It’s amazing how this word MAID conjures an array of emotions in our world especially those of relief and stress at the same time.
In India having maids and domestic help has been a traditional thing and even in modern times we haven’t changed as much but the maids situation has definitely changed. Right from the Maid’s monetary expectations, their timings, their attitudes, integrity and most importantly their loyalty.
In an environment where both parents are working but also have kids and parents to look after, does know that the maids have now become indispensable.
Now with increase in costs of living also for both enrichment of self and utilizing their talents/education women want to and have started working and consequently demand for good hardworking diligent maids have hit the sky. Also since conditions are almost desperate at times the maids have the power of calling the shots, as the demand is clearly higher than the supply.
Another big issue and reason the maid issues have gone berserk since a working woman is also a mother thus a trusted resource for child care is of utmost importance. I am sure all of us have gone through this turmoil of hiring maids for our children as hardly any decent day care centers or educated childcare nannies exist in our part of the world. There being no other options other than obligations from family members unless they willingly volunteer to share the responsibility with the parents the maid becomes the only option. Some women are lucky to have the correct maid come her way and take good care of their beloved children other only hope for something like that.
Each woman must have gone through these pangs when its an 9 am meeting maid hasn’t reached till 8.45 am as she obviously that very day got late.
That friend’s get together lunch which got planned after ages cant be attended as suddenly that morning only that maid says aaj nahi aa paaoungi madam reasons obviously don’t matter. There are tons of these examples but a common thread is our dependence on these maids and how it affects our daily life and plans in general. Such sudden holidays of maids do create a clear imbalance of time and work to be done in absence of the said help and thus even stress.
That is what got me thinking that how come I am so paralysed and all my friends abroad with two kids, jobs, no family support are managing to do everything I even cant think of doing as I am caught up with regular household and child care activities.
It struck me that we need to free ourselves from this dependence for that there needs to be a huge change in the mindsets of every Indian family.
To free ourselves from this Maid fixation it’s important to become a bit relaxed first. (Easier said than done, I agree) Many times the housework isn’t as difficult as the feeling of having to do it and the related pressures we put our minds through. Also the men and the boy/ girl children need to understand that now in absence of constant help they need to help with whatever they can. Trust me men are ready to help its the women who like to ridicule other women that they would never ever make their husbands or sons enter the kitchen. This mindset needs to change if a man can eat good food, wear clean clothes and expect a clean and tidy house then he should also be able to help in cooking washing and tidying up the house. It’s not just a women’s thing anymore. Many men I know are ready to help but there are so many ridiculous assumptions and jokes made out of this situation that no one even broaches this topic of men helping in the household chores.
In a nutshell the process of freedom is always going to be difficult and challenging but it needs to be done.
To reduce the dependence we need to empower ourselves as follows:
1. With self-reliance that in simple terms is trying to do our own work just like anyone in the UK or US would do it. Tough thought (even as I suggest it) but its one of the most important ones.
2. Set up a system of electronic gadgets that can make household work easier. Easy household appliances like the vertical mops, steam irons, food processor units, dishwashers, dryers etc. so they dont they know that We can survive without them.
3. Plan daily menus in advance and stick to them. Also for those social get togethers don’t kill yourself making the seven-course meal because people who love you will not care what you fed them but would like to spend quality time with you. Other who talk about your supposed lousy menus well do you really have to care then.
4. Ask your spouse to help also in the housework and stop passing snide comments or judgments on other working women’s home tidiness, cooking skills, parenting ideas. Live by your own choices and let live others by their own. Least of all do not compare yourself with that supposed perfect householder woman. You can try to be good like then but comparing will only make you more miserable. You can only do this much so do it as diligently as you can. Perfection is a journey not a destination.
5. Teach your kids to clean up or pick their own messes as per their age since if you are constantly telling them to ask the maid/helpers to do it, its not the children’s fault to expect you to clean up in case there is no maid present.
6. If available share details with each other about good housekeeping, catering services, manpower agencies who are transparent and charge reasonably so the big Diwali cleaning or that huge party you want to throw or just a regular family get together can be handled even if you don’t have a maid. Though this is a sector which is taking baby steps in India it seems like the future.
I am not saying that life with out maids is possible immediately but its definitely coming soon so might as well equip your self and adapt to the change in our environment in order to reduce the excessive maids dependence and the related stress that is generated.
Life is about changing times and best lived when we can accept reality and free our spirits to enjoy each day.
Support from these other working women is obviously required but they should not be crutches we cannot walk without instead they should be the extra pair of wings that can help us soar higher in the sky of life where we are already flying. Happy Independence to everyone…a small mindset change will create a huge impact. Cheers.