Maid-less and stress free

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 10 Nov 2011

AS suggested by some quarters we can keep looking at other sources for domestic maids, but let’s also look at building smart, sufficient and efficient households.

If we fancy ourselves becoming a developed nation, we have to start visualising life independent of domestic maids, because by the standards of developed nations the minimum wage we offer maids amounts to exploitation.

Living in this cyber connected world, we should be looking at employees working from home or working on certain days of the week or working flexi hours.

We should change the mindset of having to go to office to work and of enslaving oneself to a job so we can pay for a maid.

How do those in developed nations deal with this? They have a home to look after and children and elderly folk to care for, too.

There are plenty of systems and procedures and proven flexi working systems we can look at and adopt.

In fact, employees here working for international companies are already enjoying such flexibility.

Yes, I agree the mere thought of household chores makes one want to faint – cleaning purchases from the wet market; food to prepare, setting the table for meals, clearing the table, washing the dishes; washing the clothes and hanging them out, ironing and folding them; dusting the house; minding the children, being with them after school; making the beds; vacuuming and mopping the floors; and once in a while cleaning the fans, washing the cars, clearing the garden etc, etc.

But what if on certain days/hours in the week you and/or your spouse work from home? Or on certain days of the week you and/or your spouse do not work and can stay home? Or you and/or your spouse can opt for working flexi hours on some working days?

One immediate result will be the removal from our stress list of the need to struggle to beat the daily gruelling traffic to be in office by 9am, and then in the evening to

go through the same punishing routine to be home before the sun sets.

Cut that out and immediately the household chores will appear do-able. And I have witnessed smart action from those who have chosen to home manage themselves.

First, their homes become more functional. Immediately, they stop buying things that would be difficult to manage and would add to the clutter.

Their children (and I suspect they themselves, too) re-use clothes instead of chucking these aside for maids to wash and iron after one wear because they know they are going to clean these themselves. Savings begin.

Then there’s the supply line of help – washing machines, dryers, dishwasher, smart mops, smart vacuum cleaners, children making their own beds, cleaning their own toilets, taking turns taking out the garbage, vacuuming etc, etc.

As we start taking charge of our homes, society will react accordingly.

In time there will be some in the neighbourhood who has chosen to work from home who will start supplying home cooked healthy food in tiffins to our homes, responsible and friendly dobbies will collect and send our linens.

In time, we will also develop more genuine, friendly and caring neighbours who will help pick up our washing, keep an eye on our house and kids etc.

To me, our dependence on maids is the main contributor to creating arrogant and autonomous neighbours.

Imagine the smart ideas and actions which will come out and the savings in time, money, energy instead of the wastage that’s happening now.

And, above all, is the family bonding that will definitely happen – more hours between mums, dads and children, better well rounded living skills trained children – not the spoilt and hopeless ones we have now – and a house to yourself without any intruding maids.

And do not forget the savings to all the costs involved in having to present yourself at the office every working day, the emotional cost of the hours husbands/wives have to spend away from each other and their children.

In time, work and family life will find a balance. Work is not the only important task in our life.

We should work for more sense and sensibility in our life – not live the crazy rat race.


Ampang, Selangor.

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