MAID TALK with ‘Ronke Gabriels-Omolegbe
I have known Ronke personally for quite some time and I can say that she is one super woman. With or without a maid, she is someone who most of the time has things under control. Just yesterday, she put up a post on her Instagram saying she has accepted that it is okay to be an imperfect mum sometimes.(Which means she is perfect most of the time. Hahaha! :-P)
One thing I also love about her is that she really understands the importance of having and maximizing the gift of help. I didn’t even second-guess the thought when it popped up in my mind to feature her on MAID TALK.
In the day, she works at a development organization where she puts her discipline in Public Health Education to work, and after work, she spends her time developing recipes that inspire mothers to cook healthy, creative and nutritious meals for their children. Especially school lunch which can get very monotonous .
She runs quarterly cooking classes called “MOM CHEF” ; an interesting space where mothers (and some fathers) come to learn child nutrition tips and practical ways of cooking, healthy, affordable meals for their children. She also develops and supply lunch menu for schools and trains family chefs to meet the nutritional demands of children in the home.
When shes not at work, she loves to hangout with her very supportive husband and three lovely children.
Here’s how our chat went…..
- Is hiring help necessary as a woman?
It is necessary. Because as the family grows, the responsibility increases even for stay-at-home-mums. A woman is called to being many other things outside the home so at some point we need support with domestic work so that we can attend to other life assignments.
- What is one essential thing you ensured you put in place before your help resumed?
I learnt overtime. Maybe I wasn’t prepared for the first help,but with each one that I had to hire, I learnt something new from the previous one. Right now,there MUST be a time-table or a guide for the chores of the week. Its like your to-do list at work so it guides them also and eliminates excuses like ‘I forgot”. For example…kids laundry on Wednesday and Friday, window cleaning on Tuesday and Friday. If the floors have to be cleaned everyday, then it should reflect from Monday to Friday on the schedule. Other tasks could come up that are not in it but the schedule reflects the basic chores, as well as rules in the home,one or two scriptures that they have to recite to encourage them too.
- What is a No-No for you when it comes to hiring?
A no-no is one that we don’t understand each others language. It will frustrate both parties. Also, If I notice you are disrespectful during the interview,because some can’t just hide it. It’s a No-No.Side note : (True Story: She told me once that she was outsourced a maid who spoke only Hausa. Nobody in her house speaks Hausa. Lool. These agents sef!!!)
- What has been your worst experience with a maid?
Hmmm… There was one who wasn’t getting the hygiene rules, she was tough to train. She eventually became better. How do you not wash your hands when you come out of the bathroom,then you want to feed the kids???
- How long has your present maid been with you and can you share with us what you do to keep her effective?
4 months. We go through her schedule during the weekend, I give her one or two chapters of a book to read because she loves to read and she is educated to a certain level. I also share scriptures on diligence,honesty and loyalty with her. I take her to customers I shop from so that when she has to go back, it is easier for her to bargain if I’m not there.
- If there is one thing you wished your maid could do, what would that be?
I wish she can drive. Lol. Okay that was a joking. One thing I would have loved in the previous maids is being able to supervise homework so that they could support when I’m doing weeknight dinner after work. My current help can do this. She knows when she has been excellent, she receives extra favors. Lol.
- What is the most important characteristic you look out for or try to cultivate in your maid?
For me its honesty and loyalty. Not being afraid to tell me the truth, then I can trust you. To an extent. I also look out for friendliness with the kids, I always tell them, I can hire a cleaner, (and she noticed that when I brought in someone to do thorough cleaning). I need someone who can sit with the kids at playtime and be nice to them and be accountable.Side note: I always say that your maid has to be able to go beyond cleaning or maintaining cleanliness to doing things that qualify her as a ladder-holder. Anybody can clean. That is why the things that bother you the most are never about cleaning but about character.
- What is the weirdest reason a maid has ever given you for leaving?
I don’t find their reasons weird even though a lot of them don’t have strong reasons. I like the ones that have to go and study or learn a vocation. I have had about three of those.
- What do you have to say to women who are stressed out because of the fear of hiring?
If you really don’t have to, maybe you shouldn’t. But if you are stressed out, you need help, you may hire one that comes and leaves at the end of the day if the thought of a live-in freaks you out. But please remember, you need help. You need to be healthy to be able to give back to your family and fulfill purpose.
One common activity I have noticed among maid employers who are enjoying their maid experience is that they find time on weekends to do a review of the past week with their maids and plan ahead for the new week. If you haven’t started doing that, you should try it out. It works. I call mine the Sunday evening 15 minutes rule.
Another thing I learnt from my chat with Ronke is how deliberate she is in handling her maid’s affairs. From preparing schedules to reading to scriptures. You’re doing a great job mama! Welldone.Drop a comment to let me know what you gained from Ronke’s chat.