Hiring domestic help ….

As you may know, Pepe has left us/me – she wants to bring her daughter down from Zimbabwe, and she needed to find a sleep out role, and my house cannot function without a person sleeping in, it is just too chaotic, and does not work.

Of course I am sure I will never find someone as good as Pepe, and I will embark on a journey of hiring that will kill me.

I did several interviews, short listed three ladies and had Kennith interview the “final three.”

I knew who I felt was the “top choice” but I am aware that often my decisions regarding “domestic staff” is quite emotional, so I wanted Kennith to have his 2 cents, and make a decision and then I could see if he agreed with my choice.

He selected T, which I thought was a bit odd as I felt P was a clear winner.  But I decided to go with his decision, and brought T in for a trial.

I told her it would be a one month trial, but after three days I started to get very nervous that we had made a “not great” decision.

T was lovely, and keen, eager and all of those lovely things, but she was unfortunately not bringing much in the way of experience to the party.  I felt I could train her, as she was really keen, but it would take at least 6 months of day-to-day training to get there, and I was not sure I had that in me.

She was lovely with the kids, and the kids really liked her.

Thursday night we decided to make some hasty decision-making.

We (translate into Kennith) would tell T that we were going to have some people in over the weekend, and that she should go home, and also that we were going to end the trial so that we could trial someone else.

Really, there is just no way to put that nicely – and it was as awful as it sounded.

I did not want to face her as I felt really awful – as she was lovely, but just not quite 100% right for us – I just did not want to see T sad.  I asked Kennith to tell her and then I would come back from work after T was gone, and then at least I would not feel so bad as I did.

It did not go that way.  Traffic and various other factors resulted in T being stuck on the side of the road with her huge bag, and me going to collect her and take her to the station.

I then had to make small talk for the drive from home to the station.  I managed to have a fully fledged one-sided conversation about bicycles.  All the way to the station.

I do not do small talk.  I do not do awkward situations in small spaces.  I really hate this process of “trialing” domestic staff and I feel responsible for everyone who comes in to contact with me.

I dropped T off at the station, and I think I was having a bit of a sob on her behalf.  It was all really horrible.

She is so lovely, and I knew that she had an “experience” gap, but the experience gap just started to feel a bit insurmountable, and I started to wonder if I was making my life more complicated when in actual fact having domestic help should make it simpler.

Saturday I got P in and then also asked Tarisai (who I have used on a day-to-day basis) to come in and “train” P.

The two worked like a tornado – and cleaned things I did not know could be cleaned.  P is lovely and by Sunday I was already feeling that this was the better decision.

So this week is a new week with P, and so far it is going really well.  This entire idea of finding someone who can work/live in your house, and you have to trust in your space, with your children, with your cheese, is fraught with stress and anxiety – and at a certain point you need to sort of fall back in to it and trust blindly.

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  1. Mandi Earl

     /  March 12, 2012

    I’ve just gone the full time, live in route after many years of 3 days a week is all I need!

    Precious was just about handed to me on a silver platter….a friend went to live back in Cape Town and Precious was looking for another full time position, preferably live in! Well timed!

    We interviewed her, just to have a few questions answered and knew straightaway that it was ‘love at first sight’, so to speak!

    She fits in well with our family, the boys love her and all is good so far! And hopefully will be for a long, long time!

    Why I didn’t go this route a long time ago, I’ll never know but do know that I will never go part time again. Precious is too precious…!!!

    Good luck, Celeste….hope you find ‘the one’ real soon!!

  2. Maybe I’m too scared on relying on sombody but I do the home myself mainly, sometimes I have someone on a daily basis to lend a hand if things have got on top of me and that’s someone I know – wife of an employee. I find it’s made me keep things simple, I’ve got the home, two young kids and a business run from home that needs a few hours a day solid attention too. Simple works for me!!
    I can empathise though, whether it’s visitors or helpers, I find about a week is my level for having anyone other than Hubby and the kids stay in our home, any longer than that I get edgy, feel on show. Does depend on the person though, so do hope you’ve found the right one for you guys. Sounds promising so far!

    • reluctantmom

       /  March 12, 2012

      I must confess that since I have had a maid, I do not think I could ever revert back to the “not” having a maid. I look back to the first two years with Connor and we did not have a live in person, and I think of the stress and the chaos, and it reminds me that finding the right person is what I need, rather than accepting I can do without assistance ….

  3. Oh goodness. I have just gone through this and not sure if I’m in the clear yet. *TOUCH WOOD* I recently hired & fired two domestic helpers (well, if you call sheepishly making flimsy excuses & apologies,coupled with overpaying someone for the ONE day that they worked for you just to make yourself feel less guilty, firing) within the space of two weeks. They were just NOT right. Just not the right “fit” for us.

    Its a horrible process & i hate it. Our nanny of 2 years had to go off on Maternity leave. Why, oh why did she have to get pregnant? (I know that sounds awful but its how I feel)

    Anyway, now HOPEFULLY, I’ve found “the one.” No alarm bells have gone off yet. she also cleaned places i didn’y even know could be cleaned this past weekend and did things that not even the beloved Melisa knew to do of her own accord.

    Crossing fingers that i won’t be telling a new tale of woe next week as I make yet another flimsly excuse as to why we can’t keep her.

  4. countesskaz

     /  March 12, 2012

    it’s such a shitty time…that whole training and getting used to each other lark…good luck


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