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Is this usual?

  1. #1
    jzb
    jzb is offline Registered User
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    Is this usual?

    I'm 3 weeks into my first ever helper having just moved here a couple of months ago. Basically my helper is excellent. Her house keeping is exceptional and I really shouldn't complain. But....

    She's amazing with my kids - aged 3 and 1. But I'm feeling like it's a competition with her to get my kids attention. She keeps trying to get them up from bed in the morning, carry them when we go out, play with them when we're all in the house together and stroke their heads and **** them all the time. The kids clearly feel comfortable with her which is great and she obviously loves playing with them and spending time with them, but I am getting crosser and crosser and more frustrated. I don't like people fussing over my boys and I don't believe that they should be entertained all the time as they are very capable of playing by themselves and with each other. And as I'm a full time mum if anybody is going to do those things, then that's my job not hers anyway.

    I have tried gently telling her to please leave my children alone when I'm here as I am more than capable of looking after them, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

    Today I had to tell her 3 times when we were out on a one hour shopping trip that I did NOT want her to take my one year old away from me who I was carrying on the bus and into the shops despite her constant holding out her hands towards my son and asking him to go to her.

    My husband has also told her on more than one occasion to leave the kids to play around him while he's having breakfast as it's often the only 15 minutes in the day that he sees them and she would try and take them away to play with them in another room once they had finished breakfast.

    Is this a common problem? Cultural? Specific?

    I am going to have to sit down and explain the situation but I just wanted to know if others have come across this and if it is a common thing at the beginning of a contract. Or if I'm being totally irrational.

    Anybody had similar issues???

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    it might be that the employer she had before was not as hands-on as you are.

    in one respect, i'd say be thankful that she wants to care for your kids so much! in a way it is a little irrational, sounds a little jealous. this is a completely natural feeling to have. you now have this new person in your house and you are trying to figure out what the relationship will be between her and the kids and if it in any way diminishes who you are. (it doesn't by the way!) it can be heartbreaking the first time one of the children falls and they run to her instead of you.

    on the other hand, i also understand COMPLETELY where you are coming from. for me, the problem is not my helper, rather my m-i-l!

    however, for your situation, i would sit her down and have a talk. tell her EXACTLY what you like that she's doing and then explain to her your style of caring for your children. explain to her that you do not want the kids to be entertained 100% of the time and that if you need her help, you will ask for it. otherwise, please do the housework.

    tell her that this is something that you feel VERY strongly about and that if things don't change, you may have to reconsider having a helper.

    many local employers WANT their helpers to do everything for the kids. i once had a student, 7 years old, that still couldn't clean his own bottom because the parents/grandparents told the helper that it was her job to do it!


    it can be a very fine line between feeling like you can trust the helper and that she actually cares for your child and feeling like she is trying to usurp your place.

    we have been able to strike a balance at our house, luckily. our helper is very much part of our family and my kids love her and she, them. however, i have explained to my kids that we love each other so much because we are a family and our helper is like a best friend, so we love her too. but it's a different kind of love.

  3. #3
    aussie mum is offline Registered User
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    this is very similar to the situation I had with my helper. in our case it was caused by a couple of things.
    1. as cara says, her last employer was not hands on with the kids at all. her job had been to look after the kids as much as possible (despite the mother being a "full-time" mum)
    2. childcare is my helpers favourite part of the job. she is a great cleaner etc but obviously doesn't enjoy doing household chores as much as she likes playing with my son.

    in the early days i had to remind her almost daily that if i was home she was not to do anything for my son unless i specifically asked her to. I also had to explain to her that i liked my son's independence. if he was happy playing alone she should let him be and not constantly shadow him. i had to explain that i didn't want him getting used to constant attention!

    within a very short time she was used to the different rules in our house.

    just persist and be sure to explain clearly...and daily if need be! without getting too cross with her.

    on a side note: now that baby #2 is nearly here and i am ENORMOUS. I am finding it useful having her help out with my son more and she seems SOOOO much happier. i guess i have been depriving her of the one thing she actually likes about being a helper.

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
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    forgot to say, that i teach playgroup where parents/helpers attend with the child.

    i find that i have to ask many of the helpers to let the children play and not follow them around all the time. it is actually distracting to the child to have the helper there interrupting the play to play with them. it's funny, the parents are paying for the children to come and play with other children and follow the class, but the helpers are sometimes there hindering the process, not letting the kids get on with it.

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
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    ps> aussie mum... is your riley a girl or boy? (i'm guessing by the train that it's a boy...) mine's a girl...

  6. #6
    syuan is offline Registered User
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    when my first child was born, we hired an Indonesian helper. i noticed that she was very keen to develop a close relationship with my son, and i told her that since i'm a stay-at-home mom, that i didn't need her to do anything for him. i think part of it was that she also had a son back home whom she misses tremendously, and the other part is probably because child-minding is her favorite part of the job.

    but i found that when i told her specifically not to pick up baby, she would do it anyway and rock and pat baby endlessly. it drove me up the wall because she blatantly did not follow my instructions. after one year, we had to let her go, just couldn't stand it anymore. i also felt that it wasn't healthy for her or my child to have a close relationship. my current helper is great about knowing where to draw the line between "babysitting" and "too much". good luck!

  7. #7
    jzb
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    Thanks for your help so far. I just don't really enjoy confrontation so I try the softly softly approach and it's just not sinking in so I'm just going to have to be a bit firmer. I'm sure she's doing it with the best of intentions - I don't actually doubt that at all, but I'm definitely feeling usurped, and yes, jealous a bit. I'll keep on at it and hopefully we'll all get to a happy place before too long!!

  8. #8
    snagito is offline Registered User
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    Totally understand how you must feel. Maybe one way of communicating this to the helper is to say that once you move back to your home country, wherever that may be, that there will be no helper and so for that reason you'd like the boys to get on with playing on their own. The other thing you could try is ask her to finish up some other tasks first thing in the morning and that you will all get your own breakfast - involve the 3 yr old in laying the table for dad's breakfast etc and perhaps that way she will be distracted and allow you all to be alone together - that works well for us as I also didn't know how to explain things and hate confrontation! I do the same with my son's breakfast and dinner - we actually eat outside on our balcony just to get some privacy and time alone! Good luck, hope things get better.

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