Maid Issues Parenting

Mother, Maid and Child Relationship

Domestic HelperIn a shopping mall, a glamorous mother walks around, impeccably dressed, every strand of her hair is in place, every crease in her dress is perfectly aligned, with full make-up, lipstick, high heels, branded bag and so on. Walking behind her is a huffing and puffing maid struggling to push the stroller while carrying a diaper bag as well as shopping bags.

Oh well, this is a common sight in Singapore. There is no right or wrong with that.

Working mothers nowadays are so lucky to have a live-in maid who does all the daily chores including general housekeeping, cooking and taking care of children for them. Meanwhile, they only focus on important tasks such as character shaping, manners, education, enrichment etc. Even a stay-at-home mother would employ a maid to help her out and lessen her burden.

Without knowing it, we may become reliant on them. Our child may even develop a special bonding with our maid. Most of the maids that I see nowadays are more experienced, smarter and neater. In some of the extreme cases, they can even fit into a mother’s shoes. This situation really troubles me, and I’m doing my best to avoid it.

On the weekdays, I’ll wake up half an hour earlier so that I have time to feed Edison before I set off to work. Dinner time is when I enjoy my meal with my husband and parents-in-law. My maid will feed Edison in the garden while we dine in the dining area. At night, I’ll play with him for a while, and then we proceed with our reading and flashcards practice before we crash into bed (together).

During the weekends, I’ll do all the motherhood tasks by myself – including bathing, feeding, cooking a meal for Edison, cleaning his poo, keeping his toys etc. My maid can concentrate in doing housekeeping and laundries. My reason is simple – I don’t want to slip into laziness and overly dependant on my maid to take care of Edison.

When we go out, 80% of the time, we will bring our maid along. Of course, it’s easier to have an extra pair of hands to carry the diaper bag or pushing the stroller. Sometimes, we prefer to leave her at home so that we can have some private family times together. It maybe tiring and frustrating at times (without a maid), but we are willing to experience the joys and pains of parenting.

Mother-maid-child is a very unique relationship that we must always handle with great care.

Mommies, what are your thoughts on this mother-maid-child relationship? Do you have any experience that you want to share?


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  • mico

    for me, maid is to assist in housework, childcare still belongs to the mother. Im proud to say, im a very hands-on mother even with maid around. cos i dun feel right if my child cling to my maid instead of to me. but sometimes when im angry bcos of my little missy’s mischevious.. she will go to maid for console. so we sometimes act bad/good guy at home while hubby not around. else hubby will be the person she go to for some comfort.

    I dun even bring my maid out during our outing. heee. cos we dun like to have maid busy things while we play not nice for her too. so we do it all on our own.and maid can rest while we go out.

    but i think i’ll need more help from my maid when my second bb least for some time, anyway little missy is 2 plus now, more independent also

    • Emily

      Hi Mico,
      I don’t like it too if my son is too clingy to my maid. No matter what, the maid will leave us one day. I don’t want to get into any trouble after she left. So, I still need to be hands-on.

      I bring my maid out so that she can “enjoy” her weekend with us. Otherwise, she will be super bored being at home 24/7. And sometimes, she also needs to buy her own personal stuff. With her around, I can enjoy my meal with peace with my husband. Otherwise, I can’t even eat properly!

      I agree, when your #2 comes along, you will need more help from the maid. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  • Catherine

    Hi Emily,
    Mum will always be Mum. They will be clingy to their caretaker at times, that’s perfectly normal for a human to develop some kind of feelings towards someone they are with often. Of course, at that point of time u won’t feel good (same for myself) when u see your child seem more attached to someone else except yourself. But I believe ultimately they still love their Mummy, no matter what. We spent the most crucial initial 10mths with them, body to body, heart to heart. Remember? 🙂
    I don’t think there’s any wrong in getting an extra helper to help us cope with the demanding job of taking care of our kid and household chores. Why tire yourself when u can get help? Like u mentioned, you try to make an effort to hands-on in taking care of your kid whenever u are at home, then I think that’s even better! You actually know the importance of bonding with your child. If I can afford a maid in future, I would too.

    • Jessica Liew

      Actually I may not agree with that statement. I grew up with my maid ever since I could remember since I am from a dual-income family where both parents work long hours. My maid was the one who fed me, bathed me, calmed me down after being caned (and even now I adopt her method to soothe myself when I’ve got uncontrollable anger / sadness issues) and I really did love her more than my mom.

      Can I just make a contrast? My maid wouldn’t mind at all plaiting my long hair when I went to Kindergarten but my mother needed her ‘beauty sleep’ so she chopped my waist-length hair off heartlessly. To a vain 6 year old? That’s murder. Whenever it was picture taking, I always sat in my maid’s lap. Whenever it was Mother’s Day I took more effort to make my maid’s gift that little bit more special. Even though she did discipline me (more than my mother did in fact) I still loved my maid even more. She left when I was six though and we’ve got a new maid. (whom I also see as my mother now!)

      It’s quite sad even for me that I can’t bring myself to love my mom at all. I just see her as my brother’s mother and the buyer of groceries which honestly my maid does better. (She became a stay-home mother after the youngest child (of 3) became 6 and honestly she’s only really caring for him, me and my brother are pretty neglected but we love our maids a lot. I became really aware about this when my mother kept complaining that she couldn’t put her own child to sleep but my maid could. It is quite pitiable when a baby in the comfort of a maid’s presence falls asleep so swiftly but cannot in the presence of his very own mother.

      Somehow with my maid I can just hang around her while she’s stir-frying dinner or peeling potatoes and just chat for that two hours but whenever my mom initiates going for breakfast one-to-one I cannot help but to fear the immense awkwardness that will descend upon us.

      Well, as the oldest sibling of three maybe its inevitable that I’ve grown up with the notion that my maid is my maternal figure and that my ‘mother’ is nothing but a personification of ‘naggerism’. At least my youngest brother’s got a real mom now.

      Moms really shouldn’t delude themselves to believe that the simple act of breast-feeding which releases ‘bonding hormones’ really builds a relationship stronger than the language of love the maid spoke to the child and the child’s memories, imprinted with years of “Aunty and Me” adventures.

    • Emily

      Dear Jessica,
      Thanks for sharing such a long and wonderful growing up experiences of yours. I enjoyed reading it and feel so refreshing to hear from the other side of the perspective. I’m really glad to hear that you grew up with such a wonderful helper. 🙂 Take care and God bless.

  • Karen

    Hi Emily,

    Just to share my experience.

    I was looked after by a Philippine helper since I was born as my parents were always very busy at work. There were times when I didn’t even get to talk to them during the weekdays. Thus, I was very close to the helper & I have to admit that 16 years since we parted, I still miss her. Of course I love my parents, however, a part of me felt sad as I didn’t have much bonding time with them during my childhood years.

    Now that I’m a working mother with a 14 month old baby and had engaged a stay-in helper (for past 1 year +). I’m determine to be involved in as much in my son’s upbringing as I can. I’ve switched to working part time and the helper’s main responsibility is to help out with housework. She’ll help to feed my son only when I’m really in a rush or stand in to play with him while I take a bath. On my off days, I’ll go out with my son alone for some mother-son time. My son adores my helper (she’s very good at playing with toddlers) and is attached to me (since we spend most time doing things together and I take care of his needs). To me, this is the perfect balance in a maid-mother-child relationship. It’s a win-win situation. My helper has less work to do (mainly housework & is always free in the afternoon) while I’m busy bonding with my son.

  • Kym

    When my #1 was born, I was not hands-on at all. I have a bad back, plus, I’m just not maternal. The maternal instincts in me just never oozed out like alot of the mothers that I know. We bring our maid out with us all the time, and treat her as part of the family. As such, we also have a very good relationship with our live-in maid.

    My daughter really likes her too, so when my husband and I have to go out, we feel rest assured with leaving our daughter with our maid. At times, I would question myself.. couldn’t I do more. But, no I couldn’t. Maternal instincts were not my core competency.. so, that was that. Needless to say, my daughter was my attached to my maid, but having said that, she was attached to my husband and I too. but because we treated our maid as part of the family, our daughter did so too.

    Then, my #2 came along, and maybe that transformed me. I still don’t do all the menial labour because I can’t. I don’t really think that anything has changed on my end, but for sure, for my daughter, she sticks to me like a leech, despite being so close to my maid. She knows that I am Mummy. So does my son. My daughter still likes my maid, but she has a preference now. I would actually be very upset if she had just decided to “chuck” the maid for good, because that is not the core values that I wish to impart to her.

    So, the purpose of this post, is really to tell all the mothers out there who rely heavily on maids, or feel guilty for not spending enough time with their kids, or don’t feel as maternal as they think they should.. is that, the earth is round just like how our children will be our children. Whether we rely on the maid or not, at the end of the day, when we tell our kids “I love you”, in the kind and gentle mummy voice that we use, that is something that cannot be substituted with a live-in helper.

    Motherhood is not a rat race where we compete who breastfeeds longer, who sleeps with their kids, who flash cards at their children. It is doing to the best of our ability, whatever that may be, to provide for our children.

    • Emily

      Hi Kym, Karen and Catherine,
      Thanks for sharing your views on this topic.

      Kym – I strongly agree that motherhood is not a rat race! There is no good, better or best mother in the world. All of us are trying our very best to provide to our children. We all love our children more than our own lives. I’m glad to hear that you have such a good helper than you can trust, and the fact that she is like a family member to you.

      Karen – Since the day I was born, I was taken care by my mother. She is a housewife, and my dad couldn’t afford to hire a helper for her. She managed the household and took care of 3 children by herself. I can imagine how stressful were her motherhood days. After I became a mother, I appreciate her even more. I’m also very close to her. Now, being a working mother with a maid, I try to find a balance between us. I want to be hands-on on all motherhood tasks, at the same time, I can still find some ME time.

      Catherine – My husband always say that too – let the maid do it, why tire yourself! He wants me to rest over the weekend after a long week at work. But I choose to get busy with all the motherhood chores. Then come Sunday night, I complained about being tired again. Hehehe! I’m a strange person!

  • Hameeta

    Hi just feel as mothers you should do the motherly chores such as showering the child, feed and spend time with your child. My niece cling so much to the helper that when the helper left, she was distraught. She cried. This happened because she spent most of the time with helper. She even slept in the same room with her. Sad to say,as mothers plead understand ur role here and your felper’s role.