The Helper

March 31, 2016 in Senti-Emmental

I am taking a break from blogging and work.

Or at least taking it at my own pace and not to worry about deadlines and going for meetings once I clear all my existing work. It kind of sucks because this Monkey Year is supposed to be the most prosperous for my career hahahha but I guess it will prevail in some other way that I never forsee?

But it was a conscious decision to make. I am going to deliver a new baby in May and things will have to slow down a little for me, with a 2-year-old and  new born. So I think it is time I be a little more realistic.

The bigger reason for this decision is that, two weeks ago, our helper has run away and I won’t be getting any help at least for the time being.

She returned to Philippines to see her family when we were away to Japan, and texted me that she has decided not to return to work for us anymore before her contract ends. Although she didn’t technically “run away”, but it was treated as a runaway case and I had to make the police report and pay a hefty compound.

She could not have inconvenienced our family at a worse time, honestly. She was aware that I am now 8 months pregnant, and by the time we returned from Japan, the danna would immediately have to leave for work in Singapore, and I would have a lot of work to catch up with. She knew these, yet she chose to dump her work responsibilities and put us in a difficult situation. Now that she is gone, I am left alone with Junya with no help. And I have work.

She chose to break the news to me the very night before we fly back to KL. She texted me on LINE and told me that she will stay in her country and not come back anymore, because she needed to take care of her son (she is a single mother with a 4-year-old).

Suddenly, there were so many mixed emotions all at once. I felt angry, shocked, betrayed, relieved, empathetic, all at the same time.

Don’t panic, don’t panic. We will sort this out“. I told myself. Junya was sleeping, and I was packing for the flight in a few hours time.

I did not beg her to come back nor throw vulgarities at her because I knew it would be pointless. At least she had the decency to inform me about it instead of giving me a big surprise when we return home. That much I appreciate. Besides, I have lost trust for her and even if she returns I wouldn’t take her back, for someone who could be so irresponsible for her job.

I sat down and think for a while. I made long distant calls from Japan late at night to cancel some of my immediate events and meetings, so at least I don’t have to deal with work for now. One thing at a time.

Initially I felt a little bad. I mean, she must have missed her family very much. She texted, “I need to take care of my son, he is so thin now. I hope you understand“.

I do, actually. I have a son too. Just a short while ago I just blogged about how messed up this world is, that helpers have to leave their children for yearssss to work for a better future and their employers, too, have to leave their children to other caretakers to work for a better future. How we wish we all can just spend ALLLL the time with our children without having to worry about a better future. If I were in her shoes, maybe I would have betrayed someone just to be with my son again, too.

But later I found out from one of her helper friends that the reason she chose not to return was because of boyfriend trouble. She was supposed to get married to a nice man when she finishes her contract (and I knew about it and agreed to let her go back if she wishes to), but she met another guy recently (!?! when?!) and now is in a love triangle drama.

That was when I lost it. She knew that using her son as an excuse would get me, because I could and always sympathize. And that was when I thought, to hell with helpers. I can do it myself.

And honestly? A helper was one of the worst things we have ever brought into our family.

Of course, I was being really emotional. First of all I really could not believe someone could do such a thing to us. I mean it happens to many people and I hear about it all the time, but perhaps they met really horrible employers. Everyone who knows her knows that our family did not ill-treat her.

She was allowed a smart-phone from the beginning, had access to our internet 24 hours, and when she finishes her work, which is typically around 8pm, she can go back to her room and talk to her family and friends, and Skype with her son however much she likes. Everyday. We just thought that it is quite inhumane to limit a normal person’s contact with their family members. There was no reason to. We never invaded her privacy of stepping into her room. Occasionally she was also allowed to meet her sister and friends for lunches and go for her agency’s maid gatherings. She went back to Philippines four times to see her family while working with us in a short year, once when her grandfather passed away, and three times when we had to go back to Japan for a few weeks.

All things considered, I really think we were not being unreasonable as far as being an employer is concerned. Some friends were shocked at how much freedom we gave her, and warned that we would surely regret it because they will just take advantage of your kindness and ask for more instead of appreciating it and giving the same back to you.

For the first three times she went back to Phillipines, I withheld one month of her salary, but this time around I trusted her and let her withdraw all her money since she said her son needed it, and that’s when she was gone.

Friends gave us the “I told you so, dumbass” sympathy. That we were simply screwed over for being too nice (and dumb).

But back to the very beginning.

The danna and I thought long and hard before we decided to hire a helper for our family after Junya was born. I was doing okay on my own, but it would be nice if I had extra help. We decided we would try to have one since both of us would continue to be working. But we had no idea how this whole thing works. It was our first time.

We sought advices from many friends who have helpers in their family. Some of the most common advices we got were:

“Golden rule: Don’t treat them too bad, don’t treat them too nice, and you’ll be fine.”

“Never ever allow handphones. Don’t let them mix with other helpers.”

“Don’t expect too much. You just have to close one eye for all the things she does.”

“CCTV. MUST.”

“Never trust them too much. They got many funny funny pattern you can never expect.”

The danna politely thanked them, and rejected all these advices secretly.

I mean, none of the advices given were along the lines of

“Just be sincere and kind.”

or

“Give all your love and you will receive the same back”

You know, like how people give advices when it comes to a new relationship or a new pet you bring home. It’s quite sad, don’t you think? To already harbour all these hostile and on-guard vibes before you even welcome someone back to your house.

Honestly? We had lots of fights over this whole helper thing. The thing is, there’s no such thing as a live-in maid in Japan, and no regular Japanese kids grow up with foreign maids in Japan. So the advices were deemed unthinkable to the danna.

How can we treat someone in our family less than how we treat ourselves? They are not any less a human. How can a person not be allowed the freedom to communicate daily with her family? This is not prison. How can a helper eat a separate set of food and not on the same table with the rest of the family?

The danna was not having it. The “treating a maid like a maid” culture just did not make sense to him. I tried to explain to him that in Malaysia, things may work a little differently, and then I proceeded to tell him all the horror maid stories I have heard through friends, be it made-up by someone or happened for real.

The biggest disagreement we had was regarding installing a CCTV. He said there’s no way we will have cameras in our house. I explained that it is a norm for all families who have helpers. And then he asked me, “for what? for checking and monitoring what she does every day?” and I said yes. And he said, “How do you even explain to Junya in the future that we needed a CCTV in our house? Is that what you want to teach Junya? To constantly be wary and suspicious of someone who stays together in our house? And what are you gonna do? Be paranoid and check every single hour?”

I was speechless. He had a point.

I started to wonder how screwed up this whole maid concept is. He was right. How can you consciously choose to treat someone less than best? On the other hand, if you hire any employee, how can you not expect their best work and why must you have to “close one eye” just in fear that they will do something bad to your family?

How can you live with someone you have to be suspicious of all the time, in the same house? If you don’t, then what is the point of a CCTV? I mean, just think about how messed up that sounds.

So what if there is a CCTV. or CCTVs. Tak kan you install one at every corner. For sure you are not gonna have one in your bedroom (do you??????). If they still wanna do something sneaky, they will, regardless of having CCTV or not.

In the end, the danna, being overly trusting as usual, said that we would give our best to our helper from the very beginning, and treat her as a real family member. Just like how you would to any employee. Give your trust first, if you want trust from someone. That was the rule for our family. I liked how it sounded, so I happily and optimistically agreed, and we hired our helper.

To be fair, I think our helper was pretty good with regular house chores, and she was good with Junya. I slowly let my guard down and decided to take a leap of faith and give her more and more trust (but never 100%) as she eased into our family. And there was no major incident that happened, luckily, but over time I did find out some of the little things that really annoyed me.

For example this:

One day I was going through Junya’s milk bottle and I was horrified. Only weeks of negligence can cause this. Or was it laziness? Would she be so careless if it was her own child?

Mothers whose helpers are washing the dishes, please go and check your baby’s milk bottle. Like right now. How long have you not looked at it? I hope that yours is not like this. Because IMAGINE ALL THE BACTERIA YOUR BABY HAS BEEN INGESTING???

I only had myself to blame. It was my own fault because I have not washed Junya’s bottle in a long time. But if I had to do every little house chore myself, then what’s the point of a helper? If I have to check every single thing she does, I may as well do it all myself?

Another issue was food wastage. She had free access to our entire kitchen, and sometimes things like this happened:

These were what I found in the garbage bin. Apparently that was how she cut cherries for Junya’s snacks. Just slice off 2 or 3 cuttable sides, and throw away the whole thing.

(?!?!? Even a noob knows that you cut it around the core, peel off the seed so you can EAT THE ENTIRE CHERRY?!?)

I was so shocked because imagine the 99% of other times that I did not look at the garbage bin, what could have she thrown away? And food wastage is a big, big BIG sin in Japanese families.

As they always say, when it comes to helpers, they “可以偷工减料就尽量减”。And that they “是永远不会跟你省钱的”. I shuddered just thinking about other things that I didn’t manage to find out.

These were just some of the many many other minor incidents, sometimes I politely showed her to do something the way I wished, sometimes I just 忍痛 and just kept quiet, and tried to do as many things myself as I can. Because I can’t be scrutinizing every single thing she does. If I do it will just make things very awkward because she will feel that I do not trust her enough. Sometimes I had to pretend that I didn’t care.

I made sure I cook 100% of Junya’s food, so that none of the工 can 减料. I checked Junya’s stuff periodically to make sure everything was hygenic. Some of the less than perfect house work I could ignore, but when it comes to my own child’s wellbeing nothing can be compromised.

One day I accidentally found out that she has been buying her own groceries without my knowledge. Sometimes I sent her out to buy groceries, and it must have been going on for a while. She would buy the family things, and then a separate grocery for herself and hid it in her room thinking that I wouldn’t notice. (I did because it was so strange that she always rushed back to her room first whenever she came back from the market.) The thing is, she did not hold any cash. We banked in all her salary every month, so where did she get the money from??!

I told the danna about it, and as his usual annoyingly overtrusting self, he gave her 500000% benefit of doubt (maybe her sister gave her cash when they met up? Maybe she brought back from the Philippines?). We did not question her about it, and I just tried to be extra careful with my wallet and cash. If none of our cash went missing, then it must be her own money. And basically if any money was missing, it was my own fault for being careless. A few times I did have cash missing, but the danna was like “are you 100% sure you didn’t miscalculate?” And yes it was indeed possible, being the super careless person like I always am.

And then I had to find out, accidentally again and again, many little things that really made me want to trust her less and less. Once when she went back to Philippines, I checked her room to make sure she didn’t take everything and still had the intention to come back. I was shocked to find my clothes, my make up, some household stuff she took the liberty of taking for her own use (I really hate to use the word “steal” for someone who lives in our house). And by the way, it was disgusting how filthy her room was, for someone who does housework for a living. I guess it’s the same thing as how chefs usually hate cooking at home.

Fine, some of the cosmetics or outfits were things that I didn’t use anymore or probably don’t even remember having, and she must have thought that I get so much sponsored stuff all the time so it’s pretty much free stuff anyway, therefore it’s nothing wrong that she could take for her own use… I guess? But still, not having the courtesy to ask for permission was really disrespectful.

(By the way regarding this issue the danna was like “I guess she really really wanted them? Why don’t you just give her more stuff? Then she won’t take anymore.” Awesome logic.)

But these are just really petty things. I supposed this is what our friends meant by “closing one eye”. I can forget about all these trivial incidents. But the trust and respect that I have built towards her was also slowly crumbling.

It caused so much tension in the family. I began to become more wary of things. Since there was no CCTV, I could only assume that she was doing everything I wish she did.

My imagination started to run wild. I started thinking of all the other possible secretive things she could have done, or other negligence she could have made.

When I had to go out for work and left Junya with her, it was torturous. Every single second I wanted to go home ASAP. I mean, for someone who can do small little sneaky things behind my back, who knows if she really did feed Junya all the food that I cooked? (Or feed half way and just throw away?) Did Junya really finish his lunch as she cheerily told me so, or was it just so it’s easier for everyone or just to 打发 me? Did she really watch him the whole time instead of chatting with other people or playing games on her phone when I was out?

I would never know.

Whenever I asked her, I just had to take her words for it. There was no way I would ever find out. And sadly, I only took half her words for it most of the time. If she really had given her 100% best yet did not gain my trust back, she must have felt really sad too. Anyway she must also have felt that I have become less trusting, because I started taking charge of more things myself, and started to let her be with Junya alone less and less. Our relationship was becoming a little strained.

And I fought with the danna SO. MANY. TIMES. Because of all these issues. More and more small incidents happened, and the danna said it was partly because of my attitude towards her changed and she must have sensed it. And I was like, how could I ever give even more trust to someone who does so many sneaky things?!

For one I am really REALLY bad at confrontations. I never questioned her about all these things because what’s the use? It will cause so much awkwardness and it could even lead to everybody’s ultimate nightmare – that they feel upset with your words and take it out on your kids as a revenge.

The emotional stress became unbearable. I was so tired to constantly be on watchful mode. A few times I cried to my close friends and told them I was feeling so so so so messed up inside. One moment I wished she was gone, but then the next moment I looked at the clean house and fresh laundry, and I suddenly felt very thankful for her. What would I do without her? She was just doing her job! And I started to feel guilty for my own pettiness. I mean, she was considered a really good helper compared to many other scary stories I have heard.

And then the very next moment I was feeling real shit because I knew I couldn’t do without a helper at home and I couldn’t imagine a life without one. I mean, honestly?? I have not swept the floor for one year.

So my emotions rotated between angry – thankful – guilty – shitty – worry , and repeated over and over again THE WHOLE DAY. Every day. I felt like I have gone mental.

I told my friends I did not know which one is more stressful: to not have a helper and deal with the physical stress, or to have one and face the emotional stress. They were like are you serious, of course having to deal with all the housework is much shittier. And why are you even stressing over a maid?!

I don’t know about other families, because most of them seem to do so well with one or even more helpers at home. But not ours.

In our dominantly Japanese-cultured family, it simply did not work. I have talked to a few of my other Japanese friends who stayed in KL and SG, and none of them said they could accept the concept of a helper at home. They were envious that we (mothers with helpers) do not have to do any of the mundane house chores, but if given a choice, they still won’t be hiring one.

To be honest, I even feel a little ashamed that I have one. It made me feel less of a mother. Did I really need one? Am I less capable of other mothers who did it all by themselves? Am I just plain lazy????

Having a helper made my life easier, but not better.

In fact, I think I haven’t been feeling truly happy since she arrived in our house. Now I know why I felt extra liberated and blissful whenever we are back to Japan.

Because we are family again. Just me, the danna, and Junya. The three of us.

And then I realized I have not really treated her as part of our family as I promised myself to. I tried real hard, trust me, I did. But I could not. She was completely an outsider in our house. One who could not fit into our family culture. A family member does not do sneaky things behind your back betting on luck that you will never find out. And on the other hand you don’t always be wary or distrustful towards a family member.

Which was the complete opposite of what we thought life with a helper would be. Then I started wondering what was the point of having one. If I am so unhappy with one, I may as well not have one?

And why can’t we just have robot helpers to do stuff for us??! I mean SERIOUSLY, WHEN IS SOMEONE INVENTING THIS ROBOT HELPER?!?

For the amount we pay to hire a helper, may as well buy a robot who can do most of the jobs, right? I’d gladly pay RM40,000 for this robot, like RIGHT NOW (in instalments). I mean, that’s what you roughly pay for a helper for a contract of two years anyway, plus the ridiculous agent fee.

Besides!!! Robot Helper is probably just a one time fee, which lasts a lifetime, with occasional maintenance? TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Plus, think of the differences between a human helper and a Robot Helper:

  1. A Robot Helper will never wear your clothes without permission.
  2. A Robot Helper will never peel half the prawns and secretly throw half away just because prawn peeling gets too troublesome.
  3. A Robot Helper doesn’t put on full make up and take selfies in the toilet.
  4. A Robot Helper will never compare with other Robot Helpers about their salary. BECAUSE THEY DON’T GET ANY.
  5. Which means, you don’t have to pay your Robot Helper salaries.
  6. A Robot Helper will never request for things, and if it really does, you can always say no without worrying that you will hurt its feelings.
  7. A Robot Helper doesn’t have relatives who die one after another so they can go back to their country to see them. Seriously, 真的有这么多亲戚给你死咩.
  8. A Robot Helper doesn’t get PMS so YOU DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH YOUR ROBOT HELPER’S EMOTIONAL SHIT.

 

Conclusion:

Human Helper: 0

Robot Helper: 99999999999999

When can I buy one?

 

Anyway, rant over.

Maybe I am a wizard because the universe gave me exactly what I asked for. Which is maid problems begone. And true enough, she was gone, forever. Which explained why I actually felt a little relieved amidst all the anger when she told me that she was not coming back anymore.

The lesson I learnt in this incident, was not about trust or faith or luck and all those moral bullshit. It was how much I didn’t want a helper in our house subconsciously. I just didn’t believe I could do without one, and I let people talked me into believing that I couldn’t do without one. And I hated myself so much for it.

I don’t think I will get a helper again after this experience. At least for now.

My friends all think that I have gone insane because… Let’s face it. I am just about to have a second baby and I decided to take it to war all by myself lol.

But I really, really, really don’t want to live like that all over again anymore.

I could not believe I allowed myself to sink so deep into emotional distress over a helper.

 

Of course, people can give us all sort of other advices.

“Getting a good helper is pure luck. Pray for better luck next time!”

“Next time choose an older one who preferably have many kids so they will have to depend on your family for salary and won’t run away.”

“Told you. NEVER treat them too nice.”

“Set your boundaries for the next one. Never bring her out. AND NO PHONE.”

 

But that wasn’t what our family wanted. That’s not how we wanted to treat someone.

I refuse to subject myself to all these emotional stress that comes together with hiring a helper anymore. There was no way you could not give any trust to them, and there’s no way you can trust them 100%. And it’s just wrong to trust someone half-heartedly. It is a lose lose situation from all aspects.

I know a lot of friends who told me that their helpers are like family, and they trust them with all their hearts, and their kids cry and miss so much when the helper decided to return to their country, etc. But to me maybe they are just fortunate enough not to find out some of the most shocking and gross things they did not know. Maybe these are also the people who are fortunate enough to be able to not care about finding out. (Ignorance is bliss.) Or maybe they are truly fortunate to get really god-like helpers.

I don’t want to bet on my luck for a good helper. We have tried our best and our best was not enough. And her best was not enough for us too. There was simply too big a culture gap.

Of course some families prosper and live a very good life with the help of helpers. Maybe given time I would even try again. But for now I have decided that the helper culture just does not fit our family. Dear Helper, it’s not you. It’s me.

I want to be fully responsible for every single action I do regarding my children. And if anything goes wrong, it is all my fault and I don’t have to blame someone else for it. If I make a mistake, I will just blame myself and learn to forgive. But if someone else did, then I had two people to blame – the person and myself. And it’s probably harder to forgive, too.

The families in Japan never have any helpers. They have Roombas and kick-ass washing machines and awesome kitchen knives. Some Japanese mothers have two, three, four kids, and all of them do without helpers. It is the norm. And they cook gourmet meals 3 times a day plus bentos. With or without cute characters. And some have work at the same time.

Heck, my grandmother had 11 children and she probably didn’t even have a rice cooker.

And I am a mother just like every other mother in this world. There’s nothing I can’t do out of love for our children.

105 responses to “The Helper”

  1. Evie says:

    Jiayou Cheesie!! You can do it. If our mothers can take care of the children and the housework without a maid you can do it too. Hwaiting!

  2. leedear says:

    Hi Cheesie, I’ve been following your blog/Instagram for a while and I think you’re an amazing mother. I am a full time working mom with a 16month old boy. I’m constantly exhausted because I don’t have a helper too and it’s tough. But I have the same concerns as you. I’m paranoid about leaving my child with a helper. I’m actually worried that he’ll be closer to my helper instead of me which is why I prefer to take care of him on my own.

    He goes to full day childcare instead while I’m at work. And everyday I’ll rush to pick him up. It’s honestly working out quite well. For chores, I engage a part time maid instead. She comes in to help me mop, clean, wash the toilets and iron the clothes once a week for 3-4 hours and i’ll usually be home to monitor her. They’re not as expensive as a full time maid and you don’t really have to ‘live with her’. This is just a suggestion.

    I hope things will get better for your family! Jia you!

  3. Joo Tein says:

    Hello!!! I may not be a mother myself and can’t really say stuff to comfort you. But don’t give up!! Anyway, have you thought of having a local helper who doesn’t stay over? They still help you but they come during the working hours. That’s just my suggestion! Hope you feel better after venting out. :):)

  4. Kimmie says:

    Exactly the same thing happened to me. Quarrels. Helper sleeping buy she claimed my daughter sleeping. I didn’t know I have such a big daughter. Steal things as usual. I had 4 maids but none of them don’t steal my stuff except for one tomboy Helper.
    No maid but my house is in a mess as kids too young to tidy up. Me and my husband are too tired after work.

  5. Working mom of 2 toddlers says:

    If can’t manage 2 kids, hire part time maid that comes twice weekly lo.. Some basic cleaning done=less stress.. My 2cents~

  6. Kay says:

    This helper dilemma is so common is like a part of our society. My family had helpers since I was 9 years old, and frankly I am still having problem coping with another foreign human being roaming in the house with their own agenda in mind.

    I had maids who stole from me, ran away, one claims got possessed etc.Ahhh the dramas….

    My family still hire helpers,but since I moved out, I enjoy the feeling of being 100001% sure NOBODY is messing up my stuff,I have my things where I want them and they will remain the way I left them. Not every is suitable to have an addition, no matter how convenient it is.

    On the other note, you can consider hiring part time helpers that pops by once a week for several hours to deal with the heavier chores you can’t handle with 2 kids taking up your full attention and time. 加油! You can do it!

  7. You can do it Cheesie! Like Japan my culture – Dutch culture – does not know this helper culture. I reacted the same way your husband did the first time I heard about it. I can’t imagine having to live with a stranger! Let alone not treat that person as an equal. Most moms here work at least parttime, kids go to daycare and some people have parttime cleaning ladies (Dutch nationals mostly). They manage. Yes they are tired, but it is worth it I’ve been told. I don’t have kids myself but I am a parttime nanny (once a week) for three kids. Their mom told me that yes she is tired, but in 5 years when they will all be older she knows she will also miss this time. Long story short: stay strong and enjoy!

  8. Pattirmina says:

    I feel you!

    My maid ran away while i was still in my 1st confinement after giving birth to my daughter.
    And i have a son too, turning 2 next month.

    I am a working Mom, and feeling extremely exhausted everyday.

    I still feel like i need help (so badlyyyy!) but i can’t bear the thought of going through the possibilities of feeling betrayed by another stranger anymore.

    I now hire a part time maid that does cleaning every once a week and i send my kids to my parents or in-laws house when im at work.

    My house is messy during the weekdays but i’d rather have it that way than going through another roller coaster ride with a maid in the house

    I understand you, coz I fight with my husband a lot too when we had a maid. Mainly due to different approach in the way we think we shud treat the maid.

    I wish you all the best, and do take care. xx

  9. Jo says:

    I have a six month old son and for the longest time thought I’ll be able to cope, doing some occasional work from home for my husbands company, housework, cooking our meals and taking care of the kid. And then it hit me really hard that I couldn’t do it all. The house got messy, ironing piled up and I was constantly just anxiously waiting for my son to take naps so I can pursue all my other tasks. Then last month I finally hired a part time helper to come on weekdays for 4 hours at a time, and I wished I had thought of hiring her so much earlier. She does all the laundry, cleans the house and will clean up after me after I do my meal prep/cook. I personally don’t like live in helpers, so this arrangement works really well. Just pay her monthly wage and never need to worry about agent fees, helper’s meals etc. and I suddenly feel like I can dedicate more time towards my child (which is ultimately what matters the most).

  10. Cheal says:

    Have a good break cheesie! You can do it! 🙂 Will miss reading your blog tho 🙁

  11. Jessica says:

    Sending hugs to you Cheesie. I’m Indonesian and my parents used to have staying at home maid. But having lived in Australia for 7+years with no maid, my husband and I can’t bear the thought of having strangers living with us 24/7.

    Maybe consider part-time helper? Mine work from 8 to 2 for 6 days a week to help with cleaning, laundry and dishes (she left after cleaning lunch). And because she’s good at cooking traditional food, I ask her to cook but usually she won’t do ironing/heavy laundry that day. This works well for us as I get help and we still have our privacy.

    It is possible to be with no help, but having extra hands is always nice especially when we have toddler (soon toddlers). Especially on days when we’re unwell, the husband is busy and the toddler decide that he wants to be a koaĺa. You know, one of those days 😉 just my 2 cents. And based on experience, countries that are further from the equator tend to have less dust (or feel like it) so they require less cleaning. And they have better/cheaper equipments to make life easier. Dish washer, dryer, roomba, you name it. So comparing them to our country is like… lol

  12. A says:

    I love you Cheesie, but this is the most pretentious “blogpost” I’ve ever read. I don’t understand how a culture can treat people like they’re sub-human. It blows my mind how you think giving her access to the internet to communicate with her family makes you a good employer… The fact that this basic decency granted to a woman who is supposed to cook, clean, and live with you is unheard of is frightening. And robots are better because “their relatives don’t die”??? They’re better because you don’t have to “deal with their emotional shit”??? Yes, how absolutely inconvenient for you… You have (A FEW) valid points but they’re drowned out by your obnoxious whining. Mothers across the world manage to raise their children (often while pregnant) without helpers or maids – which you’re well aware of, seeing as how you keep reminding us how un-Japanese it is to have one. In the West live-in maids are unaffordable for middle-class families. I’m definitely not jealous of you or your situation though… I guess you get what you pay for when you pay paltry wages to a woman desperate enough to come to a different country to try to support her family.

    • Jiayee says:

      Hi A, sorry to butt in but i think if you don’t understand a country’s culture, maybe it’s the best you dont offer you two cents too generously. I dont know which country you are from, but yes, it is not a norm in Malaysia here to let the maid have a phone, let alone have 24 hour internet access. That is almost unheard of. My family did not. We only allowed our ex maid to call home once a month, absolutely NO INTERNET, and she wasn’t allowed to go out without us. And i dont consider that treating them like “sub-human”, it is just the way things are. You may not have read the news but seems like there are a lot of things you are not even aware of, so keep your precious two cents with yourself. Don’t go all “Western culture is more suprior” on all of us. THAT is what i consider pretentious.

      • Zoey Trang says:

        just because its the way thing are doesn’t make it ok?!
        How do you call it when one take the freedom of another human being? Sounds to me like modern slavery.
        And she didn’t eben say with one word that western culture is superior, you just assumed it.

        • May says:

          I also have to agree with A. If you think about it, how can you deny a person to have a phone?! No you can not have a phone, call your family once a month but be motivated to join the family and do all of the housework with a smile. It sounds crazy to me. And yes I understand that it is a cultural thing, but it does not make it okay at all. I am mom and my kid is almost 2 years old. I work fulltime (36 hours in 4 days a week). My daughter goes to a child daycare center once a week and two days her grandparents will look after her. I do all of my housework, groceries and find time to go out with my husband. This is not an exception, it is pretty normal where I live. I am not bragging, but I want to tell this because it is possible. You can do this! Yes it is hard work and yes your house won’t be spotless all the time but what are your priorities? If you really want to, you can do without a maid. It is a luxury to have a helper, not the standard.

          • June says:

            So you are lucky to have grandparents to look after your kid. That is YOUR luxury many of us come from other places to the city for work, and we don’t have grandparents to look after our kids. In our double income family we need other form of help. Many of us mothers are work full time and a helper is the only choice we have. Like Cheesie, it may not be the greatest experience for me to have one and yes i struggle with a lot of emotional stress with her. Helpers are not allowed a phone BECAUSE THE AGENT TOLD US NOT TO. That is the RULE. He said that if you decided to give her one, that’s your own prerogative and if anything happens, you have to be fully responsible for it. True enough, we gave her a phone and shit happens. To be safe i will really advise all employers to not give a phone.

            • Linh says:

              There are plenty of families around the world with dual income parents who manage to get by without a maid. Those who require their services are able able to treat them as competent human beings with reasonable expectations.

              And seriously. ITS THE RULE SO WE MUST FOLLOW IT BLINDLY? I mean you’re probably not serious, just cherry picking this one rule. But wow. It’s no wonder we’ve got so many Chinese kids (whether from Mainland China or otherwise) flooding into US schools. Your lack of critical/creative thinking is indoctrinated so early on in childhood – must be hard for you. You have my sympathies.

        • June says:

          Erm, Zoey, the maids came to work FULLY AWARE about what she is in for. They have gone for training and know what to expect, they are briefed by their agents about all the common rules in a household, it is crazy of you people to call it modern slavery. If they don’t want to be “slaves” they can choose not to work in our country. That is their freedom.

          • Linh says:

            Wow June. So basically we’re allowed to treat people like shit if we’ve got the money to do so? You’re such a good person.

          • Zoey Trang says:

            Than I have to cite A

            “I guess you get what you pay for when you pay paltry wages to a woman desperate enough to come to a different country to try to support her family.”

            Yes they come to your country to work, cause there aren’t enough jobs in the Phillippines! Cause they are desperate to provide for their children. Their own government exploit them by willingly sending them to foreign countries to stabilize and pay for their debts instead of stimulating their own economy. So it is not entirely their own free will.
            And we “westerner” don’t get it cause we are taught that a human being has rights and deserves to be treated as one. I am vietnamese, I am also Asian, but my german education taught me critical thinking. And as a german born asian I am aware of our Nazi past. I am sorry to say this, but what makes you better than the nazis when you exploit a group of human, because “that’s the rule” and you have to? My parents also have double income, my grandparents live in Vietnam and they still managed to raise us without a maid, so it’s not impossible! I judge nobody who hires maids, but at least treat them like a normal human being deserves it.

            • June says:

              Zoe, yeap, basically what A is saying then, is that these people are of low quality because “we get what we pay for” since they are worth so little. Totally made sense.

              Have you not read the rest of the comments on this post? Many of us mothers chose to treat our helpers “like a normal human being” with respect and kindness but guess what we get in return? Yes some helpers stay loyal and hardworking but sadly for the majority, no. Some of the house rules are basic, like how in school you are not allowed to do certain things. That’s not called human exploitation. Are school children being exploited because they can’t talk on the phone or use wifi during school time? Don’t take things out of perspective. What would you do if it happens to you? If your own helper tries to betray you and cause harm to your family?

              • Zoey Trang says:

                sorry but comparing someone who is only allowed to speak to their family once a month to a school children who can’t use their phone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ???
                you reap what you sow cause you exploit another human being who is desperate.
                Guess what I would never experience this, cause I would never hire a helper. It’s normal that you don’t trust a stranger in your house, I won’t deny this point! But this doesn’t give you the right to restrict someone and taking away basic decency.
                You say you and the other mothers treated them kindly and good, but cheesie also thought she treated her maid good, but giving someone basic rights doesn’t necessarily mean that you are employer of the year.
                In the middle east women aren’t allowed to go out without a male relative, and this is degrading, they basically aren’t allowed to do anything without their husbands/fathers/brothers consent, it’s normal for them, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s exactly the same for you who doesn’t even allow your helper to go out alone? this is so ridiculous, why do we even have to argue on how to treat another human being? You say what would I do if I were in your shoes? But did you ever thought of your helpers situation? What would you do, if you were born in a country without any perspective? If you have no other choice as to migrate to another country to earn enough to provide for your families, being robbed of some basic human decency? Often pinoy helpers even have a uni degree, but there are just not enough jobs in their country!

                • S says:

                  “sorry but comparing someone who is only allowed to speak to their family once a month to a school children who can’t use their phone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ???”

                  This coming from someone who, in an earlier comment, tried to compare Cheesie — and other families who hire helpers — with Nazis:

                  “I am sorry to say this, but what makes you better than the nazis when you exploit a group of human, because “that’s the rule” and you have to?”

                  Not exactly a model of logical consistency, are you? But hey, always nice to see Godwin’s law at work.

                  So, just to clarify, what exactly are you advocating here? Avoid hiring helpers, thus cutting off an avenue of work to a group of people already in deep economic distress? Place unqualified trust in helpers, and suffer the consequences documented in Cheesie’s post (and the experiences of others in these comments)? I’m not seeing a great middle ground, but feel free to go on judging everyone while proposing a grand total of zero feasible solutions, if that’s what makes you feel like the better person.

                  Cheesie, thank you for being so open in your post! Stay strong.

                  • Zoey Trang says:

                    Then it’s okay to take someone elses freedom just because there is no universal solution to this? Maybe the phillipine government would be forced to stabilize their economy if other countries would stop supporting this while domestic helper culture? But I never said anything against having a maid, I do see the need in one sometimes. What I think is weird is thinking that you are a so generous person if you give a person ‘freedom’.
                    And I didn’t even speak about Cheesie herself, thid comment was directed at June who doesn’teven allow her helper to go out, which to me is imprisonment, but hey there is no universal solution to that, so I guess it’s okay!

                    • S says:

                      That’s funny, I’m trying to imagine how you managed to get “It’s okay!” from my comment, but I can’t…quite…figure it out…

                      Since you need it spelled out: I am not an advocate for domestic helper culture. I am also not a fan of internet slacktivists who try to claim the moral high ground without proposing actual solutions. Believing that the Philippine government has a magic button that will fix unemployment is naive. Even with the presence of domestic helpers, unemployment remains extremely high relative to neighboring countries. If the government could fix this, don’t you think they would have done it by now?

                      It’s also worth noting that the Philippines is one of very few countries that banned workers from going to certain Middle Eastern countries out of concerns of poor treatment — the government is not just sitting on its hands while its citizens are abused.

                      You agreed that it’s normal not to trust a stranger in your house. You’re also against the whole CCTV/lack of wifi/phone, etc rules that these companies have established. These, together, indicated that you were against maids. If you have another way to reconcile those statements, I’d like to hear it.

                      Haha wow, still sticking to this narrative that not allowing someone to go out during a fixed-length contract is equivalent to being a Nazi…? Keep digging that hole!

            • Charmaine says:

              To Zoe, and some of the people above who think that we Asian mothers treat our helper “sub-human”, while I don’f fully agree with what June has commented, as some employers can go to the extremes, I do understand and can relate a lot. I myself grew up with a helper/nanny of 7 years, we treated her as part of our family, bought her lots of new things like we would for our sisters, and even send presents to her family in Philippines during Christmas. I always thought she would treat us like real family too, but one day she just decided to leave without a note, and we found that she has taken a lot of cash with her, my grandfather’s watch and some of my mom’s accessories. My grandfather was sick but she chose to left him unattended. It caused a lot of agony and pain in our family. So yes I can understand why over time some employers choose to give less freedom to their nanny/helpers, because the sad truth is when you treat them as good as your own family member, they still choose to betray you. And it has happened more often than not for many families here. I understand that some people from other part of the world think that it is ridiculous, but to be honest I think it is just a cultural gap too big for people who have no experience in this. So I hope you don’t jump to conclusion that we all treat our helpers like slaves, because that’s really not a fair judgement for most of us.

              • Zoey Trang says:

                NO I understand that it is normal for one to not trust a stranger in their own home! I won’t deny that there are maids who will steal or misuse your so called “kindness”. But I just think that your entire Maid system is so wrong! You may not be aware of what you are supporting by hiring maids. And the way some of you think is just so sick.
                Vietnamese people in Germany also have maids sometimes, so I do understand the need of one in some cases. But hiring a person does not mean you own them! You take their freedom away and you don’t even see that, justyfing it with “they will betray you”.
                I am sorry to say, but if you can’t trust some stranger in your house, just don’t hire them. Don’t tell me with “it’s necessary”, like others just said there are plenty of families in the world doing it without any help! And you may say that I can talk big cause I am from a country with governmental support, but my the rest of my Family is not and they still managed. Also plenty of other Families aren’t either and they also manage.
                To be fair I would not compare with japanese norms, cause japanese wives often are housewives and often don’t work anymore.

                • Nam says:

                  Just want to say THANK YOU to Zoey, A and Linh for speaking up about how ridiculous this whole thing is.

                  Safeguarding your family and belongings is in no way reasonable justification for treating an innocent human being essentially like a slave.

                  If you’re inherently incapable of living in peace with a hired help in your home, then don’t get a maid. No need to defend your archaic mindset with weak excuses.

              • Linh says:

                Charmaine, I appreciate your comment. I definitely do not believe all families in Malaysia are like this. Clearly not as demonstrated by yourself and Cheesie. It does however seem to be the norm if not majority who treat them poorly. And while I understand you feel like there is a cultural gap that may not be understood well enough for a foreigner to comment, the reality is that sometime, countries can be so convinced they’re doing nothing out of the ordinary that it takes some sunlight to see that they may need to re-evaluate some things. This goes for Americans too, I think my country has a long way to go as well. It means we need to have more conversations and action to better ourselves.

        • kelly says:

          how is it slavery?
          the helper was not forced into this job, she knew of the consequences of having this job, and she agreed to be a helper.
          even if she was doing it for the money, she can still quit/ whatever when she wants to

      • Linh says:

        Your comment makes me think of all the human rights violations that happen all around the world in the name of culture. No culture has a right to deny a human their natural born rights. This of course includes the US, and as a American of Chinese descent your attitude just plain disgusts me. People in the US have maids but that does not mean you are allowed to treat them as sub-human. Just as with all jobs, sometimes your employee can’t give you enough notice. Deal with it. You sound incredibly entitled, selfish and a complete brat. I could not agree more with A, Larry and Zoey. I hope you’re not religious because this kind of attitude goes completely against what any religion would want their adherents to behave like.

        • June says:

          Nobody point a gun to ask them to work here. Nobody kidnapped them here and force them to work here. There are many other jobs available that allows them that kind of freedom?. If they choose to come here and work, they follow the rules. And it has nothing to do with religion. Don’t go all preachy and all freedom fighter like you all bratty American like to sound.

          • Linh says:

            Feeling uncomfortable aren’t you? Yes I’m the bratty American because I’m on a blogpost talking about how it’s ok to treat another human being however I want because no one is pointing a gun to their head so if they want the job they better put up it, ugh these damn maids! Bratty American, lol.

      • Linh says:

        Considering the comparisons in the original blog post were with Japan, its not Western culture.

      • K says:

        WOW. If that is Malaysian culture, no wonder the Danna reacted so strongly. You hired them for pennies and treat them with complete suspicion. Controlling how often she gets to even talk to her family and not even letting them go out?? I think that can be considered imprisonment! I consider that sub-human and not just “how things are”. Slavery used to be “how things are” and that doesn’t make it right.

      • mun says:

        I am a Msian and I also cannot accept how some Msians are treating their helpers like modern slaves. Obviously with a mindset like that, it will never change because of people saying that this is just how it works. The truth is this is NOT how it works. Many Msians treat their helpers as one of them. Stop giving M’sian employers a bad name. Just because some do it does not mean that it is the right thing to do. At least Cheesie is honest and came to her senses that she is better off without a lived in helper than to be a modern day slaver. Please remember not all Msians treat live in helpers like how you described and stop calling it OUR culture.

      • A says:

        Well I also don’t understand the culture behind child marriage, stoning gays to death, or placing extreme restrictions on the rights of women. But hey, “that’s just the way it is” in some parts of the world, right?

      • Dakana says:

        You do realise that your helper is another human being right? No phone and only allowed to speak to her family once a month? What most people would consider basic human rights?

        Please refrain from hiring any other helpers in the future.

    • L says:

      guys, i know all of you are trying to point what is “wrong” and what is “right”. Bt can’t all of us just be more… empathetic? Here’s what’s going on: Cheesie faced some troubles with her housekeeping management and she’s being kind enough to let us strangers into this matter. Maybe what we can do now, is politely state out facts without including personal emotions such as saying one is pretentious, superior, lack of critical thinking..etc.
      what we can do is show Cheesie we can feel her tiredness and so, or even perhaps a simple “dont’ give up, good luck” will do. We are all human, we all have improvements that can be done (進步的空間), so guide and help each other. cheers 🙂
      Cheesie 加油!

      • Sherrie says:

        Thank you, L! All these “I’m better than you” comments which has nothing to do with Cheesie’s feelings shared through this post.

        Cheesie, fighting!!

      • A says:

        I’m empathetic towards the injustices these foreign maids face.

      • Linh says:

        No one is outright shaming her. I fact, I think it was very brave and courageous of her to share with all of us. Who among us would be willing to re-consider their views and upbringing? The fact that she is willing to question and empathize despite being raised to not do so is quite remarkable. That doesn’t mean she isnt allowed to feel angry or resentful towards her maid. That is her righ to feel that one. No one is criticizing, at least not me, that she can or cant have a maid. Its the attitude and expectation and entitlement of feeling like you can treat your maid like she isn’t any other kind of employee. What we’re critizing are her commentors who are defending the practice of treating their maids like slavers (which you can see in cheesie’s post, she does NOT condone). Especially the commentors who are stubborn and think they’re right without even THINKING and reflecting why they may be wrong.

    • Alexandra says:

      That’s true, I’m with you, When I was reading this post I was like “omg wtf” and “what are Cheesie talking about? A slave?” Maybe I don’t understand, but look I’m european and here we have also “helpers” persons who can take care after our children (nannies) and persons who clean our house once a week for example. But this shit you are talking about I think it’s horrifying, not for you obvioulsy, for how are you talking about a woman, a person.

      Well, I can even imagine this is happening, “rich” people having slaves and treating them like “she had so much freedom” oh nice! You gave freedom to a person xD lol this is so surreal, this happened in europe maybe thousand years ago, maybe you have to evolve.

      • jeez says:

        Absolutely. All these rich asian parents are all sort of spoilt and lazy, who can’t even handle their own kids lol. No wonder most asian kids grow up fucked up lol.

        • A says:

          Making generalizations about “asians” makes you just as bad as them for making generalizations about their helpers.

    • Maki says:

      I also love Cheesie too, but the maid culture really sounds like modern slavery. I can’t imagine not allowing them to call home. I’m a japanese mom to three kids. Ages 5, 3 and 4 months. I would be so so sad if I can’t talk to my daughters everyday.

      Cheesie you can do it. My husband is living in another city for work so I take care of my kids alone. I make my eldest bento and we walk to kindergarten every day. Then I cook for my 3 year old while breastfeeding my 4 month old. I’m sooooo tired but it’s worth it for their happy faces. 😀

  13. Eunice says:

    I have 2 boys (age 4.5 and 3). I have been the main carer since they were born and we have plan to homeschool the boys until the age of 7. We live in Australia and having a helper is not the norm here.

    Husband and I have made the conscious choice of not sending the kids to childcare center. We chose not to buy a house because of that decision. My house is not as clean as it “should” be and i have pile of unfolded clothes. The kids’s toys scattered around the house. In many terms and standards, i have failed as a wife.

    It is always a trade off. I suffer tremendous guilt if i have to put the kids in front of TV so i can clean the house. Therefore, i choose to take them out all the time for bushwalking/playground/beach. I suffer tremendous guilt to not provide healthy meals for the kids. Therefore, i choose not having a spotless clean house to cook hearty meals for my family.

    There is no right or wrong in any situation. If your gut feeling tells you that you don’t want a helper, then having a helper is not for you.

    The way we make decision has a lot to do with how we were brought up and the influence of the society. You and your husband come from 2 different set of backgrounds and cultures. It takes alot of effort to make it work and find the balance.

    Being the main carer for your children and the wife you want to your husband will be challenging. You might cry, scream and get frustrated. But equally, you will experience the super high and happiness. It is part of the puzzle.

    You are an amazing woman, and like you said before, being a mother make you stronger.

    I wish you all the very best and look forward to all posts no matter how long it takes to produce one. 🙂

  14. Jiayee says:

    Hi Cheesie, i am a mom of two (5 and 2), and like you i had similar experience. I lived with my in laws and they really treated the maid very strictly, like you said, no phone, we allow her to call back to her family once a month. and she never go out too. In the end still run away with a bf she don’t know find from where. Now i moved out and I am handling well without a maid 🙂 you can do it too, jiayou!

  15. Me says:

    Hi cheesie, this is by far my favourite post of yours. Like, ever. Because every single thing you’ve written here is what goes on in my mind. Ppl tell me, oh your helper is good, to have helper better than not to have helper, etc bit they don’t see the stuff I deal with, the amount of micro management that goes on, to the point I can no longer enjoy being in my own home anymore. I just wish that I can not have one soon, waiting till when the kids are older and the contract for my helper expires. You can do it! You need to, lol so you can inspire me too.

  16. Carrie says:

    I’m not a mom but a daughter. I was raised by maids since young since my mother had to work 6 days a week to raise us by herself. We have 3 maids who ran away, I don’t know why, we treat them so well, and yes they “steal” clothes, expensive make ups, food, CASH, my mom’s passport. They even have the guts to taunt us after they left, calling me and blackmailing us. The maids last time was so much better, now they are just pure evil. We gave them freedom and they just abuse it. Two of them even invite their boyfriend into our house when we are asleep! Can you believe it? I swear to god I will never ever have a human live in maid ever in my life. Having another stranger in the house is sooooo unreliable. Can’t even relax and have to constantly put your guards up, to even be suspicious is so tiring :'(

  17. C says:

    I feel you. It’s hard to have a good pair (maid/helper and employer). Most of the times we see “bad maid+good employer” or “good maid+bad employer”. I rmb when we had a maid, she literally ran off. With our money. After abusing my grandparent. And tbh, we also treated her fairly well. Cheesie, imo I think it’s really great of your danna to treat others with this much respect and trust. It’s just that, his trust got misplaced by a irresponsible person. :((

  18. Nana says:

    Hi Cheesie..
    Im sorry to hear about this, i know how it feels because i also experienced the same thing (or at least similar lah).
    After i had my 2nd kid, we decided we need help.
    Hired a nanny, lasted for 3 months only.
    Hired a helper, also lasted for 3 months.

    After that I decided not to have any live-in nanny or helper anymore. But i still have helper who works only for couple hours to do chores like laundry-ing and ironing (sorry, i dont know what you call that kind of helper…daily helper???)

    Of course it is still tiring, still have dishes to wash, rooms to sweep and mop, kids to be fed but that is SOOOOO MUUUUCCCHHHH BETTEEERRR than to deal with those live-in helpers. Really !!
    Feel like having a live-in helper gave me another kid to take care of. Too much drama.

    Better i got tired but i know my kids are being well taken care of. At least ah, if my kids get sick or somehow got bruises or rashes or anything, i dont have to blame or be suspicious to anyone else.

    Oh my kids are 3 and 1.5 now
    Sons…
    Can you imagine how chaotic it can be? But we are doing okay. And you are going to be okay too.

    Oh..one more. I know you kinda follow Japanese tradition/culture but i hope that you are not comparing yourself too much to those Japanese supermoms, or trying to be just like them. I hope your danna also can understand. It is okay not to be as ‘perfect’ as them. Just do the right thing for you yourself first (at your best), then your danna and your kids will also be well taken care of.

    Jiayou !!

  19. E says:

    Cheesie, i really really understand your this particular post as this is what i feel too!!
    I also fought with husband many times because of helper! Because i told him about my worry, annoyed feeling, etc. and he as a man who already tired of work, hate to listen to household stuff like this.
    I also do not like to treat somebody not good, so i also treat my helper good enough from the beginning. And there are so many things too which i don’t like from her but i also do not like confrontations. I ended up doing things by myself too as much as i can ( my husband even said that i treat helper already like our sister, not like a helper . My mil said why i do things by myself, what is the use of helper. )

    When she brings my son to have morning or afternoon walk everyday ( while i cook or work ), i also get suspicious everyday. Whether she feed him something else as several times i found out she feed him stuff which i do not agree to give to my son yet ( chocolate, sweet jelly, etc – my helper is very addicted to sugary stuff ). So i get stressed so often too. And when she take a leave ( once a month ), i am so happy that she is away! Though i am tired and so many works to do, but i am happy she is not around. There are so many annoying things and i close one eye all the time.

    You put it very perfectly, that having a helper does make my life easier but not better!
    All of this time, i just admit that i am not a good boss. I am not able to perintah perintah a helper, confront a helper, etc.

    My helper is still with us. And secretly, in my heart, i do sometimes think that one day if she stops working, i think i do not want to have one anymore. But i don’t know too.

    I think maybe you can try first without helper. If you are overwhelmed, maybe you can try to have part time helper ? Try to find out what is the balance system for you. I am trying to find out mine too 🙂

  20. YaYa says:

    Hi babe! I know ur pain! Having a boy same age and planning for a second baby and having a helper too. Please don’t feel guilty, ok, maybe not so much. We are hiring a helper so that we can work, earn that money for our kids’ future and of cuz our retirement too. I agree that sometimes I have that same mum’s guilt of not cooking for my son, not washing that bottles, but we are all human. Not robots. I bet Japanese mums cannot archive 100% about their life too. There must be some sacrifices (like not Gg out with friends) that gives them time to provide the best to their family. I guess it all comes down to priorities.

    I really love reading your blog and it gives me assurance that many things I do is the right things to do. I hope u do continue to blog and of cuz I pray for u and ur family to get through this rough times. Gambatte ne!

  21. Pea says:

    I had an indonesian helper in singapore. She did not have to take care of any kids, nor any elderly, just maintain the household, which she did poorly. She became too over-friendly with my dad when my mum passed, which I did not like. But as i wasn’t the paymaster, it was not my call. And my dad frequently travels for work, and so do many of my other family members. She had a handphone, could come and go as she pleased, watch tv, eat as much as she liked etc; but like you said, don’t be too nice. I am sorry but it is predominant in their culture to step on others heads (take advantage) as they see it as a sign of weakness. And they share and encourage it amongst themselves. I found evidence of her having had guests over at our house – I came back from a trip early and she was dressed to the nines with a sink full of dirty dishes. She refused to admit it. The house chores were ignored over time – she tried to time her “cleaning” with us coming back from our work trips. Her room was also filthy with dust under the bed that i swear i could make a wig out of. Last straw was when she went missing the whole day and i asked her where she went, and if she wanted to go somewhere, could she not have had to decency to inform us? And she shouted back that she went to meet her friends. I lost it, told her to sit in the living room while i ransacked her room. She tried to stop me from going in. And lo and behold i found that she had stolen money, (proof was that there were some foreign currencies she couldnt name; obviously from stolen from us because we travel so much) clothes, my late mum’s branded bags and wallets that she had stuffed deeped into her underwear and other clothes. We didnt know they were missing as my late mum had quite a few belongings. She had stolen quite alot of stuff, and that made me even more angry because not even once were we stingy with her at all. If anything, she got fatter and lazier after workong for us. Long story short – i sent her home the next day. I just cursed her from the bottom of my heart and am still cursing her to this day. According to the maid agency, making a police report and trying to pursue the case – should she run away in the time being from the agency, we would have to pay some hefty fees. And i just did not want to see her face anymore so i sent her back to indonesia on the first morning flight. May her face rot off ffor being a selfish ungrateful cunt.

    • Pea says:

      I forgot to add – that yes, pehaps a part-time helper is the best idea. The peace of mind u have is more important than anything in the world. Not eveyone is superwoman to do everything all on their own – a little help outside can be a blessing. But they dont have to stay under the same roof with you. I will never ever hire a full-time maid ever in my entire life after this bad experience.

  22. Jennifer says:

    I feel you!! And just wanna jiayou you!! Im sure you will rock on after this obstacle! Jiayou! Flying kisses!!

  23. J says:

    Hi Cheesie, having a helper or not, don’t feel bad. In the u.s, rarely does the middle/upper middle class have helpers. I have 2 litthe ones and it hard, but not impossible! It’s just the norm here. If it gets hard, find pt help that you feel comfortable with. You can do this!

  24. ayn says:

    I live in the philippines, I am your long time reader 😊 I don’t have children and not yet married, but I had a very bad experience with our maids. We had three maids, one who was already on her 3rd year, the other one has been w/ us since I was young, she leaves for years then comes back again after years to work with us, then her cousin who was just knew. We were very happy for a year, no worries whenever they take dayoffs they comeback, we were like bestfriends since I am almost the same age as our longtime maid, we practically grew up together. I work for my mom so i stay at home a lot, and I tell her everything, we share stories and all. Then during new year when we went out of country, like we always do for seven years, and the maids always come back when we go home. suddenly they didn’t come back, I gave the benefit of the doubt. but comes 4days, two weeks not even one of them is coming back. then suddenly my sister saw them near the mall, they are probably applying to others since this is a condo. I got furious and texted them all, we gave them everything christmas hams, christmas gifts for all their childrens, bonuses like we do every year. they were so heartless, cruel, my heart literally shattered in pieces, I am already diagnosed w/ anxiety attack also every time i ride planes. I cried a lot then I had to take medicine for it. we had a maid replacement they also made me had panic attacks, finally we hired two good maids. they are still here with us, when they took a day off during holiday I had panic attack again, but they came back finally. I finally learned something from my mom my boyfriend, sometimes we think we should be so lenient and giving but actually we should not be. We gave everything to the maids, ofcourse in return we had heartbreaks after they betrayed us. I now believed you should give everything to them. Do not argue w/ husband family etc infront of them, do it in your rooms, tell them when they did something wrong, example you did not like the way she cleaned this, set rules, and remember they are not your bestfriend. they probably talk behind u or something so set that they are the helper and you are the boss. but you dont need to get mad at them, they just should know who is the authority so that they will respect you. I will give an example with our two new maids, i don’t tell stories anymore, my life stories, etc. they now know that I am also the boss even if we are just the children of our parents, we dont fight infront of them, we actually dont praise them anymore like your cooking is great, because it will get to their heads and we expect little from them, we do things that we can do, and they do their parts. my mom also before treats the maids like her friend/daughter. now the new maids are more respectful, they listen to what we have to say. at first it hards its like your lover broke your heart, but you will be able to get over it cheesie. and also there is nothing wrong w/ cctv. all condos here have cctvs, we dont need to tell them we have cctvs bla bla, and its not just for them, but also if you forgot where you put something, you can just rewind hehe. and also be an authority, set rules, standards and talk them out if they did something you did not like. just dont shout, yell, smile to them. also with the grocerys always ask for receipts, and all the change our maids always gives it back. and usually when they ask for all the salary during day off sometimes they really have a plan to leave. so its better to leave a little and not give full. also last but not the least tell them if they want to leave, if they want to resign they can always say so, if you work for a company also you cant just escape you will need to file resignation, render etc. so tell them there is nothing wrong w/ admitiing you want to leave it is better and also it will help them in their future employments. open communication is the key. hope your mama can help you, stay safe cheesie.

  25. sharmaine says:

    I completely know how you feel omg. Thank you for writing this, and I thought our family was the only one having this problem, because I also always fight with my MIL about it. She said we treat the maid too good that’s why all the “pattern” come out. But I don’t have the courage to not have one or send her back to Indonesia yet because I am still working full time and my baby girl is only 5 months old. I hope you can inspire us how to do it!

  26. K says:

    From the US: a lot of moms hire foreign or newly migrated nannies as well. They use CCTV just because they are often not home and unfortunately, there have been scares over abuse by nannies.

    I’m sorry you had to go through that Cheesie – my mom had problem with help as well. One put peanut butter in my chicken sandwich and when she got scolded, got defensive and said she wasn’t told. I thought it was basic common sense =____=

    I guess the biggest lesson is: you get what you pay for. Most nannies aren’t well educated and aren’t earning much by being nannies so why would they work hard or know how to do things? I once went on a babysitting site and people wanted nannies who spoke 3 different languages, cooked, could do CPR, had their own car, etc but only offered to pay $10hr. WTF. Such high standards but not willing to pay for it. I guess best bet is to go through an agency, who at least screens their nannies.

  27. Kine says:

    Hi Cheesie! Thank you for your insight into this issue. I’m Chinese but raised in Australia and whenever I go back to visit my family in Singapore, I find it very hard to understand the concept of having a maid. It is so difficult to see my family members scold them and treat them as lesser humans. I showered myself, made my lunch and dinner and did my hair from a very young age. When I go back to Singapore, I feel so guilty that someone else is preparing my food and doing my washing! I could never imagine having a maid in my home. I’m sad to hear about all the emotional turmoil this has caused you, but at least you are clear about what you want/need now. I know you will do awesomely without one and your emotional health will be much better!

  28. French Fries says:

    Just a comment for A, Zoey, and all the other commenters on their high horses up there. I was once like them too. As I’m not from Asia, I thought too that it was ridiculous not to give them all the freedom that office workers have. My maids were allowed to go out at night after they finished their work, and every weekend, as well as whenever we went back to Europe. What did the maids do? Well, 1 started temping at Orchard Towers (night activities), 1 started working for another employer on her day off (illegal). My maid also told me stories where her friend (another maid) who was never allowed to go out, somehow got herself pregnant. Trust? Has to be earned. and unfortunately if you’ve been burnt once too many, that trust is Long gone & hard to regain.

    • C says:

      I can understand that. I am Asian living in a Western country so I know both sides. But I still think it is ridiculous to not even allow someone out of the house. It sounds like Malaysians outsource their maids from poor countries. These people they take advantage of for low prices are not desirable – they usually are not educated, don’t work hard, from poor backgrounds, broken families, do low class work etc. A lot don’t want to move up in life and have not been taught any manners. There’s a reason why they have trouble finding work in their home country.

      So why is it that instead of spending more money and hiring someone from Malaysia trained to be a nanny (i.e. one who actually wanted to be a helper for the love of children, not out of necessity) that costs more, they choose to hire the same undesirable people to save money, take away their ability to go out/call home/use internet, and then complain when these people don’t do a good job or run away? If they can’t afford better help, why even get a live in maid in the first place?

      I am sorry for your experience and for Cheesie’s as I have learned that lesson too from my parents having maids (all new Chinese immigrants) since they were treated nicely and gave hurt in return. But I think it’s still stupid to say “that’s just how things are” and treat a person like a modern slave. If you’re worrying that much about your live in maid running away or doing something bad, might as well not have one like Cheesie chose.

    • Linh says:

      How dare my maids try and live their own life? Your complaints have nothing to do with the work you pay them to do. You’re complaining about what they’re doing outside of it. Talk about Nanny State. I mean seriously, they’re not allowed or have sex or get pregnant? You’re regulating their reproduction too? You might want to get off your throne.

      • Simisai says:

        Linh, are you fucking serious with your comment? Really??? “they are not allowed to have sex or get pregnant”? What French Fries was talking about was FUCKING PROSTITUTION, which is ILLEGAL. They can go to jail. Even the employers can go to jail. You need to wake up. Why don’t you get off your own stupid throne huh and volunteer yourself at some maid refugee camp huh???

  29. noname says:

    I guess that’s what happens when you choose to have a glamorous life. Good for her to want to focus on being a real mom and stop having a maid. Just look at all her blogger friends in Malaysia and Singapore, Xiaxue, Fourfeetnine and Bongqiuqiu, all of them are spoilt rotten and have maids and guess what? They don’t even have real jobs. All fourfeetnine does is show off her rich husband and go on holidays with the maids, I bet she doesn’t even know how to be a mother because her maids do everything. Xiaxue even worse, all she does is sit in front of her computer and photoshop the crap out of her face while her son is having developmental problems unnoticed. I never agree with this maid thing and don’t understand why any mother would need one. These people are just spoilt.

    • irritated says:

      I really like how you think. Like you’ve been living under a rock your whole life.

      Sure reeks of jealousy in here! Let me guess, a REAL job to you is judging others for what they have and you probably don’t, being an expert on other people’s life just because you read their blogs and hating on others for being “glamorous”

      Who are you to determine what makes a mother or don’t?

      Hmmm…that’s life calling for your attention just right there…go get it!

  30. eunice says:

    similar incident happened in my house. We gave her too much freedom and her attitude changed 100%. I had to send her back because I really cannot stand her anymore. We are getting another maid though hopefully this time we can set the boundaries and have better luck. Good luck to you too! brave mama!

  31. KY says:

    when was the last time you had char kuih teow Ling?

  32. helen says:

    Cheesie, my uncle runs a maid agency and he told me just this month alone there are 12 run away case. They reason is Malaysia currency is dropping too low and all of them want to escape to another country which salary is much higher. It’s sad but it’s really hard to find good maids nowadays, most of them are unreliable and are giving us lots of headache. I am sure you can do better without one. Jiayou!

  33. YY says:

    Hi Cheesie, I feel you. I don’t know how you will manage it without a maid with a young son and a baby is on her way to this world. It will be tough for you. Dont lose heart with your bad experienced with your previous maid. It’s not easy to find a good maid to fit into our households with our reasonable expectations from them. That doesn’t mean there arent good maids out there. I had my share of having bad maids too. I am not going to mention about treating maid as a slave becausse it’s out of context and we all know, we don’t treat them badly. If you need a maid, you just need one. Everyone has different lifestyle, some rather not have a maid and some really do need that extra help from maids. Let me put it this way, would I rather spend my time doing household chores or rather I use the time to nurture my child? I rather use my time to nurture my child and pay someone to do the dirty job. I believe raising my child in a clean environment, therefore, I rather let someone do the cleaning. When my child reached 15 years old, I stopped hiring a maid. Child grown up, well nurtured with good character and I was at ease. Without a maid, I enjoyed the freedom of not having to look after someone’s child (maid) and having to provide to her needs anymore. I have to say without a maid now, I feel happier. When my child was younger, hell man…I needed a maid to do the chores in order for me to spend all my time attending to him. As he grew older, I gave my time to him to cultivate and nurture his education needs, attending to every sports day event, concerts, voluntering work in his school. How would I have time to do all these without extra help from my maid? Use your time wisely to nurture your children. I am proud of myself for able to give my time to him from infancy to a late teen now. I don’t care how often people labeled mom like us who are lazy. Time has change and we go along with it. I know, our grandmas didn’t have a rice cooker during their time. How can we compared with them, their era? Last time, grandmas washed their laundry by the river and hentam the laundry on the rocks for extra cleaning. You want? Not scared the laundry got bacteria from the shitty river water? Right now, if you need that extra pair of hands, just employ a maid. They can never be your family member because they are not. Treat them as your employees, we treat employees better than we treat our loved ones due to the close bond. It takes time to train a maid. You need to understand, these maids come from a different background from us. Their lifestyles are different. If the maid is well to do, she wouldn’t have to leave home to be a maid. Give you an example, if she’s well to do, she would have meats on her table every meals. Because she aint well to do, how do an employer expect her to cook meat dishes well? You get it? It works for other expectations from us too. Do not expect them to have the same standard of hygiene as us. I saw the milk bottle cap you posted, and it reminded me of my younger days when I had my child who was around the same age as your child. Same situation. No choice, we need to monitor their work alot and it took me months to train a maid by showing her what to do and when to do. All my maids stole from me. I kept my valuable in the safe. What was left for them to steal were used pots and pans, utensils and many more. Clothes? Well, I bought alot of new clothes for them and ‘educate’ or ‘brainwashed’ them that wearing new clothes bring luck. Hence, they never once took my clothes because there are worn and not used. Make-up, cosmestic? Again, educated them about bacteria of sharing. Haiz..thinking back, I was more like an educator to them. Sometimes we have to play reversed psychology to them because their mind works differently from us. The last maid with me were the best one. Till now, I am still in contact with her. I wish you all the best and gambatte ne.

  34. ginabear says:

    I think this is why, in Korean culture, often the maternal grandmother of the child moves in to help with the baby. Even though my mom and my aunt (after she had my cousin) occasionally have disagreements with my grandmother, it takes a lot of pressure off of juggling a full time job and childcare. Plus the kids get closer with their grandparents. From my experience, I’ve been partially raised by my mom’s sisters and mother because my parents had full time jobs in another state (I live in the U.S.). As a result, I became so much closer to them and I think it really contributed to the importance of family even as I grow older. I may not be a mother but I am a product of this “group” childcare so I hope this was at least a little helpful! Good luck in your motherhood and safe delivery of your daughter <3

  35. JJ says:

    Hey cheesie!

    I can really relate to this post! I understand the emotional stress you’re going through cos I too, with my personal problems, rotate back and forth so many times throughout the day with my crazy emotions I thought I was either a) really crazy or b) suffering from some mental disease I wasn’t even aware of. And my problems weren’t even half as bad as yours! To be very honest, perhaps you were just a little too harsh on yourself 😔 You are an amazing woman who wants the best for her children, husband, home and friends and it’s totally normal to want to get everything in order. Furthermore, look at you! You’re juggling work and a child all while being pregnant, and having to cope with your husband who regularly flies. On top of that, you are also shuttling forth between SG, KL and Japan. Any normal person would have already succumbed to the pressure but you, you are still standing strong with such a huge heart and big capacity to forgive and be grateful for what you have. You are only human and there is only so much you can do. Sometimes things come into our lives, or they leave into our lives because they came to teach a lesson or they just weren’t meant to stay. If it makes you feel better, think about how at least now you sorta know what to expect when you have a helper, physically and emotionally (even though it was pretty bad), instead of wondering what it’d be like to have an extra hand. And it’s okay that this first time didn’t work out! It’s always okay because you are still surrounded by love, and Japan will always be there for you to look forward to. One bad experience isn’t a bad lifetime. And whenever you feel overwhelmed again, just remember to breathe and ground yourself. Focus on what is ahead of you because what I learnt was that ruminating would only make things worse and at the end of the day, just drain me of all necessary energy. Remember also to love yourself, because that is so so important, especially after you become a mum and your attention would be more on your children (but that also goes to show how awesome you are!) I know you can pull through the remaining months, and I hope maybe in the near future you will find another suitable helper! Don’t worry too much because you are doing your best, progress is still progress. Much love to you and your family! ❤️

  36. Mink says:

    HI Cheesie,

    Just like your sentiments over haze free days and beautiful blue skies, I share this exact same thoughts with you in regards to having a live in maid.

    When my son was born, we hired a helper and we thought things would be so much easier on everyone. In the end, it cause MORE tension in the household and more stress ensued. After a year, she left and i couldn’t believe just how much more calm our household has been. JUST.THE.THREE.OF.US and it felt RIGHT.

    Funnily, I grew up with helpers till the day I got married. I never thought managing a live in helper was so stressful until I had one. For a year.

    Since then, my son is now 6 and I’ve been helper-less for 5 years, I am a full time mom and I work full time at home. It is very tough (I look after my son, work, cook and clean…on repeat mode) but it’s nothing we moms cannot do! 🙂 You’re a fab mom and I think you’ll do fine without a helper 🙂 Sure, your laundry is sky high and most time i am rummaging through a pile of clothes just to find a pair of underwear, the house may not be spotless all the time but, compared to the stress of having a live in helper, I’d rather have unfolded laundry and *slightly* messy house.

    Chins up! You’ll be fine!

  37. jing says:

    Cheesie i feel you. having a helper at home is like having an extra kid. It was more stressful for me too. Their education level is different and they dont feel that whatever they do is wrong, ie stealing/taking/lying. It’s just their culture. We cannot have the same kind of expectation. That’ why when your friends gave you those advices, i totally know what they mean. It is simply impossible to give them too much freedom or privacy, they need to be constantly “monitored” you get what i mean? CCTV is one thing but even you have one they still have their way to steal things without you knowing. It’s very bad for the kids when we have to explain to them why we sent our helper away because of all the bad things she did. They are just generally unreliable so I get your frustration.

  38. Caroline says:

    Mom is super mummy in this world. So you can do it even without a helper.
    I am a mother of 2.5 years old daughter and 17 weeks pregnant now. I do everything housework myself despite I’m full time working mom and my husband long working hour (cannot help me with housework at all). My daughter is in full time child care so I only need physical strength during night time. Even though you run out of energy at the end of the day but you may feel satisfaction as well because you know that your family is safe from ur care. So no worry and stress urself. Gambare!!

  39. KittyGalore says:

    Stay strong, girl, you can do it. And as a side note: I am sure we don’t know the whole story and all the details, but based on what you shared here, it might be a good idea to have a sit-down with the danna for some sharing and discussion? I can’t imagine my husband undermining me like this whenever I have concerns, worries, etc. Your distrust, discomfort towards the maid’s deeds were legitimate, valid feelings, and I’d say the danna should not dismiss them by always suggesting that perhaps it was you who misinterpreted or caused her behavior, it was you who miscalculated the money, etc. And the ‘awesome logic’ of how to deal with stealing your stuff (when she took your makeup and clothes) is beyond me – even if it’s free stuff for you, it was not hers to take. Stealing is stealing. I cannot get on board with his logic.
    I’ve been faced with the helper dilemma myself, and I’ve always felt weird when others suggested not to treat them too nice. I wanted to welcome helpers to my household, trusting that the good you give results in the better returned by them to you. And I too got burnt by the helper – her throwing things instead of washing them (like utensils!), dusting the dining table with a dirty floor brush when no one is watching, wetting/rinsing clothes instead of washing them, just to name a few. I am all for equality and all, but I just learnt the hard way that a stranger is always a stranger and will never be as considerate of your family as of her own. It’s just the way things are. Having said this, the danna should perhaps make a bit of an effort to understand it – his logic might be perfectly fine in Japan, but you guys don’t live there, so the logic must be adjusted accordingly. And by refusing to do that, he is probably hurting you and making you paranoid along the way. Don’t mean to attack him – sometimes it’s just good to address such things to maintain a healthy relationship.
    Btw, love your blog, your style of writing. Please post more!

  40. Vika says:

    Hi Cheesie.
    I was shocked to read this because it looks like she was your slave. Maybe it’s cultural differences, but since I’m American, the way she was treated was completely unacceptable here and she could easily sue. I thought you were nice but this is hopefully cultural. Good luck with your birth, though.

    • Jasmine says:

      it’s standard, the helpers know the rules before they voluntarily leave their home countries to seek (contracted) employment as helpers.

  41. Sherrie says:

    Cheesie, fighting! Usually I always felt inspired and happy reading your posts. But today I made the mistake of reading the comments of judgmental pricks who thinks they know you better than you do…

    I’m gonna try to take my own advice in a bit but…pay them (hateful comments) no heed!

    Your worries are perfectly justified and I do agree with those who recommended part time helpers.

    I hope for the best for you and your beautiful family~!

  42. Chloe says:

    I don’t make comments in blogs usually but reading ur blog post
    I want to tell u that pls dont let this affect u especially u are now pregnant

    Is OK, 🙂 u tried and realised maid is not the best option for u n ur family
    U can try part time maids, they come to ur hse once a week to clean, wash iron.
    Or actually dont put so much stress to ur self, sometimes leave some dirty dishes in the sink for awhile is OK 🙂

    From : a lazy mother with a robot vacuum machine

  43. Anais says:

    I was at a night class when I started sighing to a fellow classmate about being tired from work. She said, “You tired from work? I work 9-5, go to these night classes and have 3 young kids to take care of. I don’t even have a maid.” She also was also perfectly made up (nice hair and makeup). Her daily schedule makes me wanna cry! I asked her how she did it, she said if her mum (single mother) and the mums before her could, so can she. You set your mind to it and do it. *respect*

    I personally didn’t grow up with a helper but my aunt and uncle C’s family did have a string of helpers (the last one lived with them till my aunt’s passing last year). My aunt’s last helper, let’s call her Rose, was just like another family member to us. Whenever there’s a new visitor at her house, she would be introduced personally by name and handshakes (even random guests who visits during open house festivities LOL). The family go for holidays together and she get to regularly return to her homeland. Her name always came up in our conversations, just like any family member. “How’s Rose? Is her youngest doing well in school?” My uncle and aunt also paid her for enrichment classes (English lessons, dressmaking, etc) so that she can have a skill to turn to once her contract is up.

    You would think that they struck it lucky with Rose, but she’s just one of the great helpers they had for the past 30 years or so (save for one who had mental illness). All of them were like family members to us. Was it luck? Partly? Call it sappy, but I believe the “luck” had something to do with the way my lovely uncle and aunt treated and trusted them, attracting goodness in return?

    I am Singaporean by the way, and I was shocked to read this post and some of the replies. I know that there’s a problem with human rights in this region, but I didn’t know it was so prevalent and seemingly acceptable? Or am I being too idealistic and perhaps unable to properly put myself in your (and other sympathizers) shoes? If you are not comfortable with another person sharing your home, it’s best that you engage in a part time helper, dishwasher and a robotic vacuum cleaner.

    Anyway, they say you won’t understand a situation fully until you experience it, so I (and the most of you) are just judging this as an outsider. Sorry I just had to chime in with my $0.02.

    I wish you a smooth delivery and hope you’ll settle into a comfortable routine soon. Junya looks like an absolutely sweet child, and I think that’s all props to you. All the best to your family!

  44. Paperonka says:

    no assistant no problem. my friend has young twins and running, I have a small son and I also work freelance and I know many more such mothers. of course, my hair is not always perfect, and the household chores never end, but I am fully confident my son grow up. in Russia few people can afford an assistant, usually the children attend kindergarten from 18 months or three years, while parents are at work and that’s really no big problem! hold on, cheeser, you can do it))

  45. hazel says:

    Cheesie, that is why you are my favorite blogger, because i feel that somehow i can really relate to your motherhood stories. I used to follow many bloggers around your age and most of them have become mothers just like you. But I have unfollowed most because i can’t really connect to their motherhood stories. Perhaps they needed to maintain a lifestyle to stay relevant in the blogging world, with the help of helpers so they can attend events and stay cool with their friends. Some of them (I wont name who) try to portray the mommy blogger image giving parenting advices but it always feel a little off and unrealistic when all they do is spend time on the internet creating dramas. Real mothers really don’t have that much time to doll up or take selfies or attend late night parties. I am a little sad that you need to take a break from blogging but i am also very happy for you that you decide to commit to motherhood. Wish you all the best and i’ll be here waiting for your updates no matter how long it takes.

  46. angel says:

    honestly i am quite surprised to read all these comments and realize that they are so many different perspectives on the whole helper issue.

    my group of mommy friends and i all have helpers, although some of them live with the in-laws and it is the in-laws’ helpers taking care of their children. Like you said, having CCTV is a norm and i cannot imagine not having one. Actually yours is the first one i’ve heard that does not have a CCTV installed. We do hang out together with our helpers sometimes to take care of our children and the comparing salary part is especially true. They are also comparing how we treat them and would request for shorter working hours/higher salary, etc. It is frustrating but we live with it. It has never come across my mind that so many people who are not from our part of world can think that we are enslaving our helpers.

    It is a very tough relationship, though, because it is very hard to be balanced. We do what we do and it is okay to seek help, for those who think that they are better because they don’t need helpers, good for them, but we all have our own priorities.

  47. fong says:

    Cheesie.. have strength 💪 ,
    One thing i learnt fr my mom (sorry im not married ) is a mother cannot be perfect. She has 6 kids, me included and we had a maid when the 5th child was born. We had her for 5 years. Then she left to work for my uncle. Before n after she had taken care of us by herself. How she works? She keeps us clean, keeps the house clean, keeps the dogs clean and cooks us 3 meals a day without fail.however her cooking isn’t that good, but she still cooks.and our house was just small. and this was more than 20 years ago when msia was not in her developed state. In present times.. there are so many facilities to assist moms in their daily chores..this post is not to tell but to encourage. Many moms have done it and so cn u. Although the experience n expectation might defer. In the end… looking at your grown up children make everything worthwhile.. fighting!!!

  48. Rin says:

    Hello Cheesie!

    Find strength.
    I know being pregnant and having to cope with the stress from the issues with helpers must be tremendously taxing. Just my two cents, I think you can look into part time helpers, they come a few times a week to help you out with chores but they don’t live in your house. That way you can be at ease when working outside, and not worry about who’s at home doing things you can’t see since you don’t have a CCTV at home.

    I don’t think home is a place to install CCTVs anyway, unless I live in a mansion lol I just hope you don’t tire yourself out during this period of time. Take care and I’ll be looking forward to read your blog posts again.

    前向きにね。

  49. Molly says:

    Am in a similar situation as you.. My first son was born around the same time as Jun.. And I’m going to deliver to another one in this coming May too! Hired a helper recently.. So that I can cope better with the second kid on top of a full time job (average of 15 hours of work per day). Went through, and still am going through, this mental tussle of having someone else living with us.. So can totally empathise with you. But I’m really fortunate in a way that my husband has always been the better caregiver/parent, even though his work is more demanding and he actually earns twice the amount I do. Just feel a bit unfair for you that you have to do most of the parenting job, and shuffle between 3 countries due to your Husband’s job. Mine actually agreed to give up all overseas work trips during these crucial 4 years of early parenting, even though it can negatively impact his promotion at work. It’s a balance we have to strike. But I guess your danna and yourself must hv given this some thought too. All the best Mommy Cheesie!!

  50. YY says:

    Sweetie,

    Go along with what fits you as a mom and a wife. As a mom and a wife, you are the pillar of strength to hold the family together. There’s no such thing as having a maid is bad and lazy, and not having a maid is good and all hardworking. I trully salute those moms who work full-time and involved to every needs of their child. I am raising my white flag to them..I salute. For me, I can’t handle it. My bad..:-))

    Those moms who have maids, I am also saluting them. Not easy to raise another child from another country with different values.

    Most importantly, is one have to be able to accept a stranger into your household. If you can’t, don’t do it. It will add alot of tentions to yourself which will affect your children and husband. If you can, you have to be open minded about it and accept that their minds work differently from us. To us, when we are treated kindly, we will repay thousand folds. To them, being treated kindly means they can take advantage. I am not saying they are evil, it is just that their way of upbringing in their environment that they felt being deprived of and therefore, they take as much to fulfill their lackings. It took me years to train and open up my maid’s mind that our world works differently from hers, and she is today still my best helper although she is no longer with me. To me, she was one who was willing to learn and accept the inadequatecy in her system. But sadly, alot of them do not accept or willing to pursue further. To some, having a maid is as if enslaving them without proper understanding, all just over some google here and there of maid being abused. Couple of bad cases on the news do not represent that all employers are bad. If the media is generous of reporting all good employers, they probably have to work 24/7 . Maids have their wrongdoings and so do employers. It’s no longer about being maid or an employer to a maid. It’s all about being a good person overall irregardlss of anything. All the best. Have a smooth delivery and looking forward to seeing a pretty junior Cheese. :-))

  51. Just me says:

    I remember reading a post in FB years ago.. A mum said to the son that she doesn’t trust the maid. The son replied “Why do you entrust her to leave me with her?” Good God, she left. Everything happen for a good reason, if you choose to be optimistic. We live in Sydney and raise my almost 6 years old son all by our own hands. It was tough I must say. I do secretly wished I have extra helping hands sometimes and also know there is no way I am letting a stranger to leave in my house. So we endure and stick to the gun. Don’t make ‘having a helper’ as an option, just pretend helper don’t exist. You can do it. God made you and He will walk with you. Have a safe delivery.

  52. Morgan says:

    WOW! I know women who have like 3 kids and still do work and don´t even have any helper. And besides, it´s sure shitty to just quit work w/o permission/contract ending but WTF you as a mother with family should at least have understood that there are people who have a family, too. LMAO would you complain if she wrote a work termination? Omg..why am I even here o.O

  53. H says:

    Hello Cheesie!

    We r a young couple in Australia and have no kids yet. But its rare to have a live in maid loke we had in malaysia! Some people do have weekly cleaners or au pairs who are like 18 year old visiting girls from europe who stay with the family for 6 to 12 months.

    Im lucky cause the husband does cooking and vacumming and helps out a lot. But also have every appliance – dishwasher, roomba, automatic pressure cookers, lawn mowers. So hopefully when we have kids, it will be ok!

  54. Erika says:

    I have Singaporean relatives who have maids, both Indonesian and Pinoy. I must say that there really is no hard and fast rule with how to deal with domestic helpers. It really all depends on your luck. Some will abuse your trust, some are amazing. You have to judge their character and treat them accordingly. You should consider yourself lucky that none of them indulge in black magic. Some islands in Indonesia and the Phillipines are well-known for black magic so always check before hiring. My cousin had frequent recurring nightmares and hallucinations. Always felt that ‘something’ was following her. My aunt is the superstitious kind and insisted on checking the bedroom and found a knot of long white hair tied with red string under the bed. They fired the maid immediately. They now only hire devout catholic or muslim maids.

  55. Yuxing says:

    Dearest Cheesie!!

    Really, thank you, thank you AND THANK VERY THE YOU for writing this post.

    Frankly, at the start I was really horrified at how your husband decide to trust a helper. I am Singaporean and I heard MUCH horror stories. But, in the end I am really touched by your family values. It really does suck to go treat a helper like a sub-human, yet in some case, they are taking your stuff and so many times parents worried to death about their kids.

    Love your sharing and this will be one super lesson I that I will apply to my life when I have a family.

    AND!! Jia you!! <3

  56. love.everyday says:

    Cheesie, I agree with you! I am a mummy of 2, and my husband was the one who talked me into hiring a helper when my younger one was 3 months old. I didn’t want to but all our family and friends have helpers so I decided to give it a try. To borrow your words, yes my life is easier but not better. I have to keep working to pay for our household expenses, I don’t get to cook for my family (because I got to keep working and have no time), I shy away from displays of affection for my husband because of her presence. Her contract is ending and I don’t think I want to extend. I just want my own world back again! I’m hoping to work less so that I could do housewifey stuff more! Is it a waste of my education? Maybe? My money will be lesser but I think I’ll be happier. Fighting! U can do it!

  57. Mew says:

    It is true that kids will adapt to the situation. The older sibling will generally learn to help out with chores. And the younger kid will too when they get a little older. Kids really do learn alot from what they experience in their daily lives. They learn by watching the adults. I grew up in a multi siblings household and we never had a maid. Eventually things will get done by someone who has learned the know how. Teach your kids right and you will get multiple helpers along the way 😂 And i totally enjoyed learning and bonding with my mom while she taught me household chores. When i was strong enough, i would help carry the groceries just to make her life easier. I think kids naturally develop this urge to help out when they see their moms working so hard. Things will get better when Junya gets older and more understanding. May everything get better and no unforeseen (both getting terribly sick) hiccups trip you up🙏)!

  58. Cali says:

    Ni zhe ge post zhen de ying qi hen duo zheng yi. Hen duo zi yi wei shi de ren, hen duo yi wei zi ji hen li hai, hen you dao de de ren. I don’t know about you ke shi na xie ming ming jiu bu ming bai zheng ge zhuang kuang hai yao jiang duo duo de ren zhen de hen wu liao, ye hen ling ren tao yan! Anyway ni yao jia you! Ni yi jing zuo de hen hao le! Hen wei ni kai xin, zhe zhong xin li shang de ya li he fu dan zhen de bu rong yi mian dui, wo xiang xin ni yi ding ke yi cheng wei yi ge cheng gong, kai xin de mother of two! Jia you jia you! <3

    • cheesie says:

      wo cai gang gang gen wo de peng you shuo, wo ying gai zheng ge post dou yong pin yin lai xie lolol, yin wei da bu fen hui kan de ren dou ying gai ming bai wo men de ku zhong. mei guan xi ba, wo ming bai hen duo shi hou zhen de shi yin wei wen hua you tai da de cha bie, huan cheng shi wo ke neng wo ye bu hui ming bai. Xie xie ni de comment, hai you hen duo qi ta zai tong yi tiao chuan de ren. Zhen de gei le wo hen da de gu li. ^^

  59. Priscilla says:

    I’m Singaporean living in Germany. Just gave birth to my 3rd kid 10 days ago and I don’t have a maid- never have, never will.

    I grew up with maids in Singapore – my parents worked full-time and I had my first maid when I was 3 years old. We’ve had good and bad ones, but at the end of the day, the children (us) all grew closer to the maid than our parents.

    I knew that I didn’t want to have live-in maid at home, cos of all the issues you said. Sure, it’s hard and tiring without help. But you’ll manage! I see all the Moms here, none have maids. There’s no maid culture here, similar to in Japan. I have a cleaner who comes in once a week for 3 hours and it helps a lot.

    It is a psychological crutch to think you’d need a maid. You don’t. Nobody does. It’s only when one “thinks” one needs a maid, then it’s hard to deal with not having one. It was similar for when I first gave birth to my 1st child and everybody in Singapore (including my dad) was like “what? You got no help? You need to get help….” I got more stressed by these comments than by the actual taking care of a baby! I never thought I needed help but I couldn’t break out of the psychological barrier of “can I do it on my own?”

    And my German friend first told me “you can do it! You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you”
    – I’m Christian. And for the first time, I felt I could do it! I can do it! Many moms have done it, I can take care of my own children on my own.

    4.5 years down the road, I can say it is possible! My first is 4.5, second is 2.5years old and third one is 10 days old as I said before.!

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