CANDID TALK

what we don't say out loud.

…….IN THE HANDS OF A STRANGER

| 1 Comment

HouseHelpAs a mother I feel a grip of fear every time I leave our house and child in the care of others not very well known to us. If my husband and I happen to travel I constantly call home to check on my child every now and then; truth be told am full of fear of the unknown. I have heard of horror stories happen to children under the care of strangers be it your nanny, house keeper, school, playground, step parents , sometimes distance and strangely close relatives.

Well I have been besides my thoughts in the past few weeks watching also how a trusted Nanny or house keeper shows no remorse or concern for wastage. The pain of providing for the family is not something in curved in their system, i  stand corrected though I have not found anyone as such since the first one i employed. Sometimes the fridge is stuffed with a week’s untouched food as newly cooked food quickly disappear .If as a woman you’re not keen with the house hold it means the spending on food items may double or triple due to wastage which may tickle down eventually to breakage/damage of other items in the house too.In my opinion no one feels the pinch of protecting the family more than the woman of the house. We all need extra help around the house while raising a family and as a woman much will be off loaded in terms of house chores; in short we cannot live without help of some sort. While determining to hire a house help the below tips may help identify a reliable one and how to deal with them during their stay:

  1. Use a reliable agent, agency or referral

A majority of house helps are provided through numerous agents, agencies or an independent referral source. Naturally some agencies or referrals are more reliable and reputable than others. Agents or agencies should be able to guarantee each house help that they provide.

Usually when a serious incident occurs some agents feign ignorance. There have even been cases of agents conniving with house helps to rob or steal from their employers. A proper agent or agency will usually ensure that both clients and employees are properly vetted.

  1. Insist on referees

Almost all house helps I have come across feign ignorance about their previous places of employment. They usually do this to protect their reputations and to prevent employers from knowing too much about them.

The sad part about this is that employers know very little about their domestic staff while domestic staff knows everything about their employers. Where you can, insist on references. Usually this discussion should happen with the agent, agency or referral source that has brought the house help.

  1. Take photos

We live a new age. Most people if not everyone has a phone with a camera.

You should always have a picture of any domestic staff that works for you. You can take a picture when they are unaware e.g. simply pretend that you are taking a picture of the kids. When you have taken this picture send it to yourself by email or save it on your computer.  This way you will always have a picture even if your phone gets stolen. You will find that pictures are useful to have in cases where children are kidnapped or valuable property is stolen.

  1. Record important facts

As mentioned previously, your new hire will pretend like they don’t know anything. However over the course of weeks or months they are in your employment, you should be able to pick up their relatives names or places they have lived etc. It is important to record all these little details. While invasion of privacy should not be encouraged, you can also learn a lot about your new hire by going through their phones or personal belongings.

  1. Perform comprehensive medical tests

I know this sound out of line and some may decline to comply but this is highly recommended for families with little children. A lot of house helps come from questionable homes and you really do not know where they have been or what they have been up to. Most medical experts will advise that comprehensive medical tests be performed every 6 months to guarantee the safety of your entire family.

  1. Pay a decent and minimum wage

The absence of labor laws and the requirement that domestic staff be paid a minimum wage has led to many cases of abuse in the world. A lot of domestic staff are unpaid and overworked. He or she will do cooking, cleaning, ironing, taking care of kids and going on errands. Some house helps are even subjected to regular beatings. House helps should not be or are not slaves. They are human beings who offer a service, so pay a fair wage and offer good working conditions, the same way you expect good working conditions from your boss. Also no one can perform optimally doing the same work 24/7. House helps need a break, so offer them regular breaks and take over from them, once in a while.

  1. Be on the look out

Don’t ever believe that a house help is dumb or stupid. A lot of times house helps pretend like they don’t understand the language you speak in the home. Some even act slow deliberately to trick their employers, so they can later catch them unawares. Watch and observe, don’t talk too much around your domestic staff or discuss personal or private details in front of them.

For women with female house helps, try as much as possible to prevent your maid from being alone with your husband. Numerous stories abound of house girls getting pregnant for their boss lady and snatching, the man to become the ‘madam at the top’. These stories you have heard are as real as day.

There are even countless stories of house helps with witchcraft, bringing fetish things into their employer’s homes and doing black magic against them. Some house helps have also been accused of introducing the kids they look after to witchcraft and other sorts of mannerism. Do what you have to do, install Nanny Cameras around the house, catch them unawares by coming home when they are not expecting it, always safeguard the keys of your house or cars and never leave any valuables exposed.

Whatever you do, just make sure you ‘stay alert’.

 

  1. Be fair

My bad experiences with house helps, who worked for us before I got married, made me very wary of domestic staff in general. However I still make a conscious effort to treat her fairly, I feed her well, give her tips occasionally, let her pick what she wants when we go to a restaurant or eatery and I ask her if she’s ok or has any issues.

I’m not going to assume that by me being fair will make it less likely for her to steal or do other negative things, but the fact that she looks after my daughter that she is so fond of her makes it worthwhile. Besides I can live with myself in future, because I know I treated her well. In many cases, most of the house helps employed in homes are minors. Some of them are subjected to hardship and there are so many horror stories of owners of the house being cruel and inhumane to house helps.

Some house helps are sexually abused and molested by the men and constantly verbally and physically abused by the women. You should note that these people look after your children, they bath them, they feed them, clean up after them and play with them. Some house helps are even closer to your children than you are. You really do not want an angry frustrated maltreated hungry house help looking after your child. They are human beings like you but only less fortunate, so be determined to be fair and It is wise to treat them right.

Author: Kate Mwamba

Financial and lifestyle blogger

One Comment

  1. well ,the issue of relationship and the remuneration affects the output of most house helps when all factors are considered. informative piece.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: