We finally succumbed to the pressures of hiring a domestic maid. After numerous sleepless nights, unearthly morning calls, infinite changing of diapers, laundry washes ed infinitum, my wife and I decided that we need help to being our lives back to some semblance of order. While we do enjoy spending time taking care of our cute little 22 month old boy, the sheer toll of having to juggle hectic careers, studies (for my wife), housework and a hyperactive toddler crumbled our fortitude.
After deciding on a maid agency, we set out last Saturday together with my sister-in-law (for her impeccably good advice, sharp eagle-eye, and experience in maid hiring). At the training centre, located within a neighbourhood shopping centre, we saw about 20 odd "trainee" maids undergoing training. They were taught how to clean the fans, polish the latrines, mop the floors, iron the clothes and so on.
Throughout the process, it slowly dawned on me how tough their lives were (and how fortunate we Singaporeans have it). The lot of a maid is not a bed of roses. First, they have to leave their families and homes for years at a time. Then, they have to put up a large amount of money to the maid agency, which means that they have to work - without pay - for up to 8 months during the initial period. Many maids are also not given day offs, except those from the Philippines, and they have to be at the beck and call of their employer - literally - 24 by 7.
I muttered silently to myself that we must endeavour to be good employers and fellow human beings when managing our maid. LIke us, they are also mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. They also have their dreams, their aspirations, their wants, needs and desires. Just as we need to take a break to rest our minds, bodies and spirits from the stresses of modern life, so too do our maids.
After listening to the recommendations of the consultant at the agency, we finally decided on a maid. Her name is Wati and she is a 23 year old Indonesian lady who was recently divorced and has a 3 year old daughter. Wati will join us in mid October. Let's hope that our decision - and hers - will be a win-win arrangement for everybody.