Maids are domestic helpers, not nannies

Recently, we were invited to a late night wedding dinner which we declined. The person who invited us wanted to know why we would not let our maid put the children to sleep while we attended the wedding dinner. She seemed surprised. I am surprised that she is surprised.

To me the duties of a maid is that of a domestic helper. They are not nannies and not trained to be nannies. Quite often I see pictures of smiling maids carrying baby sized dolls as part of their training. I think it takes more than that to be able to handle babies, toddlers and kids. The main duty of a maid should be helping around the house to ease housework burden. Sometimes it may be necessary due to circumstances where the maid has to help out in looking after kids too but I think sometimes people forget that the important word is “help out”.

Sadly, quite often I see the maid ‘taking over’ the duty of a parent in feeding toddlers, bathing babies, changing infants and sometimes even helping older children with homework etc. They have become almost like substitute parents. Sometimes I see maids walking around the mall wearing the baby of her employer in a sling. Isn’t it strange that this special place next to mummies bosom that should be exclusive to mums and dads only is being substituted by another? It does not seem right to me that even such a personal ‘task’ is ‘delegated’ out to maids.

Just yesterday, I saw a very young maid chasing two toddlers around. She was obviously unable to handle them and she does not have the authority to scold or discipline. The kids were uncontrollable.  Where was the mother? She was chatting nearby. She only called out to the kids once after a very long time despite them getting into a lot of mischief while the maid tried to pick them up and carry them away from trouble again and again.

Maids are for helping ease the burden from housework so that we will have more time with our children. They are not supposed to look after our children for us so that we will have more time for ourselves. So my friend, I am sorry I can’t attend your wedding. I know my kids are older now but I will not let someone else put them to bed. Neither will I leave them at home alone at night for several hours with just the maid while I am out enjoying a dinner with my spouse.

I don’t think I am being overly cautious either. With kids, it is always better to err on the cautious side. We brought them to this world and it is our duty to protect and look after them until they are able to look after themselves. Out of topic here, recently, sister’s Filipino maid ran away after 6 months. Sister is not as cautious as me. She allows the maid to go out on errands with just the driver at times. Recently, the maid, my very old disabled dad, his nurse and the driver were out. The maid took RM300 to buy necessities for dad from the pharmacy while they were out. They waited and waited for her at the car but she never came back….


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9 thoughts on “Maids are domestic helpers, not nannies

  1. so often i see maids standing next to the table attending the kids while the parents sit, eat and chat happily while the maid looked at the food. I never accept this kind of treatment. And so many times I see ppl who lost maids due to whatever reasons find it hard to cope without a maid. I once thought i was hands on with my kids but when my maid left, i was depressed to know the fact that i actually left so many things for her to do and it took me one year to stand back by my own. Since then I worked myself around the clock just like the maid and one day i asked myself.. i do it like once a week and i felt like i am going mad. Imagine the maid doing this 24/7. No wonder so many went gila. So then on, i decided i am not going to hire maid. part timers maybe once in a while.

    Good for you Sasha. When you have to do it yourself, then you know what is or is not reasonable to expect of a maid, right?

  2. it depends on the expectations n job scope required. If the intention is for the maid to do housework, then do housework n not cross jobs or multi-task to do nanny work.

    Yes that may be so but still there are some things that shouldn’t be ‘outsourced’. My maid claims that she did not have to do much housework in her previous employment, she certainly did not have to cook at least, her sole responsibility was to look after 2 young children. She got them ready for school, walked them to school and exta-curriculum classes, slept with them, bathed them, fed them. The employers had their own business so the mum was always at the shop. She would watch videos till late in the night, slept till noon, then go to shop to work leaving the kids to the maid. But of course this is only one side of the story…

  3. It is a common to see maids being the primary carers for kids. Sometimes, I pity the maids who have to do everything from housework to nannying.

    Yes, it is very tiring to do both as most mothers with young kids will be able to tell you.

  4. I never had one in my life and will not have any in the future. Guess we can live in a messy house than to have a live-in maid. Hahaha..

    I never had one and hated the idea of having one but then one day I had a seizure in front of the kids when they were very young so… Anyway, she has been with us for 3 years now and there are pros and cons but my house is mostly clean and organized and we have more home cooked food and I have more time with the children. So I guess it turned out alright. 🙂

  5. Couldn’t agree more….
    I saw a Filipino maid chatting loudly, happily, and annoyingly next to an old man with swollen feet while doing a physiotherapy…. Where are the old man children? How can they just left him alone with a maid who just couldn’t care less….. Sad sad…..

    I want my own children to care and spend time with me when I am old, not the nurse, not the maid….. Am I selfish?

    Linda, maids and old folks. That is another story…. I am ashamed to say that that old man may perhaps even be my dad. My sisters and sisters in laws all do their part in taking dad to physio but not me 🙁

  6. I used to have the mindset that maid will help ease my burden so that I can spend more time with the children. Now that I am maidless for nearly 5 months, I am happy to say that our quality time hasn’t been compromised. Though there’s limitation at my side, less flexibility. But I am happy and the kids are happy and learn to be so much loving , understanding and be part of the family contributing. My opinion is that if a family can live without one ( other than some health issue) we really do not need a live in maid and get spoilt and pampered. To think of it, bringing maids from foreign countries brings in a loop of problem. Especially maids leaving behind their own young children at home and we as mother ourself emphasise so much on being there for our children.

    What you say is very true, Elaine. You can spend just as much time with your children teaching them to help around the house which is an even better thing. Totally agree with you on what said in your last sentence too. 🙂

  7. I have several friends who can have a total peace of mind leaving their newborn babies and young toddlers with their maids, while they go to work and ‘phak thor’ with their hubbies. Maybe they don’t set too high a standard on their maids. For me, leaving my kids with my maid, allowing her to mind them for the whole day or even an hour is totally out of question. Maids, you can never trust them, as we have read and heard too many stories of trusted long-serving maids who turned their backs on their employers.

  8. I ever watched a video which I think it was recorded in one family in Singaproe. The video reached my inbox in one circulated email. I was in traumatic for a few days after watching it. I saw the maid kicking furiously at a toddler and then stepping on the toddler back. Oh My God! Never ever leave kids to a maid alone at home. So, I agree with you.

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