The last 3 months have been the most difficult ones I have ever had with house helps. In that span, I have had 4 House Helps come and go in what has been a very confusing time for our two daughters who can hardly keep up with their faces. They are still calling the current one Winnie. Her name is Hannah and Winnie was the one who left less than a week ago.
The above is not unique to me and in numerous occasions its not because as mothers we are harsh to House Helps, its more complicated than that.
Most mothers have their own experiences with helps, some bizarre, some tragic, some heart wrenching. In this day and age where the husband’s salary is not sufficient for all the house hold’s requirements (bills, school fees, mortgage etc) alot of women are finding themselves juggling between bearing and bringing up children and a career in the ever demanding corporate world. Therefore, house helps are a sad reality that we have come to accept. This is despite the fact that, a good number of women would rather bring up their own children moulding them with certain values only a mother can instil.
Why do house helps leave?
1. This was plan B.
This mostly happens with the young 20 something year olds whose dream is to either find a man to marry, get a job at an exhibition shop, a salon or go to Dubai.
They are in your house buying time, always on the phone texting, calling or on whats app. They are always absent minded and will need you to give instructions more than once. They can be very irritating especially to young first time mothers.
2. Husband’s advances
There are men who just can’t let a house help do her work. They always confuse her role to that of a 2nd wife. You might argue that sometimes its the wives that drive their husbands to sleep with the help but this does not justify the behaviour. There are some boundaries that should not be crossed as the help will lack any respect for the wife and believe she is entitled to certain things like the remote or flirting with the husband in the wife’s presence.
There are many helps who are confronted with sexual advances and decide to quit instead of playing along. Wives who have to deal with such husbands take time before realizing why all their good helps are leaving. Unfortunately, until they get the very older and mature women, they have to keep losing good helps.
3. Bore dome
Being indoors with the same routine every day except Sundays can get boring especially for those helps who work in homes where Afrosinema TV channels are locked.
Most, after doing it for years decide to bite the bullet and go back upcountry to start a business working in the salon or the market.
4. Newbies who can’t stand kids
Its not every woman who can stand kids especially when they are very young and in need of care every minute (between day 1 of birth – 1 year)
There are those girls who decide to try their hand at being house helps, or those (majority) who are forced by circumstances such as, not enough money for her to continue schooling, a family to support etc. Some of these girls do not naturally like kids, for some, they can’t stand kids. However, they think they can grow into liking kids.
These are the worst types as they make tragic mistakes like dipping your child in hot bathing water (they forgot they had not cooled it).
Some do realize that they are not cut out for it and quit before causing a disaster.
5. Mature women who can’t stand kids any more
There are those women who, at the age of 30 or so, are still seeking employment as house helps despite having a family. Some of them have seen it all and brought up their kids through a lot of hardship. For them to bring up your child where everything is in abundance , they either become indifferent to your child or become cruel to them.
Most of these women tend to be very good at house hold chores such as cleaning the house, clothes, mending, etc. however, they don’t pay much attention to your child or will be curt when speaking to them. There are those who read the signs, when you keep complaining about the way they are handling your child. Most tend to get fired.
When to fire your house help, is in our follow up post