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Uma shares her observations of today's mother's dependence on maids.

I am a proud mother of a bubbly 5 year old. I share the usual concerns all parents have. "Is she eating right? Is the school right for her? Should she join any more extra-curricular activities? How much TV viewing is right?" I too live and juggle between two worlds of work and home, between anxious parenting moments to worthwhile work victories. My support systems as I do this include a grandmother and a part-timer. But they remain precisely that - support systems - to support me, and not to take over from me. I guard my parenting rights jealously. As I look around me, socialize when time permits, with mothers of my daughter's classmates, neighbors, activity class mothers, office colleagues, I am surprised to see how integral a role maids now seem to play in parenting.

When we go to eat out, it is a usual sight to see maids in tow, taking care of babies, while parents enjoy their culinary experience. Older pesky children bordering on being ill-mannered brats are herded out to play-areas if available, by the maid. Maids take the children to parks. Maids and the indispensable driver drop and pick children from various classes. One of my neighbors proudly told me about a governess she found for her older 6-year-old. She makes sure she eats right, learns the right manners and helps her with all her homework. What a perfect situation!

Another friend, who delivered a bonnie baby girl recently, told me she had got a second live-in maid from Kolkata. This is addition to the existing one who is a live-in and another part-timer. On my asking her why she needed another one, she replied as if it was obvious "I have 2 kids now, don't I?"

All this, when she does not intend to work (outside the home). In the stairways and the parking area of the building where I live, maids or drivers can be seen overseeing children learning to cycle or skate. When I set up play-dates for my daughter (No, sadly I don't live in an area where loads of children simply rush out in the evening to play downstairs), mothers will discreetly ask if it was okay with me if the maid sat in one corner while the kids played. After all, this is an unsafe world.

I am left wondering, whatever happened to the willingness of parents to experience the joys (and pains) of parenting? At the risk of not getting a moment to ourselves, my husband and I take my daughter and sometimes her friends too on outings minus any maid. Frustrating at times and tiring, I enjoy teaching my daughter and yes, watching her do her homework. No, I don't get the maid to clear the toys. She puts away her things herself. On play-date days, I do the snacks myself. I make sure I get to pick her at school. The expression when she rushes out of school, chatting with friends, hair streaming, excitedly sharing her day is too good to miss. Recently when we were entertaining at home, I asked one of my husband's friends who had moved to Mumbai from Delhi "Are you settled in?" He replied happily "Yes, all settled and maid-ed!"

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Rupal.5 years ago
I don't understand the guilty feeling about having a live in maid. Yes she helps me raise my kids, keep my house. So what? I pay her for her services. I'm still the mom and do most mom like things, I just don't cook dinner, but I make sure dinner is healthy and eaten, I make sure baths are taken, clothes are clean and in the right place. Yes my kids don't know how to make the beds but they'll learn when they go off from my house. I make my life easier and I will not apologize for it.
Mira.8 years ago
observations made here are true. if you don't have a maid and haven't depended on one, you cannot understand why other mothres are so dependent on them. but once you start appreciating the luxury of a full-time maid, you can never 'downgrade' to part-time!!!
Shobhna.8 years ago
it is true that whether you have a part-time or a full-time maid, she is a blessing in disguise. i think mothers should be able to balance out the chores in a way that you are the prime person giving attention to your child because you are afterall the mother. like, i have seen that many parents send their children to the park with their maids and all the maids do is either chat with their friends or sometimes even eat from your childs snack box. the maids can never have the feeling and bonding which you have with your child. me and my husband we try and take our son to the park on weekends and i colour with him, i play with him and from time to time do different activities with him. being a mother is a big responsibility which we should be glad to shoulder.
deepa.8 years ago
so, true.
even i had a full time maid when by daughter was a baby, with the same arrangements like mil and maid being a support system when i worked.
now, my daughter goes to the daycare and believe me, nothing better has worked out for me.
Asha Bhoumick.8 years ago
i totally agree with the author that over dependence on maids has become the norm. i live and work in dubai and trust me, working in dubai is no cake walk. however, i take immense pride in saying that i oversee all details of my six and a half year old son and take him along wherever we go. it is cumbersome and tiring but i would have it no other way.
jyoti.8 years ago
u mean to say you are better off sending ur child to daycare than leaving with the maid.
i always have bad experiences with the maids. they can never fill in for u, how much ever little time u leave ur child with the maid. i know the maid eats the snacks saying my child asked for it. i know my child never likes sweets and all the sweets in the house keep disappearing. maybe a few of them who are lucky can get good maids. otherwise they are nothing but a pain and totally unreliable. yes, day care would be a better option as they are more than one person and there are other kids around.
Pr.8 years ago
you are not quite wrong. but there are cases like me. i let me maid be for my baby only when i am in office. when i am there, i take care of kids.

another problem is with the grandparents today. they refuse to look after the kids so we need to outsource the task. my mom takes full care of her grandson so they have no maid. my mil refused same for my kids, she only supervises. so i hv to hv the maid.

what say??
jyoti.8 years ago
if there is a supervisor like mil at home to supervise the maid, then it may work ok. but in case of leaving the child alone with the maid with nobody else around, i am not too sure how safe the child will be. it will work out only if the maid is very unreliable which is very rare.
Vidya.8 years ago
yes, i totally agree with you. no maid can be a replacement for a mom. i have a parttime maid for my seven year old and shall have someone for the entire day since i am due in september, bvut, my maid will be a maid: following my instructions. she will look after the elder one while i attend to the younger and to the younger one while i spend time with the elder. i am a tution teacher by profession and find it amusing and bizzar that other parents who are teachers send their children for tutions elsewhere. i can never trust anyone with my child's studies, except my husband or mom, never a maid.

also, my seven year old does his own work around the maid. he has been taught to show me an absolutely clean plate after meals and put corriander leaves into the dustbin, himself, to mop up the floor when a glass of water spills and not leave it for the maid. i have often told him how they happen to be poor bdue to circumstances.
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