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Domestic Helper Concerns (sorry for the long post!)

  1. #9
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    I think right now you need to decide what is priority. Your child should be the number one priority for your helper. I wouldn't even have her washing my car or doing much housework. A dusty car isn't going to make a difference. Our helper mops our floors once a week. We don't track mud and dirt into our home so this is quite enough. You should be setting her schedule--tell her she's not allowed to mop or clean more than you require--it's not her choice, it's your choice. Since my daughter was born 18-months-ago the priority for our house has shifted to her and her brother's full care. That means that housework and other non-essential things take a back seat. House isn't as clean. Meals are sometimes not as great (but usually pretty good, I have to say). Things are not as organized.

    If your child is only 3-months-old then he/she is probably not sleeping through the night and requires feeding at night, more than just one 11 o'clock feeding. And even if the child does not require feeding babies wake up and if the child is sleeping with her she's the one who has to deal with that. That interrupts sleep. Have you ever had a fitful night of sleep and then found it was impossible to go back to bed so you just got up early anyway, even though you were dead-tired. That has happened to me many times and I'm guessing that's what your helper is going through. You said your child can be a handful.

    I say, move your child into your own room--either co-sleeping or in a cot nearby and see if the situation improves. Handle most if not all of the night-time care for your child. In the very beginning with our helper we took shifts. She preferred to stay up later so she would take the early shift and then if the baby woke up, it was our turn. Simply not fair to offload the baby to the helper at night and leave her to deal with him/her. I know, it's not easy. My husband and I both work. We both have to be up early. We also have a kindergartener to care for. We were EXHAUSTED a lot but it's only fair to share the workload.

    And at the end of the day, your helper may very well have some mental or emotional issues that prevent her from performing at her best. Sometimes these can be worked out and sometimes not. Our first helper was so aloof and in that way hazardous to our children that we couldn't allow her out in public by herself with them because she would walk out into traffic and do otherwise scary things. We really wanted to make it work. We kept her with us for five months under constant training and communication with various people who could help us. It didn't work out and we had to dismiss her. But, we gave it our all. We were generous to her and it simply didn't work out.

    As far as your helper "lying"--naw, she's not lying, she's just intimidated by you. She already knows by the tone of your voice and expression on your face that you think she's hopeless, don't trust her and are watching her every move so even if she doesn't understand you she won't speak up and say so. In her culture, the best thing she can do is agree and smile and hope that no one catches on that she doesn't know--this is polite. She probably doesn't know that it's okay to do so. And it might not be "she hasn't been practicing her English" but it might instead be, "she has never used English very well to begin with" which could be the result of a lack of education. Unless she has a professional degree (such as nurse etc...and I've met quite a few helpers here who are professionally qualified nurses in their own country) it's doubtful her English was stellar to begin with.

    Just reading your post makes me uptight. You seem to have an idea in your mind of how everything in your home and life should run perfectly. Sometimes things don't. Like another poster said, we all have experienced "mommy brain" from taking care of children and it definitely can make you a hazard to yourself and others--doesn't mean anything except we're tired.

    If you don't think she can handle the car (does she have a car back in her own country? doubtful. even being around one might be intimidating) or boiling water on the stove, then don't have her do those tasks. You said that you do all the cooking and marketing so no need for her to be near the kitchen right? Show her how to use an electric kettle. Keep a playpen in the living room nearby so that she can sit the baby down safely if she has to do other things. Work with her instead of demanding she be perfect.
    Irishmom and mummymoo like this.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
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    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

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  2. #10
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    One more thing, she may wake up at 6.30am as that is when your son wakes up! Most babies around this age are early wakers (because they get REALLY hungry! bless them!) and unless you are looking after him in the mornings, she may not feel strong enough to volunteer this up to you.

  3. #11
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    From what I've read it seems like she's just plain tired. Your baby is most likely not sleeping through yet and until she does should perhaps room with you. The reason is so your helper can get a good nights sleep, to be ready to cae for the baby and do the household properly in the day time. Theoretically babies can be trained to sleep through by 4mths, so you arent a long way from that!

    What are your priorities? You need to set them out for yourself cause your helper can't do everything...though of course it seems like you and hubby are doing some things. The point is, if the baby sleeps in your room you can see him for longer, and do the 11pm feeing, and your helper can be asleep by 9pm. It's not about the length of sleep but the quality of sleep you get...some people only need 5hrs of "good" sleep to feel refreshed.

    As for the lying...I've heard the same...observe to see how long it lasts, it can be a problem if the safety of your child is at risk.
    carang likes this.

  4. #12
    GTI
    GTI is offline Registered User
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    Wow, thank you for all the replies and great advice.

    A few things. First of all, me and my wife (haha, I'm the husband), have made it clear that we want to treat the helper good. We were understanding in that this is a place that's new and she needs to accustom to it with some time. We have never gave her a rude, let alone intimidating look to her up until yesterday when she left the key and lied about it. I can't outright accuse her for lying but I wanted to make sure she knew I was't blindly buying to what she said. gave her a disappointed look. We sat down to tell her what we think of her and we made sure to praise her as well as tell her what needs to be worked on. In which she tells me she never had an incident where she did not understand what we said plus that she has enough sleep and does't want more. We've even asked if she's satisfied with the food and that if it were enough. All in all, we ask her if she's happy and she tells us that we're very pleasant ppl and that we're fair.

    Being over-worked? My wife was on mat. Leave plus annual leave for a couple weeks (baby came out weeks early thus 10 weeks mat. Leave) and she tells me that she does all her work in a couple hours and she literally asks her if she can do more. Great attitude! But the fact is she's killing herself and that its not sustainable, causing her to make tons of mistakes. I know she wants to show her value during this imaginary probation period, but we'd rather she keep the baby safe.

    On the sleep issue. She has plenty of time to wind down. She supposinglyly gets 8 to 11pm to do so. She chooses to sleep which makes us not able to see our baby. Take 11pm shift? the maid would wake up from the baby's cry and from us putting the baby back to sleep anyways. It would be hard for me to go in her room while she's asleep me being a guy. Wake up at night. Sure, we keep a record and see that he wakes up at 3 and 6:30am. Us taking that shift? I'm not sure if being sleep deprived going to work is a great idea. She gets to nap in the day for literally 3 hours. If I get 3 hours of power nap each day at work, I would't mind. Us keeping our jobs is equally important in all honesty!

    So what our original plan was to SHIFT the maid's bodyclock and circadiam by 3 hours meaning she starts sleeping at 11:30pm and wake up at 9am. That way she doesn't start getting sleepy at 8pm and instead gets wind-down time on her own each night. Plus we get to spend time with our baby after our dinner till 11pm. We told her twice and she keeps telling me 'it's ok sir.' It came to the point where she insisted she has enough sleep and that she just is plainly naturally forgetful...

    My wife and I agree that she's doing a great job with the baby and we agree, it's what matters most. But overall it's mega frustrating how we are constantly asking the maid to help us so that we can help her. She has done nothing but give us strange looks like we should not treat her too well and that her opinion is of no importance. She chooses to do more than requested and in turn makes mistakes which wrote don't prefer.


    Sent from my GT-I9300 using GeoClicks Mobile

  5. #13
    GTI
    GTI is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by genkimom View Post
    It's very rare for a three month old to sleep through the night. Who is sitting up with the baby when he or she wakes up at 2 am and 5 am (or more often, as the case may be)? I know my nine month old still gets up at least twice during the night; when she was three months, it was every two hours, round the clock. I was exhausted all day long and very forgetful too. Just because YOU are getting in lots of sleep at night doesn't mean SHE is, if she is the one caring for the baby at night too.

    You really should be the one to care for your own child when you are home and not let the helper do it. Not only will that give her a better rest, it will also allow your child to bond with you. Do you want to be one of those mothers who complains their children prefer their helper over you or cry if you hold them and only the helper will soothe them? babies bond with the person who cares for them, and that person should be YOU at night if if are working during the day and can't be there. Take back that 11 pm feeding (and there are probably 2 am and 5 am feedings too that you don't even know about as you sleep carefree)!

    As for "lying", I wouldn't call it lying as much as a cultural difference. My Filipino helper always says "yes ma'am, I understand" even when she doesn't understand a thing. It's her culture. You can call it lying if you like, but you will need lots of patience with this problem, because it probably won't go away. I have had my helper since April and she still hasn't learned how to ask a question or be up front when she doesn't understand. Everyone tells me this is typical among Filipinos, so I just have to keep telling her I want her to questions me, I want her to tell me she doesn't understand, I want to help her but I need to know what help she needs from me.

    The advice from the agency we went through was not to even consider firing a helper for at least 2-3 months, because it takes that long for them to adjust to their new job in your family. Your helper has only been there a few weeks; just be patient and ask her what YOU can do to help HER and try to work things out so she can get more rest and serve you better.
    I'm sorry, but you come off giving me the impression that we're terrible parents who are oblivious. I know this is a supportive community and I woukd love to keep it as such. But just to clarify.

    " Just because YOU are getting in lots of sleep at night doesn't mean SHE is, if she is the one caring for the baby at night too."

    I've made it clear in the post that I believe she is lacking sleep and that WE made her sleep and nap when SHE wants. I dare say that, alone shows we understand the hardships of taking care of our baby, no? Her response was that she will over ride us by waking up at 6:30 and drinking a lot of coffee.

    " (and there are probably 2 am and 5 am feedings too that you don't even know about as you sleep carefree)! "

    Wrong keep record on a notepad in which we check everyday. But mostly, you seriously think we don't know? Our son is 3 months old and I wrote that our maid has been with us for 3 weeks. That leaves more than 2 months without a maid if you do the math. You seriously think that within these 2 months we've chosen to just sleep through the night being oblivious on our baby's night feeding habits?

    I know you probably mean good, but you're ranting at us as being ignorant parents. You're coming off as being presumptious and ignorant of what's going on. If we seriously did't care so much, I'd probably not have chosen to write such a detailed account online.

    FYI before the maid came, me and my wife have taken every minute we could with the baby. I would't say it's terrible for us to want some free time now that my wife has to work and come back home at 7-7:30pm.

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using GeoClicks Mobile

  6. #14
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    GTI with the extra information you have posted it seems as if your helper really has a long day. Probably its more accurate to say she finishes her day at 11.30pm and starts at 6.30am which is long by anyone's estimation.

    Why do I say this? Well firstly, you yourself have said that you want to spend time with the baby between 8-11pm and then she does the feed, well she may be buzzing about doing little things for you during this period or just being 'alert' i.e. half listening to see if there are things she can do or you need her to do during this time because she does seem anxious to please. I know my helper initially did this as she had been trained to be on call on tap. So she's not really off during this time.

    Secondly, does she really finish at 8pm as your wife gets in at 7-7.30pm and then you guys need to cook then eat and THEN the helper can clear up. The time frame seems a bit tight for a 8pm finish.

    Thirdly, how can the helper get unbroken sleep until 9am when your son wakes up at 3am and 6.30am?

    Finally, yes when your wife was on maternity leave the helper could be efficient and finish all her chores with several hours and ask for more to do, but presumably there was a spare pair of hands (your wife's) there to look after the baby, cuddles, changing the nappy, putting him down/getting him up, settling him( this can take a long long time at times!) whilst the helper could efficiently whizz around and do the household chores. But now she has no help during the day and when the baby naps is the ONLY time she has to do the chores, so I don't know she is able to nap for the 3 hours you think she is. I had my first baby overseas with no help during the day (I had family help at night from hubby and family after they finished work), and I can tell you there is very little napping to be done when they are this young, mainly when I slept it was because I CRASHED in exhaustion and if I wasn't exhausted I would do household chores when my LO napped.

    I know you are trying to be understanding and fair to this helper and she does seem a good sort but I do think her working day is too long and you overestimate how much sleep she's able to get. I get that you both did the grunt work before the helper came along but I am equally sure that as the moms and dads, if your wife was having an exhausting day, she'd be like, I won't wash the dishes, or mop the floors, do the laundry or wash the car today or even this week. Also you'd pitch in and help her do domestic chores. The helper has no such luxury. Your helper seems like one of the good ones so I hope you all can work something out.

    PS In terms of giving the helpers dirty looks or calling them out about their lies, I personally have no problems with that. I'm a very upfront person, and I think it works out better than beating about the bush, well anyway its worked out for me.
    carang and genkimom like this.

  7. #15
    laminkins is offline Registered User
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    It's a tough one. My helper has been with us sincethe baby was born. Kid is now 2 and they have been sharing a room since day 1. Even now, the helper gets woken in the middle night sometimes coz the kid wakes up and wants a cuddle. We used to have a second helper that does everything else that is non kid helper, now we just have the one lived in helper and a part time that comes everyday to do thus household chores, so helper one only does kid related stuff.

    Looking after a baby/ toddler is a lot of work. I wouldn't be able to do that full time and do household chores (such as washing the car). Sharing a room with a baby means you get poor sleep. I personally think you are overloading your helper. Don't forget, we really only pay them 4-5k a month, how can we expect they can do more than we can?
    carang likes this.

  8. #16
    genkimom is offline Registered User
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    Sorry, GTI, I didn't mean to sound like I'm bullying you, but it upsets me when people expect their help to be everything and do everything and get upset when they make mistakes, especially when the help has apparently taken over complete care of their newborns. Your wife returns home around 7:30-ish and the helper "sleeps" at 8? Really? And remember when you did all the babycare a few weeks ago? Did you get much sleep? Did all the chores get done perfectly? Did you forget a few things? Really, she's human, for goodness sake. I agree with the above poster that the reality is she is probably not able to sleep for three hours during the day, nor is she able to sleep any earlier than 11:30 and her sleep is probably interrupted at least once; she's exhausted. If she were your wife, you would be very understanding and helpful but because she's your helpful it's somehow different. That bothers me to no end.

    It also bothers me when, a year down the road, when babies get to the stage where they cling on to their primary caregiver and refuse to be held by anyone else, they choose the helper and refuse to be held or cuddled by their parents and they get all upset and whine on this forum and others "Why does my child cry when I try to hold her? How come only the helper can soothe her?" And it's always because, they have chosen their careers over child care. You said it's more important that you and your wife get good rest so you can do your jobs properly. your current schedule means that you get very few opportunities to play with your child and care for them.

    Your baby has already forgotten you were his caregiver three weeks ago. They live in the present. Bonding comes from what care you provide each and every day.A half and hour here and there, and a Sunday a week will not be enough to make you a parent in the eyes of your child!

    I'm not saying this to be a troll or a bully. I'm giving you a warning because I think bonding with parents is incredibly important and I am always saddened when children are more bonded to their helpers, who are transient and could leave the family any time, than their parents. It's very sad and this is the path you are going down, so it's better to think about it now and make changes to your arrangement while it's still new and no harm's done.

    Good luck to you and your new family! It's all very new to you, I understand, and you are doing your best. And so is your helper. Things will settle down once she gets used to her environment and things become more routine for her. Just be patient.
    Lousmum, carang, Irishmom and 2 others like this.

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