Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Maid Chronicle

My friend and fellow blogger, Gabriela, had a similar post some time ago...
sorry if I copied your title Gabs, but I thought that I would finally put in my two cents about my maids.

First there was Venezuela:

1. The first maid was found soon after arriving because of various social functions that I had to attend, and could not leave my 4 and 1 1/2 year old. She lasted a week.
One week....why?
The first time that I left my 1 1/2 year old daughter, she cried the whole entire time that I was away...which was only an hour and a half! The lady was bouncing her up and down as she was screaming in a fit when I got back home. Needless to say, I did not let her alone with them again, and she knew that by the time Friday came, that her services were no longer needed.
Really, it was quite easy to let her go, she understood, and even mentioned how she just couldn't take care of my little girl.
Mind you, my girl was (and still is) the easiest going, calm little one around!

2. The next maid seemed wonderful. And truthfully, she was for the first year or so that we had her. She came highly recommended from a lady who worked in the US Embassy, and even traveled with this lady when she took an assignment in Moldova. I got this maid when she returned from there, and felt so lucky!
She took to my little girl and my son right away. I felt comfortable leaving them with her. She cleaned, ironed and did most things very well. As time rolled on, she moved in with us, with her then 13 year old daughter. It was like having a built in big sister/babysitter.
They were fun to have around. We bought a little extra food for them and they generally stayed out of our business when the evenings came around, unless we all wanted to hang out together and chat or watch tv with the kids, etc...
Well, after about the 2nd year, she started slacking off around the house a bit. The she started to get picky about what gifts I was going to bring for them when I traveled to the US. Well, I should have listened to my ever wise husband and let her go then and there...but it was too hard. I was very accustomed to her and her daughter in my house. The kids were extremely comfortable with them, which made it easy to do things outside of the house. Then the guilty feelings set in also. I couldn't imagine who she would get a job with, seeing as very few expats were coming in to Venezuela then because of certain aspects of the company.
Well, by the time we left, I knew that I had made the wrong decision in keeping her. She wanted everything from me and gave nothing in return in the end. She criticized the gifts that I gave her, she didn't clean very well and they both had an attitude towards me that made me extremely uncomfortable (which is hard when they are in MY house!).
It was not the best good-bye, though we have spoken since then, and the coldness has worn off through the years.

Next we have Brasil:

1. I only had one maid in Brasil...
and yes, I should have let her go along the way also.
Once again, she came recommended from an acquaintance. She worked hard in the beginning and always had a smile on her face. She sometimes sang around the house and generally took good care of the house. She was wonderful with my animals. I left her with the animals instead of a kennel a few times when we traveled. She was sweet with the kids, too.
So what went wrong? Well, she just didn't clean very well. I am not a good task master. I do not like to always have to tell people what they need to be doing. I couldn't understnad why things were not clean...where the time went and still by the end of a long day, the house was still not clean. She started showing up late and leaving early. Again, ever wise husband said, find another lady...and me, feeling guilty for this sweet, smiling friend that I just couldn't deny helping out.

That's what it is feel so much for these people. they are there, working and trying to scrape by on the money we give them. I feel like I am helping them so much when I pay them, and they have the biggest smiles on their face. You know that you are helping them put food on their table.
But in the end, they need to do their job also.

She stayed with us through the end, and even took Coal, our dog that couldn't make the trip to Atyrau. She stayed smiling and was always a help with the animals. We parted on good terms, even if my house wasn't always the cleanest.

Come to the here and now: Kazakhstan:

1. Well, I have been here since the end of October. I hired a maid within a few weeks of arriving, and I have let her go.
Yes, I made the decision on my own that she was not living up to her end of the bargain
(read: lazy, not really cleaning, not sure she liked the animals nor took care of them too well the 4 weeks we were away, etc...). I was not going to get a relationship going any longer if I knew that I was not happy with her services...and remember, I do not even have any of my belongings yet! Imagine when my furniture and knick-knacks get here! What then?!
If she could not keep my animals happy, that was a big downer also. We plan on traveling quite a bit while we are here, and there are not any kennels. I need someone to love my Bella and Tiger close to how I do.

So, I am proud of myself. I finally was able to separate myself from a maid, and really not feel too awful about it. Cold? No, just a good boss of a job that is now mine, but at least it is how I like it!


BLOGitse said...

I know what you mean.
We've had several cleaning ladies.
None of them cleaned as I would but it helped me then. So it was better than nothing.
Here we clean ourselves. I don't trust anybody here.
You're not cold. You're practical. And the boss. Well done!

mythopolis said...

I don't have a maid, but I did have to hire on a 'helper' for my mother when her Alzheimer's made it hard to take care of herself. At first, she seemed fine, but in a short while she was either in another room reading a book, or listening to music on her headphones, or talking to somebody on the phone. I dismissed her within a few weeks. The second was good. A sincere care-taker who pampered mom, was always doing her hair and nails. (Often at a ridiculous frequency, but mom obviously loved the attention.) They would sit and talk, even though mom often could not remember what she was talking about. It's all about the heart of the person. Some just want to watch the clock and pick up their check. Now and then, we find someone who really cares...who is a REAL caretaker! This second person got paid, and then some. And it was worth it.

GutsyWriter said...

I'm the maid at home, but now that my three sons are out of the house, there is far less to clean. I remember in Belize the caretakers received expensive gifts from our US neighbors and we hated feeling like they expected us to give them stuff too.