Maid Dos and Don’ts and Maid Horror Stories

Everyday I hear maid horror stories from friends and relations.

My maid ran away after _________ (Fill in the blanks. It can be anything from 1 week to 1 year).

This is the most common of them all. Most of them whose maid ran away are surprised by it. Wouldn’t you be surprised if the maid you have come to trust runs away after a year? I would. So the question is how and when do you learn to trust? I don’t have the answer to that.

Sometimes, I think it is outside negative influences that causes them to run away. The  promise of better things that sometimes do not materialise for these poor girls. Sometimes its the agents using them to recycle and earn more. Sigh. Its so sad isn’t it?

The other thing is the maid advices. The most common ones would be…

  • Don’t allow her to nap or she will get lazy
  • Don’t let her watch tv or she will get lazy
  • Don’t be too nice to her or she will take you for granted

The agents even came up with a list

  • Don’t buy her things too soon or you will spoil her
  • Don’t give her too many of your old clothes or you will spoil her

The list of Don’ts is endless. Its a little bit crazy. It makes it hard to manage to be always on your toes and trying not to be nice to someone in case she takes you for granted.

So perhaps I am making my maid lazy but at the moment she naps when I nap and she has quite a lot of free time because I don’t load her with work from morning till night as advised. She does not cook but she helps me to wash up. So I also cook and serve her meals. Crazy? It does not matter to me. I am happy that there is someone to help me wash up.

To me, she is here to be my housework assistant. She is not here to take over my housework. I am still very much the lady of my house, in charge of my  house, knowing every nook and corner and when things run out etc. Previously I had a part time helper who was quite good. Soon, I became lazy and left a lot of things to her. She cooked and did the housework independantly but although things were easier for me and it gave me more free time, I do not think that it is an ideal situation. It is still better to be the master or mistress of your own home. It is also not a good to be too reliant or dependant on another to look after your own home. Do I sound very idealistic?

I do not give her free access to my closet and my bedroom. She helps me fold my clothes and put them in a basket then I sort the clothes out myself and keep them in the closet myself. She comes to my bedroom only to do specific tasks when told. My bedroom is still our private place. No one should walk in and out of it whenever they like even if it is to do work.

She doesn’t help with the children. They are my children. Thats it. The sentence “They are my children” says it all. I am their mother and I am the one who is responsible to take care of their needs like feeding, bathing etc. If the maid is free or if I am busy, I may ask her to sit with them for a while but she does not handle the children. I also asked her to refrain from wearing their shoes etc because they must do these things for themselves. I hate seeing maids running around after children carrying their stuff and fussing over them. Once I saw a maid pushing a boy in a stroller fussing over him and feeding him buns in a bookshop. The boy is older than my 4 year old. That kind of thing is a No No for me. We ditched our strollers as soon as they could walk and we don’t feed them to keep them quiet. So, no, the maid is not here to be my kid’s assistant. She is my household assistant.

When she is free I give her a magazine to read to pass her time. Everyone needs a little recreation and rest. I do not worry that she will become lazy. (Ok, maybe I do worry a bit after hearing all the advise but I can’t worry about everything. From running away to health issues to laziness to this and that. It’ll drive me crazy!) In the future I hope to teach her some cross stitch or something so that she will have a hobby to occupy her when she is free. Hopefully that will take care of her mental wellbeing. I am afraid I am going to have to limit her contact with outsiders because there are many negative influences for young easily influenced girls like her. This does not mean that I will lock her up in the house. Far from it. She goes whenever we go and she eats whatever we eat.

Maybe I will end up with a lazy maid who walks all over my head but I still believe that I am doing the right thing. Perhaps I am naive since this is the first time I am having a maid but I still believe I am doing the right thing. Somehow I can’t allow myself to be not nice to a person just because I think she will take me or my kindness for granted. If she does or if she runs away then at least I have done my part.

One thing that I always hear is “I was too soft and too nice to my maid but no more!” So, I do worry a little bit but how do you avoid being nice just because you are afraid. However I also remind myself that being nice does not mean there are no rules. We lay down the ground rules immediately in a firm but nice manner.

Now, regarding the maid. The maid that I have selected has had 2 years or recent experience in Malaysia. Initially I thought that may not be such a good thing because my agent and others had advised me that this might make her more stubborn and cocky etc. However, so far it has turned out well since I don’t have to teach her everything from scratch.

My first impression of the maid. So far she seems like a obedient young girl. She learns fast and is always ready for new instructions. She is good in ironing and folding laundry. She does not cook but that is fine with me. Cooking myself gives me better control of the food cleanliness etc for my family. She is good in personal hygiene which is very important for us. She does use her own initiative sometimes but not overly so. She does not do careless work. For example, when cleaning the toilet, I saw her picking out the hair that has clogged on top of the drain pipe to throw instead of sweeping them into the drain like me. Hehe. So far so good. Some people tell me that this will change in _____________ (Fill in the blanks. Can be anything from one month to after 6 months). But I shall not worry too far ahead. I am satisfied with her performance for now and hopefully we can work together for the next 2 years and she won’t run away. When we first opened our doors to the maid, we did it with almost zero expectations (after hearing so many horror stories) and that is why we are positively surprised now. Keeping fingers and toes crossed that things will stay this way.

Regarding her health. She has been certified fit by Fomema and I have spoken to the clinic that did the test. The doctor assured me that the Fomema test covers the infectious deceases like STDs, AIDs, Hepatitis etc and there is no falsifying of results as the test is sent to independant labs who keys in the results. Doctors are not allowed to key in the results. She has also worked for 2 years up to last year. She looks healthy and has good personal hygiene so I have decided not to take her for a second medical check up for now.


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16 thoughts on “Maid Dos and Don’ts and Maid Horror Stories

  1. Good luck…I also did the same like you except teaching her some craft. But soon you will see the true person she is. When they are new…everything is done very carefully…. but humans will always be humans…hehe…

    I found my maid to have very bad manners, lied,cheat on food and being sneaky but I am just glad that I can rely on her to do the house work and help take care of Reese when I am working.

    I am going to get a second one… very scared of getting a bad one…

    “But soon you will see the true person she is.”

    Oh, I keep hearing this. It gives me the shivers! I do expect that when someone is new they will try their best to show you their best. And after a while there will be some slack. Aren’t we all like that too? But the sentence “Soon she will reveal her true colours” sounds a lot more sinister. 😛 But perhaps I have a lesson to learn here. I will keep on updating and see for myself… hopefully, not the hard way.

  2. Now I have somebody who is supporting my way of treating maid. I support 200% with the statement she’s here to ‘assist’ not ‘take over’.

    My previous maid was superb and I kept on getting remarks from ppl around me saying I ‘bagi muka’ too much. She’s like our family, we even mkn2, watching TV together. Unfortunately, she failed her 2nd FOMEMA test due to x-ray reading. We sent her to specialist to confirm it’s not TB. She’s all clean but we still have to terminate her because I’m against illegal maid. But she’s still around working illegally at some kilang keropok, still call each other, visit during raya and all. After 1 year on my own, I’m getting a new one. Wish me luck. If the new 1 fails, I’m gonna appeal to Imig to get the x-maid back,she’s clean from contagious diseases, I can foot the med bill anytime for tht kind of excellent services . Sorry, too long

    I believe that how the maid turns out depends on luck 80% and how you treat them 50%. Hahaha. I’m not very good at numbers am I? I want very much to give this new maid the benefit of the doubt. I believe that yes, when one is new they will be more diligent so I will expect some slacking later on but its hard for me to picture that someone will do a 100% turnaround and suddenly become a lazy, liar etc. I hope that I am not wrong in my judgement of her character and am not so bad in reading someone’s personality. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed as everyone keeps on telling me. BTW, Good luck in your new maid. I am always happy to hear a maid happy story instead of the many horror ones I keep hearing. 🙂

  3. There are of coz good maids out there and i have heard stories of “how good my maid is.” Hope yours turn out to be a good one as well. Good luck.

    I hope so too tho its too early to tell still.

  4. Personally, I like your style of treating a maid. And your maid seems quite okay from what you’ve mentioned. All the best! 🙂

    She’s still new so will have to wait and see. 🙂

  5. Hullo, your maid will have a relatively light workload! We knew someone who was forever changing maids: She was so unremittingly harsh and particular that the poor things were forever running away, or trying to overdose on pills, and so on…

    Overdose on pills! Thats scary.

  6. Mg,
    I do like your your style of treating maid. I also did the same. I always believe if I treat people nice and good, in everyway, I’ll get the same thing back to me. Lucky me, my latest maid has been working with us for 3 years. All the maids that had worked with us always resign because of married or take care their old parents. again, I grateful for that 🙂

    Do they have 2 year contracts as well over there?

  7. totally agree with u on how we should treat the maid. i’m also getting so many types of feedback now but i’m just doing what i think is right. i’m also giving her the respect she needs as i expect the same from her. so far she is alright and like you said, it’s still too early to tell. here’s wishing us both the best of luck with our new maids! 😉

    Wish you all the best too. 🙂

  8. whether good or bad, i kept my maid for 2 yrs.
    i tolerated and she tolerated too la..i guess.

    since u r at home, just keep an eye on her. for me i always encouraged learning. so i’ll let her read newspaper or magazines.

    You cannot expect perfection so closing one eye to some things would be good.

  9. “You cannot expect perfection so closing one eye to some things would be good.” (Agreed)
    Well, maid also human, we can’t expert her to be no emotional. They also have the fear to work in others country, they also worry they might get a ‘bad employer’…we heard lotsa story about maid, they also heard lot of story about the employer…
    I treat my maid as part of my family members and I believe she also the same. I care about her own family too, sometimes her husband will sms me sending regrats to us. I don’t think this is too much or too nice. Afterall they can feel your sincerity.
    I never order/commanded my maid to do anything, I only request her help. And sometimes we do discuss what to cook and what brands of house stuff is good. She will give me opinion of what to wear to work too :p…hahahaa and also will make sound if I stay up late at night.
    Communication is very important. Normal chit chatting you will know your maid more. Try not to think that she is your maid, not to always order her to do this and that. Sometimes simple message can be complicated if our manner of passing it confusing..
    Ahhh…I’m talking too much here :p

    You sound like you have good communication with your maid. I agree with you about the communication part. Then sometimes ppl end up saying that their maid is stupid but they do not think about whether they have communicated well. An agent told me that a lot of maid/employer relationships fail because of “mistmatched expectations”, so I try to start with almost zero expectations.

  10. First of all, it’s good to hear that you have a good maid. I know there are some who have not been so lucky. Do you know of any good maid agencies in Selangor?

    Sorry Stef, I really am not sure. I would however avoid the little ones, in case they’re fly by night operators.

  11. the worst maid story I’ve heard was:
    the maid made the baby suck her big toe while she was busy chatting on the phone!

    Well, the one I heard was, when mom was out and dad found baby crying loudly, he went to the baby’s room only to find a naked maid standing there waiting for him. 😛

  12. I think your maid will stay with you for long. Yes, I agree, maids are not our slave, just our assistants for doing house chores. But limited outsider influence especially from neighbor. My sister’s maid used to be good and obedient one and slowly change into racist and hate working with Chinese and ask to quit because of all influence she got from my sister racist neighbour.

    Yes, I agree with you about the outside influences. Sometimes the outside influences can be rather negative. So, sad though it may be, we have to limit that. But no man is an island and everyone needs friends and recreation. So to make up for it, I feel we should encourage a hobby, give them magazines to read and allow them to watch TV and we should remind them from time to time that they are here to work to earn some family for their family back home. Because they are young and can be easily influenced by outsiders. I think as an employer we should consider their mental well being too.

  13. Glad to hear that you are so far “happy” with her and you have set yourself some rules. It is fine that if they will turn out lazy but at least you are still having control over your household thing.

    Hope she will continue to be good…

    I hope so too. 🙂

  14. I rather think the “luck” in maids depends on the maids’ demeanor itself. Those that I dont think are reliable at all, I only left them with housework. Those that are reasonably reliable, I still leave them with housework but I would let them carry the toddler and play with her. At all times, I still want to feed my kids myself,cook myself, run their bath myself and bath my kids myself, and mind my kids myself. Those that I dont trust (by virtue their numerous repeated forbidden dangerous and unhygenic actions) I don’t let them near my kids at all. I am paranoid that way. and at all times, my kids will never be left alone with any maids. It’s always me, MIL or school.

    Put it down to bad experiences.

    Of course I also have reasonably reliable maids before , but only one out of the many others. When i mean reliable, I dont mean housework, cos i really dont care about housework. I mean they don’t do forbidden dangerous things that may harm my kids.

    I think you and me are alike in the sense that we like to take over the caring of the kids and cooking ourselves than leave it to maids.

    In the case of leaving kids alone with maids, I think its better to be paranoid rather than sorry.

  15. I cant agree with you on the part that they are not here to take over the household. For employers like myself and my hubby who both work outstation and do not have anyone to watch over the maid, this cant be applied to us. That’s why we are very dependent on them and in a way need to gain trust in her. That’s why I normally take unpay leave for a couple of months to monitor her, later we had CCTV at home. We have no choice coz sending our 4 kids ranging from 9 to 2 is very costly and heavy on our pocket. But having said all these and recently the crisis really woke us up.It was a blessing in disguise that she never return. Our life has changed for the better apart from the financial strain. lucky she didnt runaway with my youngest whom she was very fond of.I think majority of these maid suffers from Mental problem. Mine was the Intelligently psycho one who knew how to plan the conn job from day one she came. Now I’m happier without maid, my kids are better trained with housechores and more independant , the house is cleaner and the clothes smell better..only thing can be as spendthrift and enjoy much like before in order to safe money. Sigh.

    I still think that letting them take over the household is where the trouble begins. Whether you have a choice to do that or not is another issue. But thats only my 2 sens because I’m not in your situation. I can appreciate that sometimes you need to be in the situation to fully understand it.

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