What Your Maid’s Character is Saying About You
When the name of some organizations or banks are mentioned, there is a picture that most likely first comes to your mind. Over time, many of us have attributed these pictures or characteristics to these organizations – based on one, two or more interactions we had with the staff who work there, or the experiences of others who we trust. You hear things like “They are rude in this bank, so I can’t bank with them”.
In reality, these organizations may have been in existence before the particular staff who gave you that impression was hired and would probably be in existence long after the staff is gone. Yet, you have chosen to see the two entities as one and the same. You are right. You are supposed to.
It is the same with our homes. So many maid employers think that they can be excused from whatever it is that their maid exhibits. She’s constantly looking dirty, but they are quick to point out to people that she has a bad hygiene and that is her choice, as long as she cleans your home well. No. The only reason she has remained dirty is because you have allowed it.
The maid might probably be rude to you and your guests, but you explain it away, saying no one is perfect. Yet, you know deep down how it embarrasses you, but because she’s good to your kids, you feel you are left with no choice. You have missed a crucial point. The only reason she can get comfortable being rude is because you have permitted it.
Your maid is the probably the weakest link in your circle, that means she can be easily replaced.
So, whatever character she exhibits is a reflection of either of two things: what you have permitted, or what you don’t have adequate knowledge on how to deal with. If you pay close attention, you will realize that when she is described by people, she is described in relation to you. “Do you know Bola? Ore’s maid”.
Therefore, whatever you don’t want tagged to you shouldn’t be allowed. I have heard countless stories of maid employers who have constantly lowered their bar of tolerance, and have easily become manipulated by their maids. These maids know that their employers have been pushed to a point where they think they have no option; bad maid experiences, high turnover of maids after investing so much, and so the employers are willing to overlook whatever bad character it is that may try to overshadow the good work the maids do.
One thing you can be certain about with maids who exhibit such traits, is that they are always so skilled in their jobs, thereby making it extremely hard for their employers to choose. The end points of these kinds of relationships are pre-determined. They never end well. The person who has the upper hand always leaves the other person devastated. It is either the maid leaves when you may need her the most or after she has caused so much damage that will take a while for you to recover from.
As much as you, and people around you would like to cast the total blame on her, be aware that she was only able to, because she saw a window of opportunity which only got wider as time went by. It probably appeared harmless to you at first, until it became a wild fire that you couldn’t put out.
I am by no means advocating for perfect maids, so that you don’t set out to look for one. You can’t find one anywhere. Your maid will have some shortcomings. But that isn’t an excuse for you to ignore warnings or choose to keep lowering your standard of what is acceptable.
If you have found yourself in this situation, it is best to acknowledge what you can address and face it promptly and also recognize the things that you can’t handle and take a decision that protects you. You may be able to talk or train a maid out of her rude behaviour but may not be able to address her promiscuity. So, even if she’s the best at housekeeping or childcare, understand the risks involved in exposing your home to a promiscuous person and take prompt action.
In the end, whatever you choose to do says either of these two things: that you decided to stick by your standards or values and let go of whatever you couldn’t handle, or you gave in to the fear of losing out and lost yourself and your values in the process.
Once she becomes and remains your employee, it ceases to be about her alone.
Note: This article was first written for and published on Bella Naija here