Living Without A Helper – Pros and Cons

It’s official now that we’re NOT going to hire a domestic helper. Some of you might be aware that our Indon helper left four months ago. After her departure, we tried to look for a replacement but we failed to find a suitable candidate.

The Husband and I tried very hard to keep the house from falling apart. I’m very appreciative to my parents-in-law who help us tremendously in taking care of Little Edison while we’re at work. It was tough initially, but as time goes by, everything has fallen into a routine beautifully. And now, we really don’t want to go through the hassle of managing a new helper again.

A few readers wrote to me and asked for advice on maid issues. This prompts me to write this post about the pros and cons of hiring a domestic helper. This is my two cents worth…


1. I save A LOT of money every month.

The helper’s salary and levy sum up to about $600 every month. There is another $300 – $400 for her food and expenses. Total is about $1000 savings per month! Imagine the amount of money you can save in one year. Well, I have my own investment plan now (will blog about it when the time is ripe).

2. I have peace of mind.

I don’t have to install CCTV in my house, worry about theft, runaway maid, child abuse etc. This is priceless.

3. I got my privacy back.

I can shower with the door open. I can leave my valuables everywhere at home.

4. Closer bonding with our children.

5. Kids are well-behaved without a helper.

I’m not sure if this applies to all children but it’s obviously TRUE for Little Edison. I rarely have to raise my voice now. In fact, I couldn’t even remember when the last time I did it.

6. No argument among family members due to difference in opinion pertaining to the helper’s duties, house rules and regulations.

7. Less damages at home.

I lost track on how many broken glasses, door stoppers, scratches on our parquet flooring etc contributed by our helpers.


1. I have LESS me-time now.

You should have noticed the reduction in frequency of my blog posting now. The sad truth is that I’ve rejected several media invites and advertorials which I very much like to participate due to time constraints.

2. I get very irritable with house chores sometimes.

I’ll rant like a kid when the toilet is dirty. I’ll get very irritable when the floor is dusty. But at the end of the day, I still have to clean them.

3. Running after our children in supermarket is UNGLAM.

Going out without a helper on weekends can be a hassle. No one to push the stroller, run after the kid OR carry the shopping bags now.

4. The house is not as clean as before.

That is all I have in mind now. I just have to “enjoy” doing my house works now.


Maidless Week 3

Our helper has gone for three weeks now. V wasn’t satisfied with her performance so we transferred her back to our maid agency. I start to get used to waking up without a cup of piping hot coffee, breakfast won’t be ready for me and my bed won’t be made up either. But it’s okay.

V and I are trying very hard to keep the house from falling apart. Okay, it’s not really that bad actually. I don’t have any talent in cooking but I do have some domestic talent to keep my house spick and span.

Besides keeping our routines going, we have to juggle our full-time jobs, manage all house chores and take care of Little Edison. It’s no walk in the park but it’s definitely not mission impossible that I’ve initially thought.

Thankfully, my parents-in-law are able to take care of Little Edison without a helper. I’m really very grateful to them. Without a helper, everyone does their part to keep the house tidy. Little Edison will ultimately learn to be more independent and less reliable on others to do certain tasks for him.

Amazingly, without a helper, there is no argument at home. Sometimes, I quarrelled with V over issues pertaining to the helper. V also often quarelled with his father because of the helper. Now, I don’t hear that anymore. This is really something that I can enjoy now – PEACE at home!

Last but not least, our Little Edison has been such a good boy after the helper left. Strangely, he finishes his meals and milk most of the time. He no longer run all over the house to be fed. I clean him, make breakfast for him and drive him to school every morning. I feed him dinner and shower him every evening. I read story books and play games with him every night. I truly enjoy these bonding times.

Three weeks have passed. I’m confident that it’s still manageable without a helper at home. We just have to work fast, manage our time and close one eye on the mess in the house (if we’re really too busy to clean up!).

At this point of time, we’re still undecided whether to hire a helper again. Or maybe just a part-time helper?


Conversation with My Neighbour

At the playground yesterday morning, I met my neighbour who is staying on the tenth floor. She is a very nice lady. Her daughter, Wen is one year younger than Little Edison and they enjoy playing together at the playground.

While the two kiddos are playing, we sat down and had a good chat. It’s been a few months since we last met. She used to be in the same situation like me – we’re both working and we send our children and helpers to our mother-in-law’s place every morning. Both our helpers are from Indonesia too.

However, her situation has changed three months ago. Her Indonesian helper has left. Her diabetic father-in-law has been very sick and her mother-in-law couldn’t help to take care of her daughter anymore.

So, she employed a Filipina helper to take care of her daughter at her own place. In other words, she is leaving her daughter is the care of the helper while she and her husband go to work in the morning. There is no one else at home during the day, except the helper.

Thankfully, her Filipina helper is able to take care of her daughter independently. She is also able to do housekeeping, washing and ironing while her girl is napping. She can even cook lunch for her girl. She will turn on the TV for the girl while she cooks in the kitchen. In the evening, she will prepare the food for dinner. When my neighbour reaches home at 6pm, she will take over her daughter while her helper cooks the dinner. How wonderful!

Anyway, I do find that girls are generally gentler and a little tamer than the boys – making them easier to take care of. [Correct me, if I’m wrong.] I doubt Little Edison will sit in the hall and watch TV on his own when the helper is cooking. Most likely, he will mess up the kitchen cabinet and our helper will run amok. I’m serious.


“If you have a domestic helper, you’ll have headache. But if you don’t have a domestic helper, you’ll end up with handache and backache.” That’s how I look at it. Obviously, I rather have headache than backache. So, I choose to live with the teeny-weeny problems of hiring a domestic helper.

As a matter of fact, my biggest headache does not lie with our helper BUT with Daddy V. We often argue about how we should manage our helper. He thinks that I’m too lenient and I think that he’s overly demanding. You get the picture?

We’re currently with our 2nd helper (her name is Pin). She has been with us for 8 months now. I would say that she is a hardworking and honest worker. I would give her a B+ in most categories. The only flaw is her speed; she is not as fast as my first helper – Niti.

We were very lucky to get Niti (our first helper) to work for us for two years. She’s really amazing – efficient, smart and highly alert. She has all the qualities that I look for. But now, we know that we can’t compare the two of them as they’re completely different individuals.

Pin has been struggling to keep up with her workloads but she never give up. It’s the same amount of workloads that Niti used to do actually. To improve her performance, I feel that we should reduce some of her workloads. If we continue to stress her, she may eventually give up. Most importantly, I want her to feel happy working with us and not overly-stressed.

Daddy V has a totally different thinking. He refuses to lighten her workloads and he feels that we should continue to motivate pressure her to work faster. Otherwise, she will potentially become lazy. If she is unable to complete her works, she’ll have to sacrifice her own rest time. “Learn the hard way”, that’s what he always said.

Stress will only create adverse effects because she doesn’t know how to handle it. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t listen to me.

Be a Responsible Employer

I was saddened by the news of yet another maid abuse case in Malaysia few days ago. In the recent case, a couple abused their Indonesian maid with a hot iron and scalding water. The employer is also accused of repeatedly raping the maid, with his wife watching. I can’t help but to question what is in the mind of this couple. Are they insane or overly-stressed?

Last year, the Indonesian government has barred domestic workers from going to Malaysia after a series of mistreatment and abuse cases. This causes a shortage of domestic workers in Malaysia. Families who rely on Indonesian maids will have to look for alternatives from neighboring countries.

I always think that if an employer is not satisfied with her maid, he/she should repatriate her or transfer her back to the agent and they should NEVER resort to violence. After all, we’re all human beings that deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. The maids should not be treated in an unjust and cruel way, no matter what.

Being an employer myself, I always treat my maid with respect. In my opinion, there are five basic elements that we should provide to our maids – respect, privacy, sleep, food and salary. With a proper management, we can definitely enjoy their services rather than being stuck in a power-struggle every day. Ultimately, finding a perfect maid is not just about luck.


Maids deserve to be treated fairly. If we have children at home, we are also setting a good example to them when we treat our maids with respect. This in turns bring better results in their work attitude.


We value our privacy, so do our maids. I don’t pry into her personal affairs and I don’t check her belongings. I don’t think there is a need to do so, unless we have evidence of her stealing or cheating.


A well-rested maid is certainly more productive. As much as I can, I allow my maid to sleep at least 8 hours a day and have short breaks during the day.

Treat our maids with care and respect, they will find it a delight to work for us. Ultimately, being able to trust them is our biggest peace of mind. It’s a win-win situation after all.