Employing domestic help.


One of the big reasons I do not employ someone to help me with housework, is that I have extreme guilt.  I cannot fire them.  I seem unable to tell them when they are doing something wrong and then just live with it, because I cannot bring myself to say it.

I also feel under huge pressure to make a proper breakfast and lunch and offer tea.  It gets too much and then I end up not employing someone in the first place.
Now I really need the help, because the weekends are too busy to get the proper cleaning done, and really the house is looking a tad sad.
I also would like someone to clean during the week while we are not there, but again I feel huge guilt for making them walk from the main gate to our house.  On weekends, I fetch whoever from the taxi and then drop them off at the taxi after.  And then I feel the need to give them dinner to take home, because they have been working all day for me.  I have also been I told I pay too much and to be honest I cannot afford to pay those rates anyway. I also do not know how much is too long a day, and then end up letting them go before they finish everything.
Employing someone to help with housework, basically stresses me out to no end.  A friend told me I need to stop with this stuff.  It is employment and the women do not feel they need all the things I think they should have.
I also feel bad for letting whoever come clean up alone, and end up cleaning along with them, because I feel bad about it, hence they need to be there when I am at work, so I do not end up doing all the housework anyway.
Is there is a group for stupid people like me?  Are there lesson I can get somewhere?  Weirdly enough, I have no trouble criticising and redlining work when I am at the office.  In fact, I can be quite harsh.

22 responses »

  1. You need to see the domestic help as a normal employee / employer relationship. Does your boss give you breakfast, tea and lunch?

    I’m unfortunately the same – I can’t just sit and watch someone clean.

  2. LOL, if there is a group for “stupid people” like this, I’m probably the Chairlady.
    I’ve had mine for 3 months now. No, I’m not happy, but she irons and dusts and vacuums. I’ve learnt not to look at my house so critically. No, it’s not the way I like it but it’s not a absolute tip either. My house is always neat, washing up done and no toys or clothes, etc lying around. It’s a bit dusty. I still do the washing myself and I’m always doing something. We just have to turn a blind eye to things that are not being done as well as we would do them
    On payment…………I have someone once a week. I pay her R160 a day. She walks about 1km from the Spar down the road to our house. She has her own key. I do cook her a meal the night before that she can heat up and I’ve told her to help herself to breakfast/tea/coffee etc.
    The hard thing is finding someone you can trust to help themselves for the day, and not to take things to stock up their own cupboard.
    Sometimes you just have to let things slide. Believe me, no one else sees the “mess” you see
    Good luck

  3. I say this with the best intentions – you need to get over this!!!!! Or continue how you’re going i.e. cleaning by yourself 🙂 From your blogposts, this is the last thing you need to worry about…cleaning your house. I hear you on some of the items you’ve mentioned – I also have some guilty feelings, but remember that this is an employer/employee relationship. There are certain things governed by the law i.t.o. domestic employment. You certainly are not required to provide a COOKED breakfast or to send her home with food. And cleaning together with her is pointless. Then you may as well do it yourself. Each for their own I guess but I really feel that with all the things you’re dealing with – work, the school situation with Honeybear, not having support nor babysitters here, this is one of the things you can leaern to deal with to make your life a bit easier…just my opinion, use it, don’t use it 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Lol, I know. Hey I am now getting a full night’s sleep without walking about checking anymore.
      I agree, I have far more important things to focus on.
      I am building a babysitting network though. We are currently four families who can be called upon for babysitting or a school run.

      • Yes man…well done, making progress 🙂 Now take advantage of the babysitting ring even if it’s going out once a month alone wiht the hubby (if you want to of course!!). Also, well done on the full night’s sleep…it’s the small things.

  4. As a colleague of mine says, as South Africans we have the responsibility to employ as many people as we can, there are way too many unemployed people out there.
    The government sets guidelines which we use to guide our payments; and I supplement where I feel it is inadequate; but not to your level. As RM says – extrapolate your employee experience into your employer behaviour. As an employer (in my practice) I provide tea coffee milk, biscuits and the odd snack – cup of soup, 2 minute noodles, so there is always something there for them. Yes, my domestic helper has breakfast, lunch and tea on my account – I offer dinner, sometimes she has it, sometimes not, but she does live in so that is a little different from a casual.
    My current helper is really not great, and I am super frustrated, but I cannot do it myself or teach her; therefore I must live with it.
    Remember that you can always build in a probation period into a contract, so you can see if she is a good fit for you, and move along if not.

    • Thank you for the advice. I have done a bit more research now and will try out the agency rate as it is better than the department of labour rate. I will still offer the meals, because I feel I should, but perhaps I am not going out my way to specifically cook it.
      Letting go is something I need to work harder on.

  5. I have to chime in. You’re paying way too much – a good guideline is to browse the sites that offer once-off employment and give a bit less than that. As an example, I’ve seen that the daily services (if your regular is on leave) go for about R300 – R320 a day, but you don’t provide any lunch!

    You could always, if you feel guilty, organise cupboards/ declutter clothes, etc. while the lady cleans.

    • I did go do a proper check now, also at the department of labour (but those are too low).
      I received a recommendation from a lady who works with me…and I am going to offer the same as her as she came via an agency with a rate.

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