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Treating Filipina Maids

You are bending yourself backward for the maids [domestic helpers] treating them as family members when obviously they are not.

I feel that you are making an excessive effort to be kind and generous, or charitable as you say, while to me you seems to go overboard.

Let me relate to you my approach with my helpers: for a start they are eating by themselves in the 'dirty' kitchen, not at our table where we can have guests or just want privacy in our conversation and don't want to be scrutinized while eating.

They do eat the same food as us but we keep an eye on them to avoid be taken advantage of, by temptation, greed or pure ignorance. Things like dried fruits, cheeses, fresh milk, roasted nuts, alcohol, vitamins, Milo and milk powder and the likes for the child, are strictly out of bound for them and I made it clear from day one. And we keep all that and more in our clean kitchen to avoid temptations. The maids' quarters are separate, so at night we just close the communicating do.

We don't buy expensive meats, we tried but after Aussie steaks, even the expensive imported meats available here, are not comparable; probably they freeze it for transport. So instead, we eat, fish, chicken, pork and some beef for stews or curries and so do the helpers. We eat numerous kinds of fruits during the day out of our fridge in the 'clean' kitchen, while the helpers usually have only one or two like bananas and papayas, in their fridge. We drink only lemonades (beside my mealtime beer) made out of calamansi, the helpers prefer drinks made out of powders. But spreads (peanut butter, chocolate, jams and the likes) are for the child's sandwiches for merienda, school or night snack, while the helpers snack like us, cooked bananas, popcorns, pancakes, etc.

Then, with the exception of a couple of special occasions during the year-like Christmas, New Year and their birthday-we go to restaurant only by ourselves, because the helpers are too busy working at a big home, garden and pool requiring full time attention, beside that we don't want to leave the whole property unattended at any time.

They can rest of course during the day if tired watching their TV in their room, but no "siestas". Some days we are not busy so our maids can take it easy, but at other times we are and so they have to move their bums to keep up with the demand the occasion requires. We treat them kindly and in a friendly way, but let me repeat this: Our Domestic helpers are workers for our family and they are NOT family members.

My father, used to say “Familiarity breeds contempt.” How true! Is not easy to be a house head fair to all, including myself, while is too easy to be too generous. You do that and people will so think you are 'loko/buang' [Crazy, Stupid]: The idiot of the barangay. I found out here that if you give someone a finger they expect your entire arm.

I believe discipline is a necessary restriction; we all have our boundary and rules to comply with and also to know where we stand. Our maids are not stealing, they will have too much to loose if caught.

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