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My helper needs a helper? Advice please!

  1. #1
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    My helper needs a helper? Advice please!

    Hi Everyone

    I am looking for some advice!

    I have a new helper, been with us for 5 months, a direct hire from the Phillipines. Our previous helper was an older helper (late 50's), struggled communicating (not great English and poor hearing) and it often left us all frustrated and annoyed, especially our 5 year old who refused to spend time with her. Being older, she never left the apartment and I felt quite suffocated. When I found out I was pregnant with our second child, I knew we had to find someone capable of helping with a new born which lead us to employ our current helper.

    Our current helper has impecable english, is innovative and fun with our 5 year old and for the first time ever, my husband and I can leave our daughter in safe, capable hands. She is very level headed and has good judgement.
    She is gentle and caring with our 5 month old. We have a live out arrangement mostly (we have a room) but we also are happy to give her an allowance to live out so that we all have privacy. She lives a 5 minute walk away from our apartment which is really convenient. We pay her above award and a food allowance. She works 9am-6:30pm and leaves early on a Friday or Saturday when we are staying in.

    Our apartment is 2,000 sqft with a garden and we have an old dog that requires a short walk once a day. Her duties are mainly cleaning, washing, ironing, occasional help with the children (mainly watching them so I can cook in the evenings). I am the cook as I like to do it and she isn't a cook! Also, car clean once a week or every second week.

    So here goes the dilema! She took a very long lunch break last week of 1 hr 40 when I really needed a hand and when I told her to call next time if she was going to be a long time, she was taken back! Then two days later, she takes a two hour lunch break. My husband approached her and tells her he is disappointed in light of the fact that two days prior I had discussed with her to let us know if it's a long break. She was then very upset and said she is tired and cannot do so much work, it's too mmuch for her? Our previous helper before her complained she was bored with not enough work! She also has been moody and on the three occasions she has baby sat in the evenings in 5 months, she told our 5 year old the next day she was grumpy and tired becasue she had to stay up late to look after her and her sister. We were home by 11pm sadly! Not one for late nights with a small baby! Also, I had fed, bathed and out the kids to bed before we went.


    So I am left with the issue of getting someone else in to help with the work load or try for helper number three. So I pose a few questions,

    1. Is she using the situation Of being 'caught' out having long breaks as a means to get better working terms for herself, which are unrealistic
    2. Are her requests reasonable?
    3. It's easy to find cleaners in HK, but it's hard to find suitable people to care for your children, helpers that bond well with the children and which the children actaully like. Getting someone in to help with the car, garden, extra cleaning, is that fair?

    When she is here, she is working pretty solidly, but I think she doesn't have much stamina and tires really easily.

    Thanks, appreciate your thoughts on this one!
    Last edited by sea princess; 03-25-2011 at 07:55 PM.

  2. #2
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Sounds like a helper who has gotten used to the easy and wonderful life in comparison to her counterparts and is unhappy to change the circumstance. She's probably been influenced negatively by other helpers (who may or may not have it easier).

    I've interviewed heaps the last two weeks and found that many cope with your apartment size, two (if not three), pets and car without whinging about their lives. As far as I'm concerned, under no circumstance, is a helper who rarely gets asked to babysit on a rare date night (and only needs to turn up at 9 everyday) is allowed to talk to my child in that manner or grumble about it to me in anyway!

    She needs to try working for a local family. She has no idea how cushy she has it (in comparison to most of her peers in a local family situation)! To be honest, not the sort of helper I'd even bother interviewing if she's fired (or looking for a job). Having said that though, if I could afford it, with your apartment size, pet, 2 kids, 2 FT working adults, I'd hire two helpers (live-in) and pay a normal wage.
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  3. #3
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    i think she needs to be shown the door.

    she already has a sweet deal and is milking you for more... bye bye, birdie, bye bye!

    there is a helper out there who would LOVE to work the hours that she is, with the freedom that she has.

  4. #4
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    and yes, if money isn't an issue, i would fire this one and hire two in her place. give them each distinct tasks to be completed and to be responsible for...

  5. #5
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    helper

    Quasimother
    Thanks for the support. You know my instinct is that she is actually depressed. I guess she never thought she would find herself back here working as a helper again. But really, she should have thought about it all before she said 'yes.' I am a stay at home mum so it's not as though she's being left with the kids all day as well.
    Carang
    Thanks Carang. I spent the whole day today feeling guilt that she had to do heaps or ironing! Crazy, that's what she's paid for afterall!
    Last edited by sea princess; 03-25-2011 at 08:34 PM.

  6. #6
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    One other thing, I really dont want two helpers. The thought of more people in my house, aghh. I like my space. I am a stay at home mum and am very hands on with the kids. My youngest is breastfed so is attached to me most of the time anyway and our 5 year old is at school now during the day, so I really find it hard to believe our space is that big, it can't be done by one person. i am not after anything squeeky clean either. I am just happy not to have to do it!

  7. #7
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    man, listen, if you are a stay at home mum and you do most of the childcare and all of the cooking, you MUST find a new helper! she is taking you for a ride. you have nothing to feel guilty about. you are not her therapist. you are her employer. if this was ANY other job, her behaviour WOULD NOT be tolerated.... sack her tomorrow.

    years ago, i worked for my mother's house-cleaning business. 3 of us would clean a house-top to bottom (2000-3000') in about 2 hours.... that's 6 hours total. so, there is no reason that she shouldn't be able to do it in 9 hours.

  8. #8
    sea princess is offline Registered User
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    I hear what you are saying Carang. Like most people, she would rather the child care and not the cleaning, but that's not why I employed her and I have been very clear from the start her responsibilities. I suppose I am so disappointed and sad, especially for my older daughter who enjoys her company, limited as it is and for myself. She has admitted to me that she really would rather be just the 'nanny' (wouldn't all helpers?). That is her strength, not the domestic chores!

    FYI, our previous helper cleaned our apartment in about 2-3 hours! So I agree, she should be able to do it easily.

    Looks like I am going to have to find a new helper :(
    (Big SIGH!)
    Last edited by sea princess; 03-25-2011 at 09:07 PM.

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