Our new helper, Pin, has been with us for two months now. So far, she has been very hardworking (although I find her a bit slow). Daddy V commented that she is not careful enough when she is doing her work. True, she accidentally broke the door stopper when she was mopping the floor. True, she dropped a bamboo pole onto the first floor carpark when she was hanging her clothes outside the kitchen. Luckily, the pole landed on the grass without hurting anyone. We gave her a very serious warning about this incident.
True, she forgot to turn off the light in the study room before she went to bed. Lastly, she hanged wet clothes that were still dripping outside the kitchen. The angry Filipina maid from the 6th floor made a complaint to the security guard. In the end, she got a scolding from Daddy V. I warned her that all the maids in this condo are very fierce – they know how to make complaints to the security guards and management office.
Well, is this bad enough? It all happened during her first month of work. By the second month, her work performance has gradually improved. When she just came onboard, she was very quiet, shy and often had her head lowered. Now, she is more outspoken and she is able to converse with us in simple English. Little Edison also picked up some Malay words from her.
She is very good in ironing and folding clothes. This is obviously a plus point for her as I really hate ironing. She is very patient in dealing with Little Edison’s tantrums as well as feeding him. I keep telling her that she must build up the rapport with Little Edison so that he will co-operate with her. Otherwise, her work will be very difficult. I can see that she is trying her best to improve in this area.
On the flip side, Little Edison doesn’t like her. He often bullies her – beats her, pushes her away and pulls her hair. He even attempts to bite her. It was really bad, I know. I warned him about his bad behaviors and I even spanked him. It was quite a surprise to me because he has never treated Niti (our ex-helper) in this manner. Daddy V pointed out that there may be something that we are not aware of, and our son is still unable to express his thoughts to us verbally. We need to monitor the helper closely now.
Pin is a Muslim. She can handle pork, but she can’t eat them. She asked our permission to allow her to do prayers in her room at night. We respect her religion and therefore, we allow her to do her prayers. However, we told her that we do not allow fasting as it will affect her work. She understands it, as this is clearly stated in her work contract.
I encourage her to write letters to her parents in Indonesia. I know nothing about her family background, but I have a feeling that she is not close to her family. She doesn’t want to write letters to them despite constant encouragement from me. She rarely talks about her family members. Our ex-helper, Niti, used to write letters to her mother every month. She would share with me updates about her family every time she received letters from them.
All in all, managing a helper is not easy at all. It’s not only about managing her work, but managing the relationships, welfare, safety and discipline of the helper. Every family member has different expectation towards her. When she is faced with conflicting instructions, how should she react? When she is unhappy with her work, who should she confront? And the list goes on.
The entry of a foreign helper into the family may complicate the family dynamics. It is, therefore, important to have a set of house rules for the helper. Conversation with the helper has to be done tactfully in order not to hurt each other’s feelings. We all learnt our lessons when we hired our first helper two years ago. With some experiences now, we hope that we can handle our second helper more effectively.
Will blog about my house rules next week. Hopefully, it can provide some guidance to new parents who have just employed foreign helpers.