Why We Don’t Have A Maid

We could well be the only people in Mauritius without a maid.

We did have one, but it didn’t suit me.

She was honest – she never stole anything, which is sometimes a problem here (our friend’s maid stole her knickers – don’t ask me why!), she was a very nice person, and it was great not having to clean the house ourselves.

I liked her, but as with some of the other workers we’ve had, the problems ended up outweighing the benefits.

She:

  • Burnt clothes when ironing
  • Broke almost an entire set of wine glasses whilst washing up
  • Rearranged the ornaments each time she dusted
  • Went into great detail about her lack of finances and other woes
  • Re-organised ALL the kitchen cupboards one day, because that’s how she would have them were this her house
  • Started arriving late and leaving early
  • Made me feel guilty for watching the morning news and having a cup of coffee while she cleaned our house
  • Made me very ill

OK, the first six we took in our stride (well, I did – Alf sleeps late so he didn’t really have much to do with her, plus she couldn’t speak English), and the fifth was my problem.

After all, the house was always shiny and sparkly and clean.

However – the last one.

If you’re queasy, don’t read any further.

I started getting sick – for months, I had gastro – once so bad, that we had to close our café for a week, and give the maid time-off-with-pay.

We couldn’t work out what was wrong.

And then one morning I walked into the bathroom, and watched in horror as the maid finished wiping the inside of the toilet with a rag, put down the lid, smiled at me, and moved onto cleaning our toothbrush holder with it.

I’d noticed a similar rag before, when she was wiping the balcony railings or the top of the stove, but thought she’d found an endless supply of them in the garage.

I asked her if she brushed her teeth in the toilet bowl.

She looked at me as though I were crazy and said, of course not.

So I asked why she was making us do it.

She looked back at me blankly.

I explained the concept of germs.

Still blank.

I bleached the entire house, including the walls.

We did not part on good terms.

I hear she’s working for a family from France now.

I hope she’s enjoying the time off she gets whenever they’re too sick to get out of bed to let her in.

Anyway, Alf says he wants a new maid to clean up a bit and to iron his shirts.

He’s free to hire one anytime he likes, but he’ll need to interact with her, listen to her, and teach her how to clean properly.

I’m not interested because I’m too busy – I’ve got clothes to burn, glasses to break and kitchen cupboards to re-organise.

Bathroom sink

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20 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Have A Maid

  1. Oh thank God, I’m not the only woman alive who can’t stand having a maid. I hope you realize that she knew better on all counts. The blank stare? She knew exactly what you were talking about. I live in a Muslim country as a western expat and have been through the maid gamut. Now, I am just about the only woman around who does not have a maid, and generally for the first five reasons. That’s enough for me. I can’t count the number of times I have heard a woman here say, “well, I may have to cover my head, and I can’t drive, and I live in total submission but unlike western women, I am pampered and free…because I have a MAID!”

    I just laugh and shake my head. “Well, all that oppression and no privacy either: what a deal.”

    The comment from the man whose wife sticks to the maid like a Sergeant Major really cracked me up. Nothing like sticking to the maid all day to remind a woman how tedious household matters used to be before she got a maid.

    • Hi Colleen – probably most maids are nice – in fact, I was planning to write another post about maids at some stage – a helpful one, instead of a tongue in cheek one – to help newcomers to Mauritius find a maid that, like you, they’ll like. Hope you’ll read it and add helpful comments, because I’m certainly not an expert!
      Veronique

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  3. wow. i looked this up in a engine search, in desperation. Apparently i am an ignorant husband for not compromising on the needing a maid issue…i dont want a maid..i swear..philippines. teary wife who beats me for money, says i am ungrateful, never eats what i eat, blah blah. i am glad a woman speaks up about feeling a little lost

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  6. I am sorry that you have encountered the problems you have depicted in your blog!….this is probably what you get when you do not check references before you employ someone!….the generalised comments you make about Mauritian maids I think is rather patronising!…to insinuate that they are all thieves and that is the norm is just reprehensible!….If you are willing to pay derisory wages, you will only attract people who lack any sort of formation!….I do live in Europe and I can assure you that here too there are lots of people like that, this is probably the case in in every society and not only in Mauritius……vet your employees carefully, pay real wages and you should not have any problems……good day to you madam…..

    • If you were to take the time to read my post properly, sir, you’d realise that I did not generalise – I spoke solely about the woman we employed, and one other. I employed her because she needed a job and couldn’t find one. She had no references – we were trying to help her. I am not in charge of salary structures – I asked her what salary she expected, and we paid her what she asked for. Which, might I add, though it was low, cost us a lot in other ways. So stop being a pompous arse, take what I write in the light-hearted way it is meant, or don’t read my blog anymore if you find it so offensive! And a good day to you!

      PS Are you a troll?

      • It is you madam who is a presumptuous pompous arse!…..it is entirely your fault that you employed somebody who appears to have a learning disability!…..the days when Mauritians could be treated like slaves and coolies are far gone madam!….I can see clearly that unfortunately, the “I am superior” colonial attitude unfortunately still prevail in some individuals in Mauritius!…..if you think that the island is so bad and that all the maids are conniving thieves, you can always relocate somewhere better lol!….
        ps: I am no troll but passionately patriotic towards my country!….I could also start a blog about French or British misfits but this is not my style!

  7. Talk about recognising the woes of employing a maid, this says it all. Ours has not yet learned how to iron. Not sure what she does at home with her two kids and hubby? My wife sticks to the maid throughout her cleaning day like a Regimental Sergeant Major to his regiment! However, I still hear the occasional crash of ornaments and sometimes find my dear grandfather’s portrait upside-down. I suppose that the word hygiene has not translated well into creole but one day maybe.

    • Haha! The upside-down portrait just goes to show how much attention she’s paying to what she’s doing! And yes, hopefully the concept of hygiene will someday become understood – I think it’s a sad and telling fact when the newspaper has to print articles telling the public to wash their hands after using the loo!

  8. That’s probably why I don’t want to employ a maid. It might cause more problems than good. Anyway, I’ve read quite a few of your posts and some made me laugh. I can’t even remember what I was searching for before stumbling on your blog, lol. Just wanted to say thanks because I was looking for a nursery for a long time now and I found not one but many here 🙂

    • Hi Clever Dodo – I should have added that the moral to this story is, if you get a new maid, you need to spend the time teaching her exactly how you want your house cleaned – don’t just assume she’ll do it the way you would. It’ll be time well spent. And get references.

  9. There are cases where it does not work out, as well as where it does. There’s a maid which works at my home for 20 years now. She’s like family, and her regular rants about her woes are something we kinda get used to. Indeed, we did get a few cases of burnt shirts, but she’s been very helpful and trustworthy so far. Replacing her is out of the question right now (unless she retires).

      • Luvnish, I was thinking about what you said – a couple of people I know would probably let their husbands go before they let their maids go!

  10. You describe the trials and tribulations of living on the Isle de Maurice so well. I can see a book in this. On the other hand there may be an excellent business opportunity in training staff for domestic work and running an agency. Not for you? I quite understand.

    • Hi Graham – quite right, not for me – I’d end up in prison on multiple murder charges! Or sick. Speaking of which, think I had a mild case of chikungunya – had all the symptoms other than joint pain. Stupid country! xx

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