Posted by: Brigitte Rozario Post(s) by this blogger
Just as there are many stories of wonderful maids who are part of the family, there are an equal number of horror stories about maids abusing children. What do parents think about the whole issue? Do you leave your children alone with the maid while you're at work? How safe is that? Would you trust the maid to take care of your kids?
ParenThots speaks to two mothers to find out their opinions.
Kok Wai Yin
Kok Wai Yin, mother of three aged 2, 11 and 12:
I don't have a maid looking after my kids. My baby is with the babysitter who is also my neighbour and my two older kids are home alone.
But we do employ a maid to look after my mum who is not very mobile. My parents, brother and the maid live together just six blocks away from my house.
I don't think you can trust a maid completely. You're definitely worried at first but when they start doing things your way, then you think that okay she seems to know what's going on. You keep an eye on her but slowly let go and trust a bit more as time passes but you can never trust her completely.
Even if she seems trustworthy, you
still won't know what goes on at home when you're not there. That's
why I don't have one at home to look after my kids. But if I had no
choice and had to have one, then I think it is best to install a CCTV
There's no way for you to ensure she is trustworthy when you hire here. You just have to hope and keep checking. It's best to have someone around to supervise her. With my mum's maid, I constantly check on what she does with my mum and I even ask my mum about her in her presence. This way she knows that we actually discuss her and I will confront her nicely with what my mum tells me and find out her side of the story.
My kids know that the maid's job is to look after grandma. My kids are taught to take their own serving of food, clean up the table after eating and not to expect the maid to do it.
I have been wanting to install a CCTV in my parents' house to keep an eye on the maid as my father (82 years old) is also a bit too old to monitor her. During my surprise visits I often find her watching TV in the room with my mum.
Finally, I think you should only employ a maid if:
1. It is REALLY necessary;
2. There is somebody (parents/ in-laws) to supervise her;
3. You install a CCTV; and
4. You are able to give and take and do not expect too much from them. If you are not able do it, you will have a hard time adjusting to the new employee and whatever she does will just not be right!
Johana Johari, mother of two teenagers aged 14 and 17:
In total, I have had four maids. The longest stay was just one year. I never left my daughters alone with the maid until my elder child was old enough to know between what is right and wrong, and articulate enough to tell me what my maid did or didn't do. Why? Simply because I don't know them well enough to totally entrust them with the safety of my children.
Of the four maids I had, three were mothers. The one who stayed the longest with us was barely 17 years old and had to leave due to her parent's request. The others left for various reasons after three to six months.
I always had a relative or a family member supervising my maids. So there was no need for a webcam (which we didn't have yet back then) or surprise visits.
The horror stories about maids which have surfaced on the Internet and newspapers have definitely influenced my level of trust in maids in general.
I'm lucky to have a wonderful family as my support system in the sense that they agree to supervise my maids while they care for my children.
I would rely on my mum or sisters-in-law to help keep an eye on the maid while I was out.
I think its unsafe to leave children to strangers. A new maid is a stranger until she has earned our trust over a reasonable period of time.
While I understand some parents may be strapped for choice and feel they have no other alternative other than leaving their children alone with the maid, I wish they would consider taking several safety steps in ensuring the well-being of their children during their absence.
Even with the availability of a webcam and/or familial support system, take time to observe the characteristics and personality of these people you've employed as your maids. I believe six months is a good duration for probation.
You can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of children. Would you leave your children in the care of a stranger?