Let’s start with the do’s.
1. Commend her for any good work done. Something like, “Mmh, I loved that rice. What did you do there?” Or “Clean windows. They look so bright. Good job.” We love praises and recognition too at our workplace,don’t we?
2. Set the rules everytime there is some change. Something like, “Now that there is a lockdown, you can probably extend your sleep by an hour then make breakfast by 8…” She will therefore know what is expected of her at every particular time.
3. Help around. Let the children do too. Take the dirty cutlery away from the dining. Mummy, bond with your babies by maybe bathing them yourself now that you have a lot of time in your hands. Bake the afternoon snacks together.
4. She could possibly be suffering from homesick or she misses her kids who are upcountry and the lockdown cannot allow her to go see her beloved. So be nice, buy some extra credit for her if you can. Let her know you feel her predicament. You are her only family now. Do not make your home a hell for her in this trying times.
5. Be strict not bossy. See this two women.
“Carol, look at my finger, what do you see? Dust! Why is there dust on the window, tell me, huh!” Woman 1.
“Carol, the windows have been so dusty for a few days now, find some time to clean them up tomorrow. ” Woman 2.
So, who is strict and who is bossy? Really think I should tell you. Nah! However, advice for free, choose strict. Thank me later.
6. Teach her about what’s going on around. Tell her why she cannot be allowed to go roam around, why she needs to wash her hands, why she needs to sanitize what she bought at the supermarket. Emphasize first it is for her own good. For some, they have the corona news upside down.
8. Pay her dues promptly if you can. If not able, explain in the most honest way possible why you can’t pay in time. Experts advice that , for proof, one should pay via mobile or bank transfer. Then you will not see a lawyer standing at your door, serving you with summons to appear in court for not paying your help for months while you actually did.
7. Relatives in the house? Unless your family is very exceptional, relatives and dm in the house are recipe for trouble. Extra guests means extra work for her. That teenage sister of yours can wash her own clothes or wash the lunch dishes. Unless your dm tells you she does not mind the extra she is doing, do not overtask her.
9. Food. Your house is not a hotel but neither is it a prison. Be open about the amount of food that should be consumed in a day. We are suffering from harsh economic times. No one will die from not eating 1 kg of ugali everyday.
10. TV: Has she finished all the chores? Does she spend too much time on the telly? Is she stopping the kids from watching their cartoons? Do you also enjoy her favorite soap opera? Do you support her kind of preference ? It’s your house: YOUR HOUSE, YOUR RULES.
Now on the dont’s
- 1. Do not argue with your spouse in front of your househelp. Some dms cannot keep their mouths shut. You might hear all about your quarrel in the neighborhood then you will blame her for being a loud mouth yet you let her witness the drama.
- 2. Dress decently. Some women complain about their dms dressing skimpily. But some dms will just ‘do as the Romans do’. But then again, your house, your rules. Dress as you want because you are in your house. But you don’t need any competition in your own house.
- 3. Never show off to your househelp. Two things might come from your bragging. Either the dm might think you have too much to notice and she develops itchy fingers and your items will start vanishing one by one. Or, she might think you are very selfish that you are paying her a meagre 6k yet you are affording to donate your expensive wigs to your neighbour after two weks of use.
- 4. If you plan to fire your dm the next morning, do not show your intention. Surprise her. Did you hear of the woman who was held captive in her own house after she told her dm she would lose her job the following day? Be warned.
- 5. If you do not share the same language, avoid using your language to talk about her in her presence. Another story has been told of the woman who discovered that her dm was actually her tribemate but had lied about it. Lucky for her she did not say hurtful things about her.
- 6. Still on the gossip, try not to think she is busy wiping the table as you and your best friend discuss that plump mama with a slim husband. She is listening! And you will be wondering why the plump woman sneers at you everytime you meet.
- 7. Do not get into a hanky panky with your man when you know she might walk in. She’s human you know, probably suffering a harsh dry spell or she might be a religious celibate! No temptations please.
- 8. However long you have stayed together, dont trust her with your troubles. Ever heard of the adage, familiarity breeds contempt? There you go. You are the boss, she is your employee. Try to let it stay that way.
- 9. If she asks to leave, allow! Please do not negotiate. Explore your options after she has left regardless of how fixed you are. God will make a way just please, do not beg a stranger to stay a little bit longer.
- 10. Do not stress. Dms come and go. You are you and nothing can change that. Just because Mama X has had her dm for twelve years and eleven months and you cannot keep one for a month doesn’t mean you are the bad one. You just haven’t found a good one yet. Still Mama X could be enduring stuff that you wouldn’t.
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