Managing domestic helper 101

With most families being dual-income-with-kids, outsourcing home cleaning and home economics to domestic helpers is almost a way of life for Singaporeans. Come in and discuss issues pertaining to maids and home management.

Managing domestic helper 101

Postby chickaboom8888 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:14 pm

Hi all, I would like to start this thread to ask mummies to share their good tips and tricks to deal/manage with the foreign domestic worker. I would like to suggest a few guidelines when someone contributes to this thread:
i) Be constructive. If you have nothing to add value, don't say
ii) Do not use this thread to vent frustration. Use other thread to do so.
iii) Keep it simple and straightaway. No winding long story.
iv) Use personal judgement & common sense when read about other's tips/tricks . One person meat is another person poison.
I believe most maids share their dirty tricks among themselves that give us headache once they go out. Therefore, we need to unite and learn how to deal with them - 见招折招. Personally I think high EQ and good managerial skill are required to manage a maid well.

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby chickaboom8888 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:38 am

Issue: Asking for advanced home leave ( for whatsoever reason)
i) Do not say No straightaway. Sit down and talk with her, ask her why, blah blah blah. Whole idea is to show we have empathy(either fake or genuine), do not show it is our self-interest not to let her go.
ii) Usually I will say I am not sure, but let me see what I can do for you first. If you say Yes and later regret then you can't turn back as she will lose trust on you. Decide yourself if the story is true or not. For me, I know most of them are lies (as the explaination is inconsistent) , and I did not want to expose them as well. I will judge if I want to keep her or not. If I think she is worth to be retain and my schedule is ok with her away, I will grant her wish. However, I lay down the ground rules no advance pay and the paid leave will be fully reimbursed upon contract completion, this is to dangle the carrot for them to come back. If not, be prepared you may lose this amount of money if she do not come back.
Once you grant them advance leave, usually they will be very happy. Take this opportunity to ask them improve the performance or do sth extra if you need to( must know how to say tactifully)

iii) If you decide not to grant her advance leave, give her a compelling reason, show that you have already try your best(put up a show if you need). But be prepared she is going to show you black face or bad attitude, and you just have to take it. Alternatively, you can say you will only able to grant her advance home leave closer to her contract completion( to reduce damage) - make up story on the reason if you need to.
I feel that dealing with them we cannot be too honest and straightforward.

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby chickaboom8888 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:02 pm

The art of talking with maid
---------------------------------
I learnt this from my friends, I think it is more effective for FDW who are smarter but cannot take cricticism directly.

指桑骂槐 - The 26th technique in Sun Tze Art.Example:

i) My friend found her helper shows the Ipad to her daughter which she didn't like. Instead of telling the maid not to do so, what she do is she purposely talk to her daughter in front of the helper that looking at Ipad is bad of her eyes, and she talks quite loud so the helper can hear it. The helper stopped doing that afterwards.
ii) When i found my helper was neglecting my young child ( busy with sth which i am not sure what it is) while i am in office, I told her that my child is older now that it is good for her to do specific activities with her daily. With that I kind of enforce her to spend time with her more.
iii) Sometimes when you go out with your helper at the park with your young child, and you saw some other maid yakking on phone neglecting the child, you can tell her that this maid is no good, irresponsible and u would terminate this kind of maid. Indirectly you are telling her dun do this to my child. Vice versa, if you see some other maid who do sth good, you can praise that maid in front of your helper. Yes, they do compare.
iv) If you know your maid doing something u dun like through CCTV which she assume you are not watching, you can purposely adjust the CCTV in front of her as if you are trying to make it work. Indirectly you are telling her I am watching you.

I never raise my voice against my helper or scold her. If she start to show me some attitude, then i will pretend know nothing, sometimes I just ask her "are you ok today". There are times i am very angry with her until i want to terminate her straightaway, i always go for a walk to cool down and ask friends with high EQ what to do, and most of the times i come back with a better idea how to deal with her.

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby Tamama » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:51 pm

chickaboom8888 wrote:The art of talking with maid
---------------------------------
I learnt this from my friends, I think it is more effective for FDW who are smarter but cannot take cricticism directly.

指桑骂槐 - The 26th technique in Sun Tze Art.Example:

i) My friend found her helper shows the Ipad to her daughter which she didn't like. Instead of telling the maid not to do so, what she do is she purposely talk to her daughter in front of the helper that looking at Ipad is bad of her eyes, and she talks quite loud so the helper can hear it. The helper stopped doing that afterwards.
ii) When i found my helper was neglecting my young child ( busy with sth which i am not sure what it is) while i am in office, I told her that my child is older now that it is good for her to do specific activities with her daily. With that I kind of enforce her to spend time with her more.
iii) Sometimes when you go out with your helper at the park with your young child, and you saw some other maid yakking on phone neglecting the child, you can tell her that this maid is no good, irresponsible and u would terminate this kind of maid. Indirectly you are telling her dun do this to my child. Vice versa, if you see some other maid who do sth good, you can praise that maid in front of your helper. Yes, they do compare.
iv) If you know your maid doing something u dun like through CCTV which she assume you are not watching, you can purposely adjust the CCTV in front of her as if you are trying to make it work. Indirectly you are telling her I am watching you.

I never raise my voice against my helper or scold her. If she start to show me some attitude, then i will pretend know nothing, sometimes I just ask her "are you ok today". There are times i am very angry with her until i want to terminate her straightaway, i always go for a walk to cool down and ask friends with high EQ what to do, and most of the times i come back with a better idea how to deal with her.


I think this works with some helpers, but not all.
My helper and I like to speak it out directly. No need to say who is right who is wrong. Just give clear straight forward instruction.
Using your examples, I will just tell her to keep her ipad away from the child; to read / play blocks / take the child for a walk (you can provide her with choices of activities); to tell her directly on your expectations rather than saying other helpers wrong behavior; to let her know about her job scope everyday rather than turning the CCTV directly on her. If she is not working and with lazy bones, CCTV or scolding her will not change anything I think. If she has finished the particular work for that particular time, she can sit or rest for a while before she goes to do another routine right?
I think a detailed house rule and a daily routine list are good for helpers to know what they should do. If the bad attitude is there in a helper, just send her home.
:idea:

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby timtamfan » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:48 pm

Tamama wrote:
I think this works with some helpers, but not all.
My helper and I like to speak it out directly. No need to say who is right who is wrong. Just give clear straight forward instruction.


I tend to agree with Tamama. Definitely for my maid, better to be straight forward instead of hint hint. Faster positive response.

P.S. I must say I would be a little uncomfortable having CCTV as a control mechanism. Just my personal stand and of course I won't impose - please don't flame me :siam:

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby Tamama » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:17 pm

timtamfan wrote:
I tend to agree with Tamama. Definitely for my maid, better to be straight forward instead of hint hint. Faster positive response.

P.S. I must say I would be a little uncomfortable having CCTV as a control mechanism. Just my personal stand and of course I won't impose - please don't flame me :siam:


Well said. I don't think it's easy for them and for us to work in front of a cam. :sweat:

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby kbcharmaine » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:07 pm

My helper is very smart.. She dodged all the CCTV cameras and you can't catch her at all..I think managing a maid is really a big headache..The more you see, more upset you become. Sometimes, close two eyes also can't..

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby kbcharmaine » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:18 pm

Installing of CCTV cameras is mainly for the purpose of checking whether our kids (Baby and toddlers) are in good hands. No choice.. Or else we won't know what will happened to our baby and toddler if we are not at home. Hence, I can understand why people wants to install CCTV cameras. They are not installed mainly on checking whether they slacked in their works but mainly for the safety of our children..

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby janet88 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:18 pm

kbcharmaine wrote:My helper is very smart.. She dodged all the CCTV cameras and you can't catch her at all..I think managing a maid is really a big headache..The more you see, more upset you become. Sometimes, close two eyes also can't..


it's really upsetting to employ a maid only to have blood pressure shoot up :mad: my bil's maid earns extra money selling the groceries/canned food from the house...she has no off day. hubby's brother said maid always says rice is finishing, noodles, sauces etc and she then sells them. she repacks the rice into smaller packets and sells it to foreign workers :slapshead: but I wonder how she gets the 'buyers'. only worked for couple for 2 months, sil is frequently overseas while bil hardly eats at home.

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Re: Managing domestic helper 101

Postby kbcharmaine » Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:27 pm

Need advice! My maid wanted to take half day off per week .. She claimed wanted to go for mass . But now, we are paying her money for every off day she forgo..How do we go about calculating her half day off per week? From what time to what time??

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