Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Maid-en Venture



When girls turn into homemakers there are a lot of first-time incidents that they experience. The first time that they cook an entire meal by themselves, first time they go shopping to set up their own homes, first time they look into the kitchen shelves to make a to-buy grocery list. I had such a first-time experience after 3 years of my marriage. The first-time I had to “deal” with a maid. 

Indian women can afford to lose a good husband, but losing a good maid is akin to losing the right arm for a working woman. Till few months back I had not been exposed to the intricacies of dealing with the maid. Before marriage, my mom used to take care of these mundane things and I was happily ignorant of the fact that one day I would be facing these situations and I would be in her shoes.

After marriage, since I and my husband lived alone we dint feel the need to keep a maid. We cooked, cleaned, washed without outsourcing our work. I was proud of the fact that I worked and ran a house without a maid. I was self-sufficient. But when my baby daughter came along, we couldn’t help but hire a domestic maid. And along with a maid came a lot of other headaches that I was blissfully ignorant till then.

Initially I never administered much and let her do her work without looking over her shoulders. I hate nagging anyone, I mean I hate it when my boss does it to me, so I was sure that I could trust my maid to do her work properly without me having to guide her. Hah! Yes, I was so na├»ve. Maybe I was scared that if I asked her to clean under the bed or behind the shelves then, she would leave in a huff and I would be left holding the broom in my left hand and working my laptop with my right hand. 

So I turned a blind eye when she missed a spot on the floor, or when she “forgot” to clean our balcony. I would reassure myself that tomorrow I would be firm and ask her to clean properly in an authoritative voice. I kept procrastinating the task of reproaching her, thinking that the longer I delay it, the better. I was so wrong.

You see, I am not made of stern stuff, I am a complete pushover. Damn it, I am a Piscean, I am made this way :)

But how much could I turn a blind eye, how much could I put up with her uncompetitiveness. All the anger burst out at her when one fine day, she came to me and asked for a raise in salary. It was pushing the envelope too far. She dint think that I would confront her. But that’s what I did without giving a second thought about the dire consequences. 

And wonders, the next day she cleaned under the bed, behind the shelves, even removed the cobwebs that were branching out and threatening to cover our entire house. That’s when I realized the art of dealing with a domestic help. It’s definitely an art that comes with experience. Engaging her with friendly banter and still maintaining that employer-employee relationship. 

So I learnt that sometimes a bit of aggressiveness is good, that silence is not always golden and it can also be mistaken for a sign of weakness. I have decided to speak up more and be assertive. Lessons in leadership skills learnt via dealing with my domestic help.                                                                                                                                

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