Singapore Expats Forum

How to deal with live-in helper?

Discuss everything about domestic helper and babysitter issues here
louloutechen
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed, 21 Apr 2010

How to deal with live-in helper?

Postby louloutechen » Thu, 22 Apr 2010 6:54 pm

Hello,

My husband and I are going to relocate to Singapore, and I made some research about a caregiver for my 7 month old baby, and I found that the most common solution is to hire a live-in helper. I will go back to work and I need to find a solution for having somebody taking care of my son. I also heard that kindergarten are very expensive.

The problem is i don't feel confortable at all having someone living with us. So i would like to have your ideas about how to make this livable.

How do you handle the situation?
How can you still feel at home?
How not to feel "jealous" about the relationship between your child and the caregiver (since she doesn't go to her own home)
How do you manage to have "family time" at home?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience. :(

cbavasi
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 846
Joined: Tue, 12 Jun 2007

Postby cbavasi » Thu, 22 Apr 2010 8:52 pm

Like any workplace - it's important for you to outline what is most important to you and your family and express that to your new helper. I've found that the most important aspect is communication... a helper is not a mind reader and it's super important that you provide a lot of feedback and also ask her what would make it better for her. If you can, put on paper what your typical day is like... what your expectations are and have a good chat about it.
Again, what is important for one family may not be most important for yours. Don't worry too much about feeling jealous... a helper is just that - there to "help"... but she also wants to feel a connection so she'll want to be close to your children.

User avatar
BigSis
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat, 17 Apr 2010

Postby BigSis » Thu, 22 Apr 2010 10:47 pm

A maid isn't a nanny though, always bear that in mind, they're like a live in cleaner who does a bit of babysitting, they've got no childcare qualifications and it can sometimes take a few maids until you get one you're happy with. If you want more of a babysitter than a maid, there are agencies which will do it - google nanny Singapore and you'll find some sites of companies which offer this service.

They will babysit but won't do your cleaning, but they also won't have to live in your house. Maids have to live in your house, childminders/nannies are usually Singaporeans or already residents here.

An agency for babysitting will probably cost you more than having a live-in, but at least you'll get your house to yourselves when you are at home.

NotAYummyMummy
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu, 22 Apr 2010

Postby NotAYummyMummy » Fri, 23 Apr 2010 6:00 am

Yes i can imagine it's a difficult situation and you are very honest about the issues at stake. I guess it's also difficult for the person doing the living-in - no family of their own etc., and, as a previous poster noted, don't assume the helper mind reads. Try as much as poss to be clear in your expectations and limits.

imogenben
Regular
Regular
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun, 09 May 2010

Postby imogenben » Sun, 09 May 2010 4:03 pm

if you are from the uk and parts of europe you might find this live-in maid thing very much against what you are used to.

over the long term you might adjust to it. but some friends of mine settled for a compromise and got a part time nanny instead (sort of office hours only kind of arrangement).

some locals put their children in their nanny's home when they work, but i am not sure if any expat do that.

sgnyc65
Regular
Regular
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed, 21 Jul 2010
Location: Singapore

Postby sgnyc65 » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 8:38 am

not only if you are from the UK, but also the Americas and Australia - we are not used to live-in help. It's taken us 2 years to get used to ours. We have a 2.5 yr old so who loves her and like many have said above, it's important to set guidelines with her right from the start. We created a sort of "helpers manual" with our expectations of her and what hers should be of us. I believe in treating them respect, making sure they are comfortable and healthy. My helper (yes, she's not a nanny which helps puts things in perspective in terms of what she is capable of) never does night duty, never is the one to put my child to sleep or help him when he's sick. She knows this is either my husband's or my job. I am always the first person he sees in the morning and last person he sees at night.

We naturally retreat to our bedroom once our son goes down at 8:30/9pm. Our helper finishes cleaning the kitchen and tidying up and then she's off until 6am unless we are not here. It's important though that you can trust her in case of emergency as she does live in your house. I think it is important to have her create her own bond with my son for I would never want to feel like she could not take care of my son if my husband or I were not available or out of town. Since my husband works during the day and I am a SAHM, she is in a way my understudy and needs to know all of his routines etc....We started slow in terms if terms of giving them time together - just them two and 2 years later, it's allowed us to take quick trips to KL and other close by cities and leaving my 2 year old at home and in good hands.

If you want it work, it work. We have a great relationship with our helper and I think it's because we always make sure she's healthy, well taken care of and we treat her with respect.

Girl_Next_Door
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 612
Joined: Thu, 28 Aug 2008

Postby Girl_Next_Door » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 8:52 am

A suggestion is to find an apartment that have a maid's room that is separated from the main living area. I have been to a few friend's place and there are such apartments around. Not many, but definitely around. This way, your maid can retire in her room (usually near the kitchan with a sliding door separating the living room) when you are back. You can get her help when you need it or when you are cooking, etc. For the rest of the time, she can simply stay in her room.

At the end of the day, I guess it really depends on how you manage your work life balance. I have 2 friends who quit their jobs to stay at home, because their kids were calling their maids, "Mummy". Needless to say, they work really long hours and are rarely around.

User avatar
QRM
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1831
Joined: Mon, 17 Oct 2005
Location: Nassim hill

Postby QRM » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 10:00 am

Funny when we first arrived here we couldn't understand the concept of someone living with us full time. Now 5 years on we cant live without our helper, when she went away for a holiday we had to decamp from the house and live in a hotel!

You just have to work your priorities out, for us we felt having a parent around full time is the best thing we can do for our kid. So I gave up my job and looked after her, the helper is here for just that to help with the day to day chores, washing, cooking, shopping, cleaning, I do all the bathing, changing, and playing, which is great I have plenty of time to do all the fun things with my daughter.

The other big advantage is that should you change helpers and that happens pretty often around here, there is no real emotional connection between her and the kid so no major trauma for them should it happen.

MaidInSing
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu, 08 Jul 2010
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Re: How to deal with live-in helper?

Postby MaidInSing » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:21 pm

louloutechen wrote:Hello,

My husband and I are going to relocate to Singapore, and I made some research about a caregiver for my 7 month old baby, and I found that the most common solution is to hire a live-in helper. I will go back to work and I need to find a solution for having somebody taking care of my son. I also heard that kindergarten are very expensive.

The problem is i don't feel confortable at all having someone living with us. So i would like to have your ideas about how to make this livable.

How do you handle the situation?
How can you still feel at home?
How not to feel "jealous" about the relationship between your child and the caregiver (since she doesn't go to her own home)
How do you manage to have "family time" at home?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience. :(



Here is my perspective as a maid;

try to get a transfer maid that is experienced with an expat family of your nationality. having experience she will know what to do from the start and have an idea of what is expected which will make it easier for you.

If you get a new maid and you have never had a maid before it will be harder for both

A list of duties and expectations helps a lot. Communication is very important.

it is also hard for maids to be living in someone else's home. a day off a week makes a big difference to the maid. Please please give a day off a week.

I have worked in 3 households and in each situation spent more time with the children than the parents and developed strong bonds with the children but i have never replaced the parent. children always love their parents more no matter what. even if they call maid "mummy" they still want their real mummy.

an experienced maid will know when to make herself scarce and go to her room. maids wants privacy too. with a good employer and good maid, maid will almost become part of family. I am first maid for my current employer and they had same reservations as you but now they are very happy for me to take care of their child so they can both work. as soon as dinner is finished i go to my room were i have internet/movies etc.. so i don't get bored and they have their privacy.
My life as a maid
www.maidinsingapore.net

MaidInSing
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu, 08 Jul 2010
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby MaidInSing » Wed, 25 Aug 2010 3:58 pm

i would also like to add that if you are coming from overseas and don't know how maid industry works here a new maid will have a 6-7 month salary deduction. A transfer maid will have 1-2 months salary deduction if you go through agency. You can arrange your own transfer which will save you and maid money. Just so you know.
My life as a maid

www.maidinsingapore.net


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Domestic Helper & Babysitter Issues”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests