I was reading your post with interest. It has taken us 12 months to finally get someone to help out in our household, and it has been a blessing. We are an aussie family and I work freelance and study part time, as well as being a stay at home mum of one. It just frees up time for you to spend time with the kids instead of feeling guilty about all those jobs that need doing. I don't know what I was thinking not getting someone in to help. Our foreign domestic worker (helper) lives in with us and is very discreet and gives us our space when we need it.
The reason for my post however is to point out to you certain issues with agencies. Please make sure you go to a reputable agency, one that has been recommended to you. I have been working with H.O.M.E. Shelter for abused maids and some of the agencies treat their newly acquired recruits very very badly. Bear in mind also that very often a maid will bring with her a big debt which she then has to spend a very long time working off, without any pay for herself, which goes to the agency for 'placement fees'. Many girls spend 2 years paying off their 'debt' without any salary to send back to their families.
Make sure that the agency has been accredited with the MOM and think very carefully before just walking into an agency off the street. The treatment of the girls 'waiting in the window' (which is illegal by the way) I have discovered has been truly atrocious - no food, very little water, no place to sleep, and a so-called medical exam which ends up being not legitimate.
In December 2005, there was an excellent human rights report entitled 'Maid to Order - Maid Abuse', which discusses Employment Agency Misconduct.
http://www.siiaonline.org/foreign_domes ... misconduct
If you wish to find out more about agencies and employing a foreign domestic worker, I am happy to be contacted by PM or by email at [email protected]