Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who needs a maid anyway?

I had a maid last month. A part time one who happened to be looking for jobs around my housing area. And my cousin's wife has decided to employ her on a part time basis. I thought it would be good to have someone help with the housework while I concentrate on the kids and work. She was supposed to be coming in 3 x half day/week. And that sounded fine...until...

She started to slacken. At first she did her cleaning quite well. And the ironing was ok too. Then the quality of her work slowly went down. I taught her how to mop according to the way I like my floor mopped, i.e dry the floor with old towels so that it's more 'squeaky' clean. Which she didn't do despite her "ya, Mrs". She's supposed to be working 4.5 hours per day, which she conveniently reduced to 3, or 3.5 hours. She couldn't even finish the laundry I assigned her to iron on a given day, which consisted of about 5-6 pairs of uniforms/work clothes.

I gently reminded her of doing her work well. Which of course got the response "ya, Mrs". And being the way I am, I couldn't bring myself to raise my voice even though it was getting a bit too much after a few gentle reminders.

Then the day came when my cousin's wife decided to let her go. At first I wanted to keep her because...well, it was good to have some help since the hubby works far away in KL. But when I checked her work on that last day, I decided that I couldn't keep her anymore. The house looked like it hadn't been cleaned properly and she ironed only 3 pairs of the clothes I asked her to. It suddenly occured to me that because I AM TOO NICE, she was starting to take advantage. (Well I gave her old clothes and electronic appliances, and even lent her money when she came to me with some sad story of her son needing the money in Indonesia, which all in all amounted to her 1 month part time salary ).

That was it. I might seem to be a pushover but once I make my decisions, I stand by them strongly. I told her over the weekend that I wasn't keeping her anymore. Being the talker she is, she called me relentlessly asking to be kept! I told her I didn't have any more money to pay her and that the money she owed me was her salary for the time she worked with me. She tried every possible tactic to coax me...from telling me she would still come next Monday to work so that she could pay off all her debts, (my response was I consider that settled. No need to worry about owing me anything), to demanding me to pay her RM80 more because she had worked extra 4 half-days for me.

That really got me. I became so mad, because I have given her so MUCH extras and she still had the cheek to demand? But considering that I fired her without a notice, I decided to give her that RM80. But two could play a game. So I wrote in a little note to her when I put the money in an envelope, that I was deducting RM15, for the price of a brand-new umbrella I gave her a few days before and for her bus fares on one of the days she came to work when she whined of not having money even to pay her way home. And I decided to put in plain language how I found her work was. That it was so sub-standard, and that the chores she couldn't even finish in 4.5 hours, I easily did in 2 hours (which I really did on Sunday). I told her how calculative I thought she was, not even grateful of all the things I gave her including a radio and an electric kettle, but instead demanded a lot. And ended the note with DO NOT BOTHER ME ANYMORE.

Surprise, surprise, she still tried to call me a few times which I rejected, of course. And finally smsed me to say thank you, she won't bother me anymore...and tried to call again which prompted me to delete her mobile no from my contact list forever.

Since yesterday I was maid-less but not helpless. I found that doing 1 hour of mopping and general cleaning in the morning actually gave me a wonderful, much-needed exercise. And I can actually do the ironing during lunch time after taking the kids home from school. Most importantly, it saves me heartache because I know I can clean up better than the previous maid! What an experience...

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