Maid Issues

Maid Issues – Our Lessons Learnt

Domestic HelperI know this day will come sooner or later. It has been 1 year and 8 months, and finally we found some problems with her that left us wondering if we can still keep her for another 4 more months. Yes, I’m talking about our Indon maid.

For the past 1 year and 8 months, her work performance has been good. Little Edison likes her too, and she is almost indispensable to us. She keeps our house clean and organized, she struggles to feed our fussy eater son without complaining, she even teaches him to read and write. She never wakes up late or pretend sick. In general, she is very hard working.

However, we noticed that her attitude starts to deteriorate recently. When my husband scolded her over her mistakes, she showed us her ‘black face’. She prefers to do things on her own, rather than following our instructions. The worst incident just happened two days ago when Edison had a fall, partly due to her negligence. My husband was terribly mad.

She is our first maid. We don’t have any prior experience on how to handle a maid. During this 1 year and 8 months, we quarreled over maid issues and we began to realize what we have done wrong. Lessons learnt, and we’re not going to repeat them on our second maid.

Here are some of the lessons that we’ve learnt, and I would like to share with my readers here.

1. Don’t be too nice to her
I admit that I’m too nice to her. When I realize that my compassion doesn’t pay off, I was so disappointed. As long as we give her what she deserves, never treat her with extra kindness. When she hardens her heart, she will not remember our kindness. Reality is harsh, we have to accept it.

2. Never treat her like a family member
I had the wrong perception. I used to think that if we treat her like our family member, she will treat us the same way too. I realized that I was so wrong. No matter how we treat her, she is still an outsider. We should treat her like our employee (not our family).

3. Work Schedule and Rules & Regulations on the first day
It is of utmost importance that we spell out her work schedule and rules and regulations on her first day of work. Orientate her, train her and enforce all the regulations. If she has no off-days, make sure that she is aware and agreeable to it.

4. Limit her exposure to other maids
Believe it or not, once she has a chance to mingle with other maids, she is susceptible to negative influences from them. They will start to compare their own employers and even gossip about them.

The above may not apply to all maids but at least 95% of them. I’ll probably visit my maid agency this month and discuss the issue with my agent. She will definitely share with me some insightful tips.

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  • Anzel

    I agree with your sharing. I had the same feeling after having a maid for 4 years. If I ever employ one again, this will be the way I will adopt.

  • Rosamund

    I agree with your points totally. I have a maid who wants to go back to Indo after working with for 1yr 8mth. Treated her so well but once she say she wants to leave, her heart will be harden.

    • Emily

      Hi Rosamund,
      I never intend to renew my current maid’s contract, EVEN if she wants to stay. I guess 2 years is just enough. They will start to have attitude problems once the contract is renewed.

  • Carrie

    Every maid has the same attitude. When they first come to work, everything is so perfect – they nv complain. After that , their true self come out- lazy, never listen to us, say ‘yes’ but nv do it. I had once a philipino maid. She came and we treated her nice. But she brought a mobile phone (from her country) to communicate with her own family. 3 months later, she said her husband is hospitalised and had to quit her maid job. We had no choice, what if we disagree and she may do some harm to our baby ? So We bought her air ticket and stopped her contract. She never bother to call us back since then. Not even a thank you.

    • Emily

      Hi Carrie,
      Many people told me that once they want to go back, they will forget about our kindness. On the other hand, we also don’t bother to contact them. And every maid has their set of problems. Whether they can work or not, we have to tolerate certain level of attitude problem. But the choice is always on our hand – whether we can to continue with the employment, transfer them out or just send them home.

  • Agnes

    I employed 3 Indonesian Maids before. My 1st maid employed in 1996 was lazy but she was quite obedient sometimes. I kept her for 4 years. My 2nd maid was relatively ok as well. Perhaps bangladeshi workers started to flood Singapore around year 2000.

    The 3rd “Lilis Sunartin” was the worst of all. I employed in 2009. She couldnt understand english, I have to speak malay to her most of the time, she was extremely unconforming, disrespectful toward employer, defiant and argumentative. You may wonder why I kept her so long. It was because of my baby. She was a mother of 2 teenage children although only 29. I did learned from her some trick to handle babies. I tolerated her and spied on her since her employment. The biggest mistake I made was to listen to my hubby – he said CCTV not required.

    My hubby wanted her to learn english, she started dating bangala workers when she was able to communicate a little. She used my handphone to sms to these foreign workers and did not erased the sms. We gave her chance to repent and forgave her having bangala boyfriends. Agent advised me to send her back immediately but we thought we could handle her.

    She did not repent and got worst. She brought in mutliple bangala workers and attempt to have sex in my house while my baby girl was watching their performance.

    She sneaked out of my house while I was out to gossips with other maids and told my neighbours how bad we treated her etc so my neighbours kept a distant from us. Because, she wanted to bring the workers to my house. She lied telling me that she wanted to call back Indonesia but she contacted bangala workers instead. There were also times I did spot check while she was having her rendevous, she tripped and fell with my baby into the drains.

    Finally, My hubby spotted her personal hand phone (she bought herself to call the bangalas) and her diaries with all her bangala contact lists. One of the neighbours also testified the workers trespassed my house. That was how the whole episode came to an end.

    We reported to the police and filed a complaint to MOM. She was placed under a administrative ban due to multiple trespass, child abuse and sexual soliciting. You can imagine how outrages this maid can be despite my hubby is a senior police IO.

    I urged all employers, please install a CCTV which can be viewed through your Iphone. Never Never Never treat a maid too well, never trust them I am not saying all but many of the INDONESIANS and some filipinas HAVE NO “MORAL VALUES”.

    I have changed to a myanmar maid at the moment. Hope she is more evolved and spiritual. Being a buddhist herself, I pray she may impose moral restriction on herself.

    Nov 2011

    • Emily

      Hi Agnes,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and advise with all of us. I hope your Myanmar maid will be alright. So far, I’ve seen a few of them and they all seem to be very obedient. Good luck to you. 🙂

  • PC

    I agree with Agnes. I had 2 maids, one Philip & 1 Indo. Both are hopeless. I felt having a maids can drive you crazy, its a kind of mental torture. You get angry everyday, blood pressure goes high, cant concentrate at work.

    I used to think that we are all human beings. As long as i treat my maid well, she will do the same back to me. But i am totally wrong. I gave them angbao and presents on special occassions. When i go shopping, i will also buy snacks for them. But what do i get in the end? All kinds of nonsense.

    Basically majority of the maids have the following problems:
    1. Lie
    2. Lazy
    3. Good at pretending
    4. Steal (if you are lucky, it could be just food and magazines, otherwise it would be valuable things or money)
    5. Running out of the house leaving your kid alone at home
    6. Mistreat or abuse your kids (if you are lucky, it could be just didnt feed your kid because of being lazy to do so, otherwise more serious would be beating your kid)
    7. No common sense
    8. Poor hygiene (it could be just didnt do cleaning, more serious would be like mine that don’t wash her clothes, panties & bra at all)
    9. Talking or sms on the phone
    10. Talking back
    11. Refuse to obey from time to time
    12. Gossip

    Of course there are some with more serious problems.

    Agnes is very right. They have no moral values.

  • Sweety


    I agree with you people I hired a Myanmar maid 1 week ago.The first day she came to the house she was ok.Next day she started complaining the after eating the home cooked food she is having stomach pain and want to talk to the agent and she spoke to the agent,the agent said it will take some time for her to get adjusted with the food.She tells one thing to me and another thing to the agent.
    I told her if every day you are getting stomach pain that means she has some problem and I told her i bring her to see doctor she didnt want to go and see doctor .She started comparing me with other employers and cry everyday at home I was angry and asked her what is her problem she says that she needs to sit with us and eat she needed to treat her as a family memeber, she dont want to wear long pants and high neck tee shirts to the agent she says that she is not getting enough food infact she eats atleast 6 times a day excluding snacks and fruits .She had a chance to talk with some one and started saying she want to go back to the agent we told her once we get a replacement she can go back dont know whom she spoke today she started threatening me saying that if I dont send her that moment she will jump out of the window. I have a small baby at home so cannot send u immediately she lifts finger and talk she shouts and inorder to make me angry she told me you slap think in case if if anger if I loose my temper ,sp that she can complain that the employer beat her up.They leave thier families and come here as they donot have bonding to thier family we cannot expect them to have bonding with us. There are many rules that states that the employer must take care of the maid ,treat them very nice this that and all but I dont know wether the same thing is told to the maid.Today as I could not take the stress we called the agent the agent took her back.We ended up paying up thousands of dollars to the agent and the agent says u transfer her as she has to pay 6 months loan.The surprisng thing is as long as the maid is under our name till she gets transfferred we have to pay her salary as well as levy.As the maids are aware that not even a single pie go from thier pocket and even if we cancel the permit thwe employer need to pay to goback to thier country I dont know what kind of justice is this

  • Sarah

    I agree with yr sharing 100%.

    For d past few mths, I lived wt my sis who has a Filipina maid.
    She is good wt d 2 boys but lousy wt hsework

    I made a grave mistake by being too nice n now issues happen.

    D maid copies watever I do or I buy…..she makes me hate her coz I nid to hide wat I bought n wat I eat.

    She has $ problem at home in Phillipines yet she bought heels, underwears like us n etc.

    My concern is if she still continue to have wat v have, she wont have d $ to do n who knows she may resort to stealing.

    I lost 2 items recently n I cant accuse her taking n moreover if she really takes, she can keep wt her mom in law, who is oso a maid elsewhr.

    I notice watever thgs I have or wear, she’ll create any xcuses juz to look at them or touch.

    I juz cant accept tis kind of attitude.

  • Grace

    Agree 100%! My heart goes out for maids, try to treat them decently but most are ungrateful and shortsighted.
    Instead of establishing good relationship with a concerned employer, they do the opposite.

    Good maids of long ago are very few if at all there are still some left.

  • Apricot

    Exactly my sentiments – all the posts. Maids – short-sighted, ungrateful, complaining and easily influenced.
    Due to all the support given to them by MOM, activists, NGOs etc… they become complacent quickly and started to get dissatisfied very fast. Not happy or satisfied with their blessings ie a good paying job, kind and caring employer, lots of rest days. Give an inch want a yard, give a yard, want a mile, give a mile, want the moon. Never ending.

  • gwen

    Thanks for all the information…I have 2 maids at home…from Indonesian. One work with me for 5years and just renewed her contract. The other work about 9 mths. The old experience one so far acceptable…except that she want to control the new one. I have CCTV at home and watch her daily… have to close one eye cause she take care of my grand daughter (9mths) well.