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Helper and the baby

  1. #9
    elle is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2010
    hk south side

    My own personal view - you really need to make clear to your helper that these matters are non-negotiable and she must, in all instances, follow directions if you give her specific instructions. I would never tell my employer "no" and expect to keep my job. I do appreciate cultural differences, etc., but it is your home and she is the one who must adapt. We have always treated our helper very well, but I did have to put my foot down on several child related matters as she wouldn't take hints or gentle reminders. I actually had to sit her down and tell her in no uncertain terms that, as much as we like her and have appreciated her hard work over the years, her continued employment depends on her following our exact instructions regarding our baby. She cannot substitute her judgment or childcare experience for ours, period.

    Oh, and when you have the discussion, make it very serious. Ask her to stop what she is doing and sit down as you need to speak with her. Make sure that she says "Yes, I understand and I will do/ not do.... ", not just a slight head nod or uh huh. That way if things don't work out in the long run you don't have any regrets about what you could have done differently as you really did explain what you need from her and she agreed that she could do it.

    Last edited by elle; 10-07-2011 at 10:21 AM.
    rooj likes this.

  2. #10
    pixelelf is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2008

    I just wanted to add, it could be the baby is having a growth spurt, therefore waking up more to feed and fussier. This happens to both my children who are exclusively breastfed.

    But yes. Do let your helper know exactly how you like things to be.

    Sent from my GT-I9000 using GeoClicks Mobile

  3. #11
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    i was going to also say that baby may be waking up more due to a growth spurt. it may have nothing to do with daytime routine.... but then again, it may not be a growth spurt (but it really does sound like it).

    as for your helper saying "no".... i probably would have been struck dumb by it! how dare she tell you how to raise your child!

    i think, honestly, after that, i would be showing her the door. there is no way to get through to her. she will NEVER follow your instructions and i just would not trust leaving my child/ren with her.

  4. #12
    charade is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Was also going to suggest that there may be other reasons for the baby's waking schedule changing. However, as a mum, you have the right to try different things with your baby and what you suggested is may indeed help.

    Regardless, 'no' is not an acceptable answer (unless you're asking her to do something illegal). She definitely needs to be put in her place. I wouldn't show her the door immediately but would try a serious talk first - as elle suggested with both of you sitting down. I would keep the 'you are doing well' part brief and bring up all the little things that annoy you, how you would like it done, and if she has a serious problem with the way things are being done, her input will be considered but you will have the final say and expect your instructions to be followed. I don't see why following an employers instructions should be a surprise to her - or anything to sulk about given that you don't seem unreasonable. Even if you are a new mum, doesn't mean you need to be taking the lead from her, after all.

    If she still continues this way, and gets sulky etc., then I would consider looking for someone else. You mentioned that you have a couple of months before you go back to work so it would be good to sort it out now.

  5. #13
    Newbie_hk is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Yikes! That wasn't the response that you wanted from your helper.

    I agree with the posters above that your conversation merits some serious discussion and that you mean business when it comes to your baby.

    When it comes to important matters, I talk to my helper at the end of the day when the dishes are done & kids are asleep. If you do it in the morning and you're a stay at home mum like me, you & her have to deal with a bit of awkwardness the whole day whereas at night, her duties are done, you have her full attention & she can mull over our discussion when she retires to her room/boarding house. My husband sits down with me as well so she knows we mean business.

    Another tip, I type out or print relevant information that support my views. That way she can review it in her own time.

    Re: her defiance, perhaps ask her why she does certain things. My helper used to prop my baby to sleep on the side of the cot so her arms are confined and she won't startle herself waking up. I told her that newborns should not be propped on their side when sleeping and printed out a page about SIDS. Like your helper, she would also rush at the slightest whimper of my baby. I asked her why she does it and she said "I feel sorry for your baby to be left alone"

    Also try explaning the consequences of her action. When my helper bathed and put my baby to sleep an hour earlier, I said that the baby will wake up at an earlier time and I suffer the consequences because I am the one who gets up at night while she gets a full night's sleep. She didn't realise this and felt guilty. True enough, my baby woke up at 2 am that night when normally she wakes up at 6.

    Good luck with your helper. Sometime it's hard getting that right balance of help and independence with someone who is, in a reality a stranger to you and your family and yet you are dependent on her.

  6. #14
    Gracey is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Hong Kong

    Thanks again everyone!
    My baby has already gone through 2-3 growth spurts so I know what they are like! She goes crazy with hunger in the evenings. Once, she nursed for 1.5 hours (I changed breasts 3 times), then finished off the pumped milk in the fridge, then got topped up with formula before she stopped screaming with hunger! They usually last several days.

    But I don't think this is a growth spurt right now, as she's not eating more than usual. She's fussing at night, but will only take a few minutes on the breast -- I think she just wants attention / comfort.

    I think she's gotten her timing mixed up. Before she was active in the day and sleepy a night. Now she's being made to sleep all day, so she's awake all night. It's like she has jet lag. :)

    Like right now -- 4-5 am. She's not crying or hungry, she's just wide, wide awake and wants to play and be with mom. This is the behavior I want at 4 or 5 PM.

    Twice yesterday I heard the baby fussing in the nursery and caught the helper trying to swaddle and rock her to sleep even though the baby was wide awake and didn't want to. I repeated for the 400th time that the baby should only be swaddled at night. I also said that the windows should be open and the lights on during the day. No dark rooms in the middle of the afternoon -- it just confuses baby. Also, the helper "shush"es the baby constantly all day long. I want to reserve "shush and pat" for nighttimes.

    I'm a SAHM right now, but I can't keep an eye 24 hours. Every time I nap, eat, shower, etc., the helper is whisking the baby off for daytime sleep. I thought maybe I was over-reacting, but even my parents have noticed that the helper is constantly trying to rock the baby to sleep during the day.

    I've asked her why she does this and she simply says "The baby will cry." I've explained to her the ramification -- that poor ma'am ends up awake all night after she leaves at 7 or 8 pm, but I don't think it sinks in.

    I will try to talk to her again tomorrow. I'm trying to figure out if this is outright defiance, or if she's just not that bright and not "getting it." But I am losing patience. This is not the first time she's voiced different opinions about how to raise the baby. In the past, she hasn't like many things we've done, and seems very stubborn on these issues.

    It's too bad, because she's good at housework and otherwise pleasant, and seems to really love the child. But I am getting uneasy about having to leave her alone with the baby when I go back to work later.

    Last edited by Gracey; 10-08-2011 at 05:41 AM.

  7. #15
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Hong Kong

    Unfortunately a while back I was in a similar situation to yourself, I was a SAHM when we first relocated to Hong Kong and was able to keep an eye on the helper and discovered all sorts of not so happy things, one of which was that my helper (who did not look after my child after 8pm until 9am) would always try to have my DC sleep during the day so she could do her housework, the cooking in peace whilst she chatted on the phone. Obviously when I was home I could keep her up myself but on days I needed to go out, it was your situation. She clearly was not a keeper. However being new to it all I thought it was as good as it gets (according to my in laws) however my nightmare really began when I went back to work and could not cope when the hours were turned upside down. It got to the point where I had to install a camera over my DC's bed and in her play area so that I could see if she was sleeping 'extra' during the day and call the helper (who was on our home phone!!!!! so I couldn't get through) to ask her to wake my DC up! It was exhausting. That relationship lasted less than a few unhappy months. Where I was confused was that she was good at housework and a good cook, and seemed pleasant enough but became sulky when asked to do things and preferred not to follow instructions. After I replaced her with my current helper who is not so good with housework and who can't cook, but has a cheery disposition and is happy to follow instructions, life became miraculously better for me.
    Point is attitude is the most important thing when it comes to helper and the response would have me showing her the door, if it was something I thought was sustained rather than an aberration.

  8. #16
    sea princess is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Hong Kong


    I woud have to say I agree with all the other posts. This is just unacceptable behaviour on your helpers behalf and you really need to think about whether she is capable of listening and changing her behaviour. If not, move on to your next helper. This problem will only get worse and you can manage without her on your own. It's easy to get a part timer in to clean the house and do some simple cooking if need be until you find the right fit for your family. the most important role is the child care, so don't compromise on this.

    I think cultural differences may explain some of the issues here. Many helpers are craving the tactile attention that they would ordinarily have from their own children, husbands, parents. Babies give them this physical pleasure. But one thing I can say, I have seen many helpers no longer interested in the child at a certain age, when they are no longer babies! We had this problem with our first helper, she pestered me constantly about wheh I was going to have another baby! She became disinterested in our first once she was at preschool.

    I think she is molycoddling and this is the tendencey of helpers. I am frequently amazed at how many children cannot do things for themselves here, especially dressing themselves, brushing teeth, hair, simple things that help build their confidence, independence and self esteem. More than likley she has worked this way for the Chinese family she worked for previosuly.

    If this is not the style of parenting and care you are looking for, then tell her in black and white. If she doesn't change, then she is not respecting your views on parenting. You are the mother and this is your child, not hers.

    Good luck Gracey.

    Last edited by sea princess; 10-08-2011 at 11:17 AM.

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