Hello from MaidMatch! This is the first of a series of 3 posts on the topic raising your kids with your housemaids’ assistance.
How you raise your children and manage your nanny are very sensitive topics for lots of people and each of us has a different approach and ethos to how we do it. These articles are designed to support you in the choices you make, so pick and choose the advice that suits you and your home management style and family dynamics.
Firstly how involved do you want your nanny to be involved in bringing up and educating your kids?
You may want them to only help with the practical aspect of childcare like cooking their meals and doing their washing. You may be sharing childcare between you especially if the kids have conflicting schedules. Or you may be looking for your helper to act more like a nanny and have a very active role in raising your children.
Issues frequently arise when there is a disconnect between what we, the employer, expect and what our housemaid expects to do. As employers, we usually know what type of role we want our helper to take, however, this can change over time. Frequently our maid’s expectation and culture will mean they will revert to a different type/standard of child raising than we are used to.
We often hear from employers:
My maid is spoiling our youngest daughter. She can not say no to her and gives her any sweets or biscuits she asks for and does whatever she wants. I am worried she is spoiling her and she is already starting to turn to her when she doesn’t get her own way and I say no.
We’ve got a newborn baby and I was expecting lots of help and assistance from our maid but she’s not interested in the baby and is purposely focusing on cleaning and cooking rather instead. I worried about when I have to go back to work she won’t interact with her.
I have got two boys, an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old, I want them to start taking more responsibility for looking after their stuff but my housemaid is continually packing and carrying their school bags and tidying their room. I have told her a number of times not too but I think she finds it easier or is worried she’s going to get into trouble for not doing it.
We may think that we have communicated clearly what we expect but language barriers and differences in perception can mean that what we meant isn’t understood.
The Way Forward
We find that in most instances your maid wants to make you happy and these problems are down to misunderstanding that can be resolved. It’s often a relief to your maid to have things explained to her – she wants to make you happy and keep her job. If she’s in doubt how to behave or she will naturally revert to the style of upbringing she has experienced herself as a child, or the advice she has received from friends or the style of parenting of her previous.
Decide exactly what you want from your maid
This is not an easy thing to do, you cannot be prepared for every scenario but you can make it clear what you would like to be the “norm” Firstly you need to be clear in your mind what you want, think through your average week and identify how you would like your maid to support you, write it down and then sit her down and let her know that this is how you would like her to behave most weeks unless you inform her otherwise.
- When considering how much involvement you would like from your maid do not forget to include your partner in the discussion so you can take his opinions into consideration and you both agree and do not give your housemaid conflicting messages.
- Write down a weekly schedule of standard things that you would like your maid to do. For example, I would like you to do the bath routine and then I will read the bath time story or arrange a playdate ever Wednesday after school or take them to the park if you haven’t managed to arrange one.
- When you’re sitting down with your housemaid make sure that you approach the conversation with a positive and constructive attitude, compliment and thank her on what she is doing well currently, in addition to providing them with a written schedule as we as discussing them verbally.
When you have had taken the time to speak with your maid you will be able to see clear improvements You may need to sit down with her a number of subsequent times to review the situation and fine-tune certain aspects. There are of course housemaids who have a negative attitude or struggle with the tasks required and you will need to look at these situations in a different manner, however, most housemaids will be happy to be given the opportunity to fully meet their employers’ expectations.