I am a working mom and my husband’s job requires him to travel frequently. While we are away from home, we need someone to help care for our two young kids.
I am fortunate that I have a good helper who is (and still) with me for almost 5 years now. We have heard horrible stories about domestic helper abusing their employer’s children. Honestly, I’m afraid that the same thing would happen to my children too. As such, when I first engaged my helper, I got my parents to help “monitor” her performance. It was about a year later that my parents gave me the “green light” that we can leave our kids alone with her at home. Since then, I trust her to take care of my children while we are at work.
I do not allow my kids to call my helper “maid”. I told my children, especially the elder one that she is their auntie and she is there to help me take care of them while daddy and mommy are at work. They have to respect her like they respect us. When they need help from her, they need to say “please”, when she did something for them, they need to say “thank you”, and when they done something wrong, they need to say “sorry”.
My helper does not want off-day so I compensate her with money. When she wants to take time off during weekend, I allow her to without deducting her pay. When she was sick and unable to tend for my children, I took leave to care of them myself and allow her to take “MC”. I remembered when she came back from her home leave last December, she was down with dengue fever and I had to take almost a week leave to take care of my children and cook for her (on top of the 3 weeks leave I’ve taken while she was away). When I go for my recent holiday trip to Hong Kong, I brought her along as a reward for her hard work. She was so happy that she got to meet up with her sister-in-law and cousin who are working there.
I believe the rule of thumb of having harmony with domestic helpers at home is to treat them fairly and respect them. If they are happy and feel that you treat them well, they would be grateful and work hard for you. Isn’t it the same for us when we are working for our employer?
Without her, I don’ think I would be able to concentrate while at work so I’m thankful that I have a good helper at home and my kids are safe in her good hands.