Handling Household Help - II
More tips on coping with household help. Always be civil, and before losing your cool, take their point of view into consideration.
Do you feel suspicious every time you send your maid to shop for vegetables? Do you wonder if she is sneaking a little change on the side? Bearing suspicions are not fair on her, and on you, so for your own peace of mind demand that she bring home a receipt everytime you send her shopping. Let her account for every penny she has spent when buying the vegetables. Sit down with a calculator, pen and paper if necessary, and get the prices of everything. All it will take is 5 minutes of your time, and beats you going vegetable shopping. DON'T say "Keep the change," or she may then try and bring back less and less, and keep as much change as she thinks she can get away with. She is running an errand for you, and she has to return all the loose change, even if it is no more than a rupee. Don't start practices that will ultimately backfire in the long run. If you are really happy with her, then increase her salary or give her an extra-large bonus on Diwali.
Preferably let only one family member deal with the servant. If your servant want to take leave for example, he should come only to you and not try first asking you and then your husband and then your mother in law! Similarly, when one person is making all the major decisions regarding your servant's work, chances of conflicting orders are less - and conflicting orders are unfair to the maid as no matter what she does she will annoy someone who then will tick her off. Similarly tell your children and other family members that if they have a gripe with the maids, to come and let you know instead of trying to deal with it themselves, as they may tend to lose their temper and yell at them needlessly.
Before losing your cool always hear her out. Perhaps she misunderstood your orders. Were you clear enough when telling her what to do? Look at it from her point of view.
Don't argue needlessly. Instead of asking her if she has dusted a particular corner when you can clearly see that she hasn't, and then swiping your finger over it to prove her wrong, just show her the dust beforehand and tell her not to miss this spot again.
Teach your children to treat your household help with respect. They will follow your example, so bear that in mind. If your children see you yell at your maid all the time, they may tend to treat the maid poorly. And if you expect your children to listen to the maid, for example, if the maid feeds your child, you will definitely want your children to take her more seriously. So, always encourage them to speak civilly to the maids, and if you catch them being rude, tick them off - but do so later, in private. Remember, always discourage your children from being rude to the maids.
If your servant's children are also living with your servant in the quarters, consider encouraging them to get educated. Send them to school, and think of it as your contribution to social service. Help the children with their homework and encourage them to make something out of their lives. If the children of your maids see how serious your own children are about homework and about going to school regularly, they too will get inspired to do the same, and can perhaps dream of a better future.
If you have any old clothes, you can consider giving them to her when she visits her village, so she can distribute them amongst her relatives. But it is best that you don't overdo it. It is far better that you just stick to giving her her salary, and unload your old clothes in a charitable home. Once she has proved her loyalty to you and has stayed on for a number of years, you can be more generous with the perks. In the meantime it also helps if you make a system like giving her one sari on your child's birthday, another on Diwali, and so on.
Handling Household Help
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