor please)as an equal and tell her your rules and what you like and dislike.Give her a schedule for the daily duties.Ex:wake up at 7am(let her attend her needs 1st)make breakfast for the family and when ur both out of her way let her attend to the kids and housechores.Show and teach her how you would like them to be done.You are an employer and every employee needs a training be they experience or not.She'll be motivated and not be confuse.Tell her that she must come to you if there's anything she's unsure of.Don't rebuke her(very common among locals)if she make a mistake.Sit her down and talk to her nicely find out what really went wrong.Give her a word of advice or encouragement.

Do your part when you're home from work.Take over the kids.Her work is done when ur home and has taken a shower/dinner.Weekends help her out with the chores.2 hands are better than 1.Help her wash the dishes,laundry when she's busy doing something.I believe she will love working with you if she's being treated right.Every employees doesn't like working for a bad employer.Give her a bonus or words of encouragement.Cook up something nice on weekends and serve her.My maid is already having a hard time dealing with my kids and it's only right I make her feel happy.The salary you're giving her is only a pittance so don't expect to work her like a horse.

Goodluck with finding the right maid!
cute as in ugly but adorable!

exhausted mummy

Post by exhausted mummy » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 3:01 pm

Hi Bonita,

I have really appreciated your post. I have two very young kids and I work part time, study part time and really need some help. I am thinking about hiring a maid, and have had a lot of mixed messages as to how to treat my maid - most people think we are crazy because we want someone to be a part of our family. I am going to trust this person with my kids so I HAVE to believe that they are a good person, happy and trustworthy. I am terrified of having a nightmare of a maid, and have been told that wanting to trust my maid is setting myself up to be taken advantage of. It amazes me that some people would not allow their maid to stay in their house if they go on holiday but will leave their kids with them... that's just my view: that would not work for me.

It's nice to know that we are not the only ones who are approaching it from this point of view. Also, I have figured if I treat her nicely, then she won't leave too quickly - it's important to us that we don't have too many disruptions for the kids.

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Post by stefania » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 3:26 pm

Treating her nicely may not mean that she'll treat your kid nicely. Most important of all, even though you have a maid, take care of your child as well. Spend time with them and check to see if everything is in order. Appearances and behaviour can be very misleading.

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Post by Sandpiper » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 11:46 pm

Oh my god, wouldn't we love to see this question posted on the AB?

As for bad stories, touch wood I don't have any that are:
a) anything other than heresy,
b) not minor in the scheme of things or due to employers not speaking up as soon as something is done other than in a way they would prefer it,
c) re other than maids that were so obviously not suitable from day one and yes, "returned" or whatever before any real issues other than inconveniance arose.

In your case I would not see a maid as decadence, your husband doesn't want to face housework etc after working so why should you and in Singapore a maid is an easily available and affordable way of solving this issue. How much time would you get to spend with your baby if you were working full time and coping with the household chores? And husband....oh and that small matter of time to yourself :wink:

Part-time can be $15/hour, not as flexible and I have had so many friends' part timers let them down i.e. not turn up, or consistently be late. Note that it is a government requirement that the foreign domestic workers have to live in. You may be lucky and find some-one who can work fulltime and live out, it may be "under the counter" but I have heard varying stories of what could happen to your EP if you do this. Generally if it is all above board you will pay a lot more than for a fulltime live in.

Re the lack of privacy - I think this is more of an issue for those of us that are at home during the day. You can choose your maid and accomodation with this concern in mind and be very clear up front (before it gets personal) about your privacy needs. We generally don't see ours after 6pm unless she is needed for babysitting or a particular child needs attention. Does your husband understand that most of the accomodation here has separate maids rooms, bathrooms and areas for washing, ironing etc with its own entrance as well?

Edited to add: I was lucky in that my maid had already been well trained to suit me: she prepares & eats her meals at times when I am not around and eats them in her area. We do not take her everywhere with us - only occasionally when we/I really need an extra pair of eyes to watch my 2 year old e.g. Wet Wet Wild. - I am talking a couple of times a year. We do not take her to restaurants with us, we do our best to handle the kids without her! I am not saying this approach is the right one, especially vis a vis the earlier poster but it is another very common one and I thought it might be useful for the OP to know given she is concerned about privacy. My maid does go out a couple of times a week on her own (with her friends) so I do not feel that she is housebound and reliant on us to give her a change of scene.

Major generalisation here but they do seem to be better with young children than older but of course you have the issue that a young child cannot speak up. You would just need to be very thorough in your interviewing, checking references, supervision when you are around and that ol' gut feeling.

Good luck with it all - I have heard more good maid stories than bad, if you choose wisely and with a bit of luck thrown in (as with anything) you should be able to find someone to basically manage the house for you.
Last edited by Sandpiper on Sun, 19 Jun 2005 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

seidltan
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To all who replied ....

Post by seidltan » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 5:08 pm

Thanks ever so much for the helpful tips and advice! I sure hope we'd have as good a luck as you guys getting the right maid...Does the nationaility of the maid matter - any advice?

:oops: more advice needed...

Sandpiper
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Post by Sandpiper » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 7:03 pm

Hmm, to get into the issue of country of origin is to start some real stereotyping...so I am going to do my best to be very PC without being totally useless.

Our maid is Filipina and we have had no other so cannot give a comparison, which wouldn't be worth anything as you are comparing two individual people. She is great, I have a friend who had a wondeful maid from Indonesia, ditto from Sri Lanka...and ditto Thailand for that matter.

The basics you would check out at the interview stage - English ability, experience with "Western ways" and appliances, cooking ability, education etc

Filipina maids tend to be more expensive - and they certainly are to send back for their biannual home leave due to some paperwork required by their embassy. It does seem that they are the more demanding re pay, days off etc...how dare they band together against "us"!

Foodwise, a Thai cook would be on the top of my list, followed by Sri Lankan!

The religion of the maid may also be an issue as far as food preparation goes and if you plan to keep a dog (I understand that the Muslim Indonesian maids do not like dogs!)

One further thought is that if you are from Australia or plan on sending your child to Tanglin you may want to consider a maid who speaks Bahasa (taught in many Australian schools and Tanglin infant school)

You can choose to hire a transfer maid...a maid already in Singapore or have an agency recruit one from overseas for you. I don't think I could go the latter - you do not get to interview, check references and it seems that these maids are very inexperienced - if you get one from a rural area they may not even know what a fridge is as an example. But they are much cheaper as a result.

Re the transfer maid I guess the main question is from an expat family or local family. If you go from an expat family it is easier to check references generally (none of the maids I interveiwed from local families could give referees which meant they didn't get past stage one with me) and they will hopefully have a better understanding of Western cooking and cleaning expectations. Re the cooking this is not always the case though as in a lot of expat families the mum will do the cooking...so if this is important to you check thoroughly. If you are working it will be a godsend to come home to a nicely cooked meal each night....and there are some maids who are wonderful cooks.

I hate to put this in print but I will...maids from expat families can be spoilt. Eg I am happy for my maid to finish at 6pm but if you are not you may not want her to come to you as it would be a major readjustment for both of you. I also gave her a later curfew to start with, which as I didn't know her, I was uncomfortable with (but thankfully she has proved her self trustworthy) but at the time that was what she was used to and really wanted and she was the only maid we interviewed that we liked. They may also expect more monetary wise which may be an issue to you exhausted mum...the drip drip affect can add up (mobile phones, one month bonus, trips back home when the employer goes on home leave etc) So check it all out. Even if you don't plan to hand it out, you may get sick of hearing about what the friends are getting :D

Good luck....it gets a bit boring talking maids all the time but many people are happy to so lap it all up. I was here a while before I got one so I had time to form my opninions and develop a much better idea of what I might need to look for when interviewing. Sure there are days when I just want the house to myself......but generally I feel very lucky not to be bogged down with the regular household chores, be living in a clean house despite having 3 kids, be able to go off and do stuff without having to get back by 4 to cook dinner (especially here as the best time to go out with the kids is later due to the heat) etc etc

Better go, dad and the kids are gone and I am meant to be doing dishes (it's Sunday!)

I should add the very important disclaimer that all the above is one persons opinion - mine! And I have only had one maid and not been here that long...but it is a starting point for you I hope.

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Post by cyber_m0nkey » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 9:44 pm

seidltan, your husband thinks its decadent to have a maid? yet he treats you like one, i.e doesn't assit with the housework. Sure, he probably works hard - but I'm guessing so do you.

I will be moving to Singapore with my family in September and have been discussing the issue of a live in maid with my wife - so the comments from others is great, especially in this post.

I don't know about treating the maid as a friend, nor do i think they she should be treated as a slave. I guess its like most things in life, the need to find a balance that's right for you and your family.

Good Luck!

seidltan
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hi seidltan

Post by seidltan » Mon, 20 Jun 2005 5:40 am

this is your husband --- is it really that bad with me refusing any kind of housework? :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Re: hi seidltan

Post by cyber_m0nkey » Mon, 20 Jun 2005 12:13 pm

seidltan wrote:this is your husband --- is it really that bad with me refusing any kind of housework? :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
I don't understand this, please rephrase.

seidltan
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Re: hi seidltan

Post by seidltan » Mon, 20 Jun 2005 1:36 pm

cyber_m0nkey wrote:
seidltan wrote:this is your husband --- is it really that bad with me refusing any kind of housework? :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
I don't understand this, please rephrase.
Hi Cyber_Monkey...

don't worry. My husband just posted the message protesting my 'coming' out of his not doing housework... :lol:

kim2

Post by kim2 » Tue, 03 Jan 2006 8:44 pm

yes and i had send you a message for my recommendation.
pls check

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Post by Vaucluse » Wed, 04 Jan 2006 8:14 am

Send me an e-mail or PM me when you arrive, and I'll give you the name of a good agency that works with local part-time maids.
Our prt-timer is Chinese Singaporean and cannot be faulted.
......................................................

'nuff said Image

kim2

Post by kim2 » Fri, 13 Jan 2006 10:10 pm

well,dont mentioned it.....you are welcome...mandy.
anyway it just a recommentation and i am glad it
work out for you.

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Post by kimm » Thu, 26 Jan 2006 8:25 pm

hi..kim2,

thank to mandy i can get a partime domestic helper with
your recommendation.

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