Managing the maid isn’t only about managing her work, it is also about managing relationships. Relationship with us and relationship with the kids. Managing the maid’s relationship with the kids is not an easy task. There is a fine line to draw in many areas. For example, we do not want the kids to start taking her for granted. We also do not want the kids to get too close to her and become manja with her etc. Like I said, its a fine line.
I have some house rules when it comes to managing the maid and the kids. I have told the maid…
- not to help them to wear their shoes unless we are in a hurry. She doesn’t help me to dress or feed them so the rest is not a problem. I want independant kids, not kids who rely on the maid to do everything for them.
- not to manja them. This is especially if I am scolding them and they she tries to comfort them. I will tell her to leave them alone. I explained to her that this is because I do not want to have kids that are “kurang ajar” (have no manners) in case she feels hurt or insulted when I tell her to “kakak, biar kan dia!” Kids will be kids and they will try to take comfort in anyone who is there for them. I certainly do not want a situation where the kids will run to the maid everytime I scold them. This is a no no for me. The maid also tends to like to carry the little one especially if he complains that he is tired. My little boy likes to make a big show that he is very very tired when he wants to be carried especially when he is bored from walking around the malls. I do not want a manja little kid who wants to be carried all the time so I always ask her to put him down when he behaves like that. My husband and I do not want to encourage his behaviour so we don’t always pick him up when he complains that he is tired so we do not want him to take advantage of the fact that the maid will pick him up. If we allow this, we will be telling him indirectly, that it is ok to go to kakak when we are stern with him. This creates un unhealthy situation where the kids will turn to the maid against the parents.
- not to take any instructions from the kids. I also told the kids not to give any instructions to the maid. Instructions must come from me only. If they want to request a ribena, for example, they must ask me first. I have told the maid to tell them “tanya mummy dulu” or “mummy kata tak boleh” if they go to her. Even then, as she is pouring the drink, sometimes they will ask “kakak, saya mau lebih manis. Manis dan sejuk.” It is really a fine line.
- the kids must treat the maid with respect. Sometimes the small one, throws a black face at her if she is too busy to play with him. Or another example is, they may talk loudly to her or push her hand away if she tries to wear the seatbelt for them in the backseat and they refuse. My husband and I will not allow this. If any of the kids speak to the maid with disrespect, they will be reprimanded immediately.
However, I am guilty of a number of things. When we browsing at the bookshop or walking around the mall for example. me and hubby sometimes tend to leave the kids with the maid for short spurts of time so that we can look around. I really should be with the kids myself.
Another thing, sometimes when we are busy, we would allow the kids to play with the maid for a while. As a result the kids have become very close to the maid. We get a little uncomfortable if we see them too close. On the one hand, it is good that the maid likes the kids but on the other hand, well, who knows? Its a fine line.
This maid really knows how to entertain kids as her main task with a previous employer was to look after the kids. She would teach them to sing, play hide and seek and other silly games with them. The kids like her a lot. I suppose this is a good thing but at the same time it worries me a bit too. Sometimes when I tell them “If kakak wants to take you anywhere on your own WITHOUT mummy and daddy, you are NOT to go.” They don’t understand and they ask “Why?” How do you explain to a 5 and 7 year old that it is not a good idea to go anywhere with kakak on their own WITHOUT mummy and daddy’s permission when that kakak lives in your house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year?
The maid does have the tendency to manja the kids a bit. So I have to always be on guard to see that she does not carry this out too far. She has also previously proudly proclaimed to me that her previous charges prefer her to their mother. According to her, she basically had to do everything for the kids previously. She bathed, dressed, fed them, walked them to school and back, made sure they do their homework and slept with them. I had to explain to her that perhaps she had to do things differently previously maybe because she has to listen to the kids a bit more since that makes them easier to control. But I want to have good mannered and well behaved kids so we will not manja them or they will turn out to be naughty and disrespectful.
So, hopefully, after giving her the reasons for my actions and explaining how I want my kids to be brought up, she will not take it personally when I say “Kakak, biarkan dia!” Because at the point when I say this, its usually in a loud voice because I am disciplining the kids at the time. I surely don’t want her to misunderstand and think that I am disciplining her! I must admit that I also feel a bit annoyed when I see her trying to go to the kid as I am disciplining them or trying to carry them or wear their shoes for them when they complain that they are tired.
I told her that kids will be kids and if you always rush to them to give in to their demands, soon they will learn that if they demand for something, even in an unreasonable manner, they will get what they want. Then the kids will end up being rude and demanding. I want to make it clear what I prefer and what I don’t but I have to explain the reasons why so she will understand. Phew! Managing relationships is almost as hard if not harder than managing housework.
Can you share with me how you manage your maid and the kids or if you don’t have a maid, how you think this should be managed? So that I can add to my list of rules in case I miss anything out. 😛