I was reading a friend’s post on her helper’s no-show at the airport and it inevitably brought me to think about my ex-helper. While my girlfriend and her family waited eagerly for their helper to arrive after her home-leave, I sent my helper home after two years of service. I decided not to take any more sh*t and look after my two young daughters myself.
I had a lot of struggles with my ex-helper, although there were times I think she has done her job well. She adores my children and I had no qualms leaving them with her for an hour or two while I rushed to the market or run errands. But that was it. She gave very little domestic help and often had to be reminded to do simple everyday chores; like vacuuming, sweeping/ mopping. And whenever she made a mistake, she would glare back at me and lie straight-faced. I used to go hopping mad whenever she does that then I started asking God for peace and calm to handle her defiant attitude- and I got it, I would breeze past her and show her the evidence only to see her smiling sheepishly. See, it was to a point that I would have disagreements with the husband because of her. He feels that I should overlook her mistakes and laziness. But it got worse, and so did her attitude. At the end of the day, we decided to give her an ultimatum (the numerous prep talk wasn’t going anywhere)- leave to work in Hong Kong (her first choice before choosing Singapore, but she came to Singapore after the Manila hostage crisis in August, 2010 for fear that she would be mobbed in Hong Kong) or stay with us with a raise in her salary. I was constantly afraid that she would make a mistake like turning the gas stove on without realizing it or lose the house keys or whatever that would stress me up big time. Because I knew that she was distracted yet do not know how to tell us what she wants, I was very unhappy. I remember praying to God for an answer and the next day, she told me that she wants to work in Hong Kong but feared the unknown. And I thought that was God’s answer to me: that this person has no intention to work with us anymore and wants to pursue greener pastures in Hong Kong. I also thought that the longer she worked with us, she will create more problems because she’s not happy working in Singapore in the first place.Of course, I wanted her to leave my house immediately.
My dear husband is a very kind man and he offered to accompany her to the agency who deals with maids planning to work in Hong Kong, in case she gets cheated. Both my husband and I went with her. After some fact-finding, she seemed more determined to go to Hong Kong, or so we thought. Over lunch, she told us that she doesn’t have any savings and going to work in Hong Kong would mean no money left to buy presents for her children. I couldn’t believe my ears! But I couldn’t believe my husband’s reaction even more!!! He snapped at her, saying that that should be the least of her concern now and she should prioritize. He also promised to pay for the renewal of her passport and some extra cash on top of her salary, and we thought that would help her. Then just a few days before her departure, she told me that we had forced her to go to Hong Kong and I swear that my blood vessels burst. I cannot believe that a 40-year-old woman, mother of two, would say such ungrateful things, immature things. For her, it didn’t matter at all. I was a little heartbroken and very angry but I took it in my stride and told myself not to blow up because I am not at her level.
Anyway, it has been three months since she left and never a day comes where I wish she was still with us. It was a matter of time we lived without a helper and it just couldn’t have come at a better time. My older girl has learned to fold the laundry, wash and cook rice (although it still needs some fine tuning), pack for any activities the next day and bathe herself. I don’t cook much these days and I’ve become closer to my girls and we make it a point to do more things together, taking the public transport instead of driving the car, and sharing a bath every once in a while. It is tough work and I do not have any help from my mom or mother in-law. But I have to remind myself that housework can wait but my girls can’t; if they have something to share, that is that only moment.
Since she has gone, only Beatrice has asked me where she has gone but not Emma (the one whom the helper adored). In fact, when the helper carried Emma at the airport she struggled and broke free, crying for her dad. I thought that was unusual as Emma was closer to her than Beatrice was. The girls have not cried because they miss the helper and I think it is a good thing. I do not want them to give their hearts to someone who is just going to be with them for a while, which is why I have always made an effort to do everything with them instead of letting the helper do. And I knew from the day my helper came to work for us, she would always return home to her family…to where she belonged.
Outing at ViVoCity…