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Question
Posted by: lala4 | 2007/06/25

domestic problems

i am a single mum of 34yrs and my son is 4yrs old now.
i have a sleep-in nanny who is 30yrs and she helps me with cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing and taking care of my little one.

i do not earn that much (around R6000) and im renting a 1 bedroom flat in the city centre. i work as office administratror for a busy hr department, so there is always so much work to do and it is stressful most of the times.

i pay helper R900 and she goes home every quarter cos she's from lesotho. we have a good relationship, however some times theres differences which we experience, then talk about it and still see no improvement.

for instance, when she assumed duty i gave her the house rules and this included the fact that we sleep at 8:30 because 1. im stressed and prefer to have an early rest so i wake up refreshed/ 2. the principal from my son's creche adviced the children must sleep early and as parents we must stick to this routine, and they must not watch too much tv
3. i also have eye problems (dry itchy eyes) most of the times, and prefer to sleep early.

my bathroom is combined with the toilet and this is sometimes not good. in the morning I take a bath at 6H00 and 10 minutes before that she would go and release her stools and then when i go in to bath its smelling horrible. i have asked in the past that she goes earlier bfore dropping off the bomb but its not helping. i do not mind if a person comes in to urinate but more than its too much. how do I adress this again, politely and respectfully?

she is so keen on watching tv (movhango and motswako) until 10H00 pm and we end up sleeping late because of this. the bedroom door is not yet installed, this flat was a very big bachelor and now the landlord is turning it to a 1 bedroom. so the noise disrupts us and my little one would go back and watch tv wth her. she sleeps in the lounge and its nice and warm. but it would be better if the tv is off. when we talked she promised to keep the volume down and repeated that its not helping. what else can one ddo at this stage.

she has been with us for 8months now and she is good, even if its her first job.

her cousin lives 2 blocks away from us and she always has this urgency (that really irritate me) to go and see her. and sometimes she is not finished fetching the laundy from the washing line and there are cases in our complex when clothes were stolen, if u do not fetch them before dark.

the cousin also, is sometimes interferring. on saturdays we agreed that she can go to the cousin as from 14h00, but while im shopping, she would call me and say she needs to buy bread for the cousin and deliver it to her. i feel that she must be watching over the child by that time, instead of buying things for the cousin. this can wait until i come back at 13h00, its not an emergency.

and then the cousin is borrowin my vacuum cleaner, how did she know that i have this appliance? i think she heard it from my helper. and i do not like to borrow my appliances to others, if its get broken who will repair it? surely the cousin can afford to buy her own, she is working

please advice and thanks for reading



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Posted by: lala4 | 2007/06/26

I need her to sleep in because the bus arrives late and the chreche wants all kids to be collected by 17:15. In the morning she also helps to preprare the kid and take her to chreche.

Maria, how do I discipline the kid not to get up, while we sleep? when the helper is watching tv until 22h00.

maybe the tv should be moved to the kitchen?

I do not have a contract in place, please help me out.

thanks for the advice and comments

Reply to lala4
Posted by: Maria | 2007/06/25

Why do you need someone fulltime if your son is in creche? Are you doing this lady a favour by employing her?

The issue of bathroom use you will probably have to live with. If she hogs the bathroom while you need to use it to get ready you could talk to her about it, otherwise I don't think it would be fair on her.

There are a couple of options in terms of the television:
- Nag your landlord to install the door as soon as possible
- Discipline your son so that he understands that once he is in bed he must stay there and sleep, no getting up to watch tv
- When you go to bed, simply say goodnight to her and switch the tv off

Getting her to stay with her cousin over weekends is probably a good idea. And in terms of borrowing things... did the cousin ask you to borrow the vacuum cleaner? Then you must just learn to say no. You don't have to explain, simply say that you don't lend out your appliances.

This is a very difficult situation with all of you living so closely together. Do you have a contract specifying hours of work, duties and privileges?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Amen | 2007/06/25

makes a good reading.

Tell me is your problem the bad odour in the mornings and the interference by the cousin?

let's start with the odour. Can't you buy Air freshner to kill the odour? Sometimes when nature calls, there is absolutely nothing that you/she can do about it. You do not want to be that restrictive to this lady; afterall, she looks after your child; she spends the whole day with your child. Any corporal punishment-like style that you impose on her, can and will be passed on to the child. So be careful how you manage this list of differences. Buy air freshner for the odour - that will make everyone happy.

Regarding other domestic household rules, there is often no use in preaching the rules or even having these if they are not biting. They become like a "scare crow" and after some time will be just an ineffective dummy. My advice to you is that then there must be some incentives for doing a good job including upholding the rules and principles of the household.

On the other hand someone advised me that though employment should be motivational to somebody that perhaps was living below poverty line (as is often the case with domestic helpers), that may not necessarily be true to them. So, it may even be difficult to talk incentives to ooAnti.

My other option a while ago, was to have a lady for 6 months and them send them back to emakhaya (back where they come from) because as they get to know, they become a burden to manage.

Reply to Amen

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