Managing Life Without A Maid

Managing Life Without A Maid

MOST working couples in Malaysia employ maids. They handle regular housework, such as taking care of the children, cleaning, washing, preparing food and sometimes even gardening.They have now become part and parcel of the Malaysian household that after a certain period of time families has the tendency to fully depend on the maids.

Even the concept of giving maids one day off a week has flashed lively debates about whether families can survive without help for a single day.

Recently, the cost of having help around the house has become more expensive. The introduction of the iKad, made for easier identification of legal foreign labourers in the country, would place an additional charge of RM110, which means increased monthly expenses of families with maids in Malaysia.

Is it time to live without a maid? Or bear with the increased costs?

Malaysians are too pampered

Dato Sri Rohani Abdul Karim. Pic from

Truth is, Malaysians are a pampered lot, that even middle income families can afford a maid.

This is because the maids are relatively still cheap. Getting an Indonesian maid may warrant a minimum wage of RM700 but there are families ‘going around the bend’ and pay only RM350 a month.

Having maids at home, more often than not can lead to pampered and spoiled kids who do not know how to put on school socks or tie their shoe laces, not even know how to hang a towel, or wash dishes and fold their own underwear.

But when is it considered necessary for a family to have a maid and when is it deemed as an “easy way out of doing housework”?

Every family has different needs, various priorities and individual routines. Before deciding to have a maid, the things above are just some of the aspects to consider.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim urged Malaysians to learn to live without maids.

She said the department of Women’s Development (JPW) have re-initiated the home manager’s programme to train local women to provide domestic help for families in need.

The Home Managers’ Programme which ended in 2010 was expected to make a comeback to ease the burden of families who cannot afford to hire foreign maids.

The programme was introduced by its former minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen in 2008 to overcome the uncertainty over the availability of foreign maids.

Rohani said the decision to revive the programme follows issues concerning the limited supply of foreign maids and the fee hike to hire maids from Indonesia. She also said that the programme will be resumed after a practicability study.

“Many families, especially working parents, need trained personnel to look after specific tasks such as caring for the children or elderly, cooking, housekeeping and such, therefore, we have to come up with updated training modules that take into consideration the needs of both the employers and home managers.” she said.

Rohani also said a home manager’s job scope covers three primary areas, which are upbringing and education of children, care of the elderly and disabled and residential management.

“Home managers are set to do specific tasks that they chose according to their expertise. They cannot be expected to do house work as varied as foreign maids, such as housekeeping, cooking, and taking care of children or the elderly all at the same time, “she said.

Living with a maid

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With a live-in maid, they are able to leave your children with the maid while you’re at work or whenever you need to leave the house to run some errands.

There is no need to drive back and forth to the nursery every day or look for babysitter when you have urgent appointments. Other than that, most people choose to have a live-in maid so they have someone to help them with almost anything around the house.

Moreover, a maid can keep your house clean on a more regular basis as she can do the cleaning every day. If you’re someone who only does any housework only on weekends, then a maid can lighten the work by doing it every day of the whole week.

Adding to that, if having a maid can allow you more time with the family, it can also give you time for you to spend on yourself. You are able to do the things you want and like.

For example, you can go on a date night with your spouse, or go for a monthly visit to your favourite hairdresser without the worry that your kids are left alone.

“I can’t live without maid before but now I can”

Talking to a bank manager, Leelanjali Parasuraman, 35, said she used to have a maid who worked with her for five years whom she treated part of her family.

“She will do all the housework such as ironing, cleaning the house, rooms and taking care of my two kids. I trusted her to manage my home and looking after my kids,” she said.

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Leelanjali also said that she was so much dependence on her maid (Atiqah) as she feared the contract would end. Indeed, the day has come where she had finished her contract and wished to be back to Indonesia (hometown) as she has to take care of her ill parents.

“I had no choice and I had to let her go. To tell the truth, my first week was a terrible one because I haven’t adjusted myself to the situation.

I had to send my kids to school and had to rush while lunch hour to pick them up and send to my mother’s place as she has one, pick them up after I am done with work, come home to see your house is a mess totally a big headache,” she said, adding that her house in that first week period was messy in fact horrible.

She finally overcomes this dilemma, she moved on.

First she did a new schedule of life. One weekend she sat down with her husband and kids and told them that they need to sort thing out. She started cleaning the house; check all the drawers (she doesn’t know where the things were kept) and rearrange things according to her system.

“When everything was in order, I started to enjoy my privacy at home. Now I feel alright without a maid. No doubt, I need to work harder but I still enjoy the privacy. In fact now I realised that I can do housework better than a maid,” she giggled.

Another working couple, Farah Adibah Mansor, 38 and husband who owned a private company said that they felt handicap when their trusty maid left for home. Her boys (6 years old, 8 years old and 10 years old) are their main priorities.

“We tried having a part-time help. It worked for first week, then we realised she can’t iron and my husband’s shirt still looked like PJs out of the washer, therefore I took the job,” she said, adding that her daily routines start at 5.30am every day.

“By hook or crook I have to leave the comfort of my bed no later than 5.35am. I have three alarms which different times set; alarm clock, alarm from my smart phone and my husband. Then I’ll have to prepare breakfast and lunch for my kids.

“In the mean time, I’ll wash the dishes, sweep the floor, and do all the house necessary job and I have to leave the house by 6.30am while my husband send the kids to school. During lunch hour, I have to pick up my kids and send them to my aunt house which located opposite my house, she is my part time nanny,” she said.

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She added some other chores are done during the weekend such as folding clothers, vacuum the floor and she taught her kids to make their own beds after waking up and clean their own rooms, she also said that her kids have to wash their own shoes or go to school with the dirty shoes.

“Well, I have to be cruel for them to be independent individual later on. Frankly speaking, I don’t need a maid since my spouse and children helps me a lot, I never force them but they love to be involved,” she confessed.

While even considering life without maids could well result in outraged howls of protest, it may now be time to start preparing for a society without domestic helpers.

But can we?

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