A year and a half ago I finally gave in to my husband, and we hired a live-in maid, because that is what you do in Singapore when you are overwhelmed with housework and have no semblance of a social life. I wrote about this previously on my personal blog when we first got our helper. I truly am thankful that it is quite affordable to have full-time help in Singapore, as it is not in other parts of the world.

Our first helper, I’ll call her C, was quite good. She managed everything I typically did around the house, along with the shopping. Though her cooking was not great, she could manage a recipe. Things that needed to be in the fridge were usually there. There were a bunch of small things being done incorrectly that drove me crazy, but whatever, I didn’t have to do it myself. With a baby in the house, she was a huge help. But she had to leave us.

She told us her son was not being cared for well by her alcoholic parents; she needed to return to the Philippines immediately. We agreed, and found a replacement helper within a week. Then she got EXTREMELY upset that we had found a replacement. It hurts, I suppose, when you have played such an integral role in a family, to have that role replaced quickly (but she asked us to!).

Cue the extreme levels of drama…

To read the rest, please click here to go to Sassy Mama Singapore, who published this piece I wrote.

Jennifer Jasensky is a Dubai resident, United States transplant, former mathematics teacher and dancer/choreographer. She is an outgoing homebody and perpetual idealist whose love of learning knows no bounds. She is most happy enjoying a good book with a plate of kaya toast, runny eggs, and kopi-c peng siew dai, but now that she has moved from
Singapore to Dubai, drinking an iced latte in the ocean is fast becoming her happy place.

3 thoughts on “Maid or No Maid—A First World Problem

  1. This was a very interesting read for me for 2 reasons. On the first hand, we have a helper, but could never do a full-time live-in. I can’t imagine my life now without one, but I am capable. I find the more I do domestically the more I have on my plate and I get agitated easily and my kids are happier when I’m not as frustrated/tired/annoyed. There is more laughter in the house! We went through several terrible ones before getting a good one.
    Secondly I found it interesting from the perspective of an owner of a company with employees. To take on the responsibility that another person and family rely on you for their livelihood is both scary and honorable. That doesn’t leave you without having to deal with the nuances of personality, human resources issues and having empathy for the life and/or money troubles of your employees. When you paid for the dental care for instance…that lesson is a hard one to learn. Once you pay for something like that, 1) they expect it in the future and 2) know they can give you a sob story and you will give them things. I learn to understands that you can’t do things that set precedence and you have to set boundaries but without coming off like a total bitch. Needless to say I give myself a D- on how well I’ve done so far. It’s hard to trust people with your livelihood even though they trust you with theirs. When you like to control your world as I do, it’s stressful, but in the end you have to try and try again because you can’t be everything to everyone. You aren’t perfect. You are human, just as they are. Some are good apples and some are bad and some may be good that turn bad. Just remind yourself there are ones out there who will be the right fit for whatever you need, but it’s like dating…you gotta try all the wrong ones first unfortunately and the bad ones make you jaded and more cautious of the next. Good luck!

    1. I completely hear you. For a time, I needed it and liked it, thought maybe not 100%. I pretty much have to be out of the house all day to be okay with it. I just don’t like sharing a home with someone I employ, living with them 24/7. She has Sundays off, and is out of the house all day, and that is my happiest day of the week. Sigh… I wish I was cool with it.

    2. I completely agree with you. I think I was “more fine” with it when I really needed the help, but now that things are more manageable, it is more stressful to have someone in my home, around all the time.

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