Being a working mom is a game of balancing many things on a daily basis. Your work, kids, home and other social demands on your time. As any structural engineer will tell you, the key to balance is the right support. Thankfully, in India we do have support available in the form of household help. I know a lot of us feel that managing maids is akin to a headache, but that feeling will go away with a bit of attitude adjustment. Trust me, I have been there. I have come to accept that dependence on maids is a necessity if I am to work peacefully. I am by no means an expert and I too struggle with household help. However, here are somethings that have helped me, even if it is to just manage my own stress levels.
1. Hire backups of backups
I learnt this the hard way. You must have maids who can do multiple jobs. Now I am not saying that you establish an army of hired help, you set up in such a way that if one of them does not turn up, another can fill in their shoes. Let’s face it, each one of your support staff has a life and a family too. They will be off occasionally, especially during festivals.
2. Lower your expectations
This is more for your mental peace than anything else really. For years, I would be drawn toward those who did excellent work and tolerated tardiness. Irregular maids is one of the biggest challenges I have faced. Now, I feel that a job just done is better than a job done perfectly. So compromise on quality of it means getting someone who turns up everyday
3. Be a good paymaster
Just like in the corporate world, the best talent gravitates toward the Best paymaster, the support staff who does good quality work expect payment above the norm. Now this is tricky. The compensation depends on your area rate and also the amount of work they do. Get all the negotiation skills out and work a deal where you get something extra and compensate something extra
4. Communication is the key
Instructions need be clear and follow ups are most essential. Enlist the support of slightly grown up kids and elders in the house if any. Most hired help needs lots of supervision and sometimes you need to find a way to do it even when at work. If this means getting a cctv camera, do it. If your maid can read and write, then leave a list of handwritten instructions for her. She can cross out the job once done and you will not have to deal with forgotten instructions and unattended chores.
5. Show them you care
A little bit of human touch goes a long way in a working relationship. Get to know their family, be sympathetic to their problems and help out if you can. I have burned my fingers giving out financial loans so am aware that this is a double edged sword. But then I always feel if we are not going to help them, then who will? While your individual disposition will decide, I tread the side of caution
So that is it. Those are some tips that help me stay sane. What about you ladies. What are your tips?
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