3.24.2009

It's Not You... It's Me

Well not really. It actually was her, though she never picked up any of the clues or the not-so-subtle hints either. I shouldn't be surprised. Note to self... you need to stop being surprised about things here in India. Remember yesterday?

Here's the deal. I have been contemplating firing my maid for the past month. I've wanted to for much longer, but didn't have a replacement, nor the energy to clean the house myself. So I settled. While household help is plentiful here, it's also not quite up to par with what one would expect in other parts of the world. Sure, the cost is ridiculously low - which is why most people have such an abundance of help. But when you find yourself cleaning up after the maid leaves, is it really worth it?

I have a list of things for my maid to do. Not a very difficult list, but a detailed one. It states specific things she should do every day, and things she can do if she finishes up with her daily work early (which she does EVERY day because #1 - she does a half-a** job cleaning in the first place, and #2 - because when you do the same thing over and over again each day, it doesn't take as long to do it). I have this list posted in both English and in Tamil on the refrigerator. I walk by it several times a day. She does too, though I can guarantee that she NEVER looks at it.

Now I'll admit that I'm somewhat picky. But really folks... does it not make sense that if you're going to take out the garbage in the upstairs bathrooms, shouldn't you do it in the downstairs bathrooms as well? And when I specifically request that you NOT do the laundry (something I prefer to do myself), and come home to find not only did you run a load of whites, but that you also added a hot pink tank top that for whatever reason you grabbed out of the darks pile, do I not have a right to be a little annoyed? Oh yeah, and remember when I came home from Phuket and had 5 loads of laundry to wash and for you to fold (yeah, that's the one thing I can't stand to do...), had to go grocery shopping, had 2 tired/sick kids, and you decided that you didn't need to come in to help me because you worked the day before until 5 pm... and there's nothing for you to do. Really not thrilled on that one.

So when I told her today that when I leave next that we're cutting her hours, I shouldn't have been all the surprised that she felt completely blindsided... even though we had "the talk" about how I really needed her to be more proactive around here and become a team player. Twice! Then when I told her that all Matt needs are a few rooms cleaned, his clothes washed/ironed once a week, and maybe make a Biryani rice here and there, and that should only take 4 hours... tops! Really? You're now going to tell me that he needs you here 3 days instead of 2? Lady, you can't even fill an entire day here when there's the 4 of us. And that's WITH 2 tea breaks and over an hour for lunch.

So I switched tactics and told her that it's not her (laugh, cough, snort), it's actually me. I just can't justify her salary. I can't afford to pay her. I have way too many obligations when I leave that put a burden on our pocket book and thus, when I leave, her time left here is fading. And when Matt leaves in May, well... that's all she wrote. The Rupee stops here!

I was given ultimatums about finding her another job. I was told it was our responsibility to help her. She insisted that she's worth the money I pay her. And I feel bad - for a whole host of reasons.

But moreover, I feel the most amazing weight lifting from my shoulders. I've been wanting to do this for months. I finally have my "out." And I took it.... and ran...

Now all I need to do is find myself a new maid when I get back in July. Which should be easy... right?

11 comments:

Mom24 said...

It makes me cringe just to think about it. Good luck. :-)

It's very exasperating to pay someone to do a job and not have them do it. What a pain.

Naomi said...

We are heading "your way" this summer and I've devoured your posts in an effort to "learn" all I can about life in India ...

The topic of this post also makes me cringe to think about it. But forewarned is better than nothing, right?

Good luck finding her replacement in July!

Robin said...

My cleaner will do whatever I ask, but he's not proactive about anything. Drove me mad but years ago his wife (who used to clean for me before my friend hired her away as her nanny) that he's a man, what do I expect LOL. That said, what he does he does well, and he's as honest as can be, and heck, practically part of the family by now so we just keep on keeping on. If I ever do need to get another cleaner though (he keeps saying he's going to leave Israel and go home soon) I'm definitely putting "change the sheets" on the standard list for next time!

Glad you found your out, and hope you have better luck with the next one.

Kat said...

Oy! We have had our housekeeper for about 5 years. There are somethings that she does not do the way I'd like. But...I like her. Trust her implicitly. And that seems to make up for a lot. I guess it's kind of like picking my battles.

Of course, that has absolutely nothing to do with your issue :-) Good luck on finding someone new. And with a new baby in tow...

Kirsten said...

Oh I so feel your pain. I am dying to get a new housecleaner, but I am complete whimp when it comes to these things.

Maybe I'll follow your lead and just do it. :-)

Simple Answer said...

He. He. He. The burdens of living overseas!

Shannon said...

Well, I think it's good that you "bit the bullet"... one thing you don't have to worry about! Like you don't have enough going on right now ;)

American in Norway said...

Well it isn't like you didn't tell many times what she should be doing... I'd be like C-ya...wouldn't want to be ya...

& if she got bitchy about me finding her another job... I would be honest & say your can't recommend her, because she didn't do a good job for you... let her think about that a little...

C said...

I can't believe she gave you a hard time about getting her another job! If you already had a conversation with her about what she was supposed to be doing (and wasn't) I think your conscience is clean--she was warned. I hope you find a better situation when you get back b/c with a new baby, you'll need all the help you can get! :)

~Christy

Nap Warden said...

I am the queen of avoiding confrontation...so I get the weight being lifted. All I can say is good luck on finding someone new:)

Emma said...

Hi, good to hear you all made it back safe and sound. As you know we are going to be leaving begininning of June and have 2 great maids I can recommend them both very highly. Both are hard workers, one is a great cook and the other is fantastic with the children, let me know. Off to the Marriot soon for a bouncy castle session!

Blog Designed by: NW Designs