I am blessed because I have a good maid. She is a Fillipino. She came to my house in the mid-80s, when my third child (2nd daughter) was born. This child is now in her final year of medical course in Queensland. So my maid has worked for me more than 20 years.
Of course I have to go through the hassle of getting work permit renewed every year ( even though the hasssle is lessened by having the maid agency doing this for me for a fee every year). Every few years, my maid has to go to her Embassy to renew her passport.
According to the agency, she is the longest serving maid from that particular agency which has been in existence for almost 30 years.
Initially when she came , I have a rather big family. My aged parents were both staying with me, and I have 2 other kids then. It was after she worked a few more years that I had my fourth child. So initially she had to take care of the house, 4 kids, 2 old persons . Luckily for her, both of parents were active and mobile right up to the day that they passed away. My mum used to teach her cook all the dishes that she knew and my mum was a very good cook. My maid has indeed become a good cook after more than 2 decades in my family.
She has to do household chores like cleaning, but since our priority is for her to look after the children ( the younger ones since the older two did not need much looking after at teir age and my parents helped out looking after the children too), we usually left it to her to do things at her own pace.Things could be very sloppy at times, and house could be quite messy, but she took care of the two younger kids well. And that is what is important for us.
Her work load becomes lessened as my parents passed away one by one and my children grew older and older.
Despite many short comings ( she has broken so many of our things that we have lost counts-but humans are fallible, aren’t we all?), she has helped us to tie over the difficult periods when my children were small and my parents old. Now that there are only 2 of us left and household work is now much less than before, we have decided that she can stay as long as she wants, as she has by the many long years of service, rightfully earned herself a place in our family, and there are many things that my younger daughter would confide in her that she would not even discuss with us.
Many people have asked us how we can maintain such long relationship with her. Just like in any relationship, there has to be much give and take on both sides.
Now to digress a bit.
Have you all heard about the joke of a person with a right eye cataract going to see an eye specialist , only to be told by the specialist that he operates only on left eye? Or imagine a piano teacher that teaches a student to play the keyoard with his right hand and asks him to seek someone else to teach his lefthand play?
or a hospital nurse that will only serve you medicines and take your temperatures but refuses to helps clean you or accede to your request to help you get up since her job description does not entail helping patients?
or a restaurant worker that will only take your oder but refuses to answer to your request to clean the table or to bring the bills?
or a maid that does only one chore?
Most of the people that employs maids need them to help in household chores, and that normally entails cleaning, cooking, and washing. Some may requires them to help to look after children too. Maids are not superman, so employers do indeed need to space out these chores so as not to overload them with work. And when things get too busy, employers have a duty to do some of the chores too.
As I have mentioned above, in any relationship, icluding that of employer-maid, there must be certain give and take. employers too must look after the health of their maids; this should include physical as well as mental health. Most of them would get depressed on and off ; this is understandable as they have to leave their loved ones at home to come and live in a totally alien environment and work.
Most maids are simple souls and not very highly educated. They need time to learn new things, especially how to operate modern gadgets. they also need time to learn how things are being done in the bosses’ homes. It is not an easy task. It calls for plenty of patience and understanding.
Having said that, I think it is really unreasonable to limit a maid’s chore so strictlly that one will only look after the kids and nothing else , another will look after the old parents and so on and so forth.
I find the Indonesia authority’s demand that each maid can strictly do one chore very amusing. It is like shutting their own door for the maids’ markets.
Under the proposal, if a couple needs maids to look after their kids and their aged parents, do household chores like cleaning and cooking and washing, they must be prepared to employ 4 maids. And that defeats the purpose of employing a helper to do domestic chores.The husband or the wife might as well quit job and stay at home to be housewife or house husband, since it would be economically not feasible to employ 4 maids, house them, and feed them.
Who would then employ the Indonesia maids? perhaps only multimillionaires can do so. But not everyone that needs a maid is a multimillionaire.
It is like a compuer company telling prospective customers that they need one computer to do emailing and another to doo wordprocessing and yet another to store their photos and music. It will only result in the company losing market shares and eventually folding up.
It is like the fable of the person who kills the goose for the golden eggs.