Life without a maid?

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x9200
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Post by x9200 » Thu, 31 Mar 2011 6:58 am

For us there have been two basic factors why we have no living-in maid:
1. The privacy issue (always)
2. Lack of trust

We have got a part time maid for a few years already and actually the lack of trust comes from our own experience with them and observations how many of the living-in maids behave "outside" - less from the horror stories. It ultimately comes to what person you get and a silent assumption that majority of them are good (work attitude + personality) is not necessarily correct. People like to write a lot about respect and this kind of things but this really does not help too much as we always have been respectful, often coming with some extra efforts to make their work more easy and this was always abused. No experience with living-in maids so far but I see no clear reasons why it should be THAT different comparing to the part time maids. Yes, probably the l-in-m should be less spoiled but this would be probably it.
We are taking one l-in-m soon because we are both working and the little one is already with us. If not, we would never decide to do it. Just all the convenience mentioned by MHB and k1w1 is not enough to level the two points I mentioned.

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mummy mantras
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Post by mummy mantras » Thu, 31 Mar 2011 11:26 am

I agree with k1w1 and MHB. There really isn't much of a support system here for working parents. It takes a whole community to raise a kid - in Singapore, people live in isolated family groupings, which isn't much good if there's no extended family to provide assistance. And even if one spouse stays at home to look after the kids, it's tough if there's more than one kid to look after.

When I was still working and hadn't had kids yet, I found out that most of my Singaporean colleagues (who had kids) either had maids or left their kids with their parents (who were retired) during weekdays. At first, I couldn't understand why. I thought that since most of their kids were in school during the day, there shouldn't be any problem for my collegues to pick up their kids from school after work. How wrong I was!

With limited afterschool care and capable babysitters very hard to find, at least one parent always has to be available at any time. And Singaporean bosses are not particularly sympathetic when you have to take a week's leave beacuse your twins have HFMD and can't go to school ("On leave again! Well, you say that you can do the work from home, but I really need you here in the office! This is bad for staff morale you know. You always going off and leaving everyone else to do all the work... Anyway, how come you don't have a maid? Or leave your children with your mother-in-law?").

That's when I decided that I had no choice but to become a stay-at-home mum. It's been tough, of course. We can't afford a maid and my mother-in-law has disowned us (it's a long story), so we don't have any external help. I buy groceries on my own, clean the flat on my own and take care of my children on my own. Since our daughters were born, my husband and I have never eaten a quiet meal together alone, in fact we almost never eat out, we hardly ever see our friends (unless it's during a playdate with our respective kids), we don't go out at night, and we haven't seen a movie or watched a play or attended a recital. In other words, we live the typical existence of a single-income Singaporean couple, with young children. Sigh...

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 31 Mar 2011 12:13 pm

mummy mantras wrote:We can't afford a maid and my mother-in-law has disowned us (it's a long story), so we don't have any external help. I buy groceries on my own, clean the flat on my own and take care of my children on my own. Since our daughters were born, my husband and I have never eaten a quiet meal together alone, in fact we almost never eat out, we hardly ever see our friends (unless it's during a playdate with our respective kids), we don't go out at night, and we haven't seen a movie or watched a play or attended a recital. In other words, we live the typical existence of a single-income Singaporean couple, with young children. Sigh...
You are not alone. Sounds just like my wife & I, although we could have afforded one, we decided to opt out for a number of reasons (we had one for the first two years after our 1st child was born but that's all). However, If you want a MiL let me know, I might pay you to take her. What I want to know is how do you get the MiL to disown you. I've been trying to figure out how to get that to happen for the past 15 years she's been living in my flat! :-k :lol:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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mummy mantras
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Post by mummy mantras » Thu, 31 Mar 2011 12:19 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
mummy mantras wrote:We can't afford a maid and my mother-in-law has disowned us (it's a long story), so we don't have any external help. I buy groceries on my own, clean the flat on my own and take care of my children on my own. Since our daughters were born, my husband and I have never eaten a quiet meal together alone, in fact we almost never eat out, we hardly ever see our friends (unless it's during a playdate with our respective kids), we don't go out at night, and we haven't seen a movie or watched a play or attended a recital. In other words, we live the typical existence of a single-income Singaporean couple, with young children. Sigh...
You are not alone. Sounds just like my wife & I. However, If you want a MiL let me know. What I want to know is how do you get the MiL to disown you. I've been trying to figure out how to get that to happen for the past 15 years she's been living in my flat! :-k :lol:
Let's just say that if it wasn't so tragic, it would actually be funny! It's a story worthy of a bad Channel 8 soap opera... :lol:

I think my posting on one of the forum threads covering the treatment of maids in Singapore actually provides a brief summary of what happened... If you're still curious, you could go look for it. :D

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Post by jennys » Thu, 31 Mar 2011 8:10 pm

don't get a maid, your kids wont recognise you

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Post by keating19 » Fri, 01 Apr 2011 8:29 am

Thank you, thank you for all of your sincere replies. This is exactly the type of input I was hoping for. Although the thought of someone else living in our home feels very strange for me, it sounds like going that way is what would help us get the most out of our time there. Especially since some of the support/resources we have here in the states are not the same in Singapore. We have had a crazy couple of years... my husband has been traveling quite a bit with work as well as going to grad school and just this fall we had a second child. We are really hoping our two years in Singapore will give us the chance to slow down and spend some more time together as both a couple and as a family. Seems like having a maid will really help us to do that. Thank you again for all of your replies!

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Post by BigSis » Fri, 01 Apr 2011 9:53 am

We've never had a maid here, mainly for the privacy thing, but also because being the parent who wasn't working, it just seemed a bit unnecessary for me to employ someone full-time to do what I was perfectly capable of doing. Plus, I really don't think that our house would need someone there 24/7 - cleaning/laundry takes an hour or two each day and that's it. I'm sure a maid would have been bored out of her skull working for us.

Our children were 3 and 5 when we got here so not tiny, tiny children - the supermarket was a 5-10 minute walk or there was a bigger one that we could get a bus to and get a taxi home (if it was too hot to walk...which it often is!) and then some of the supermarkets introduced home delivery which helped (it's not a brilliant service though). Then they went to school, half day at first and then full day and that made a difference because I didn't need to take them shopping with me or anywhere like that very often after that.

However, I couldn't work because of the no maid issue, so if you're considering working, then I think you would probably have to have one (either that or a very good and reliable babysitter which are hard to find here).

Having a maid to babysit would have been nice, but we got by using a lady who was Singaporean and only charged $10 per hour. There are agencies which will do it (google babysitter Singapore) but they're more expensive, although if you're only talking about once or twice per month it might not be too much of an expense.


But basically I'd say wait until you arrive and meet some people who have maids and see if you think you could live with one.

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