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Cover Story

Why shouldn't they jump jobs?

I find I'm more and more unhappy having househelp at all. My husband and I tend to do a lot of housework even if he is an investment banker working long hours. I'm increasingly moving towards a more vocal and active form of feminism which dictates equality for all. And that equality means I find it hard to get someone in to do my bathrooms as though it is a menial task. I am very uncomfortable with fulltime help but I have a travelling career and so does my husband, and once in a while neither of us is able to be home when the kids get back from school so we needed someone regular, steady and fulltime.

A lot of families have these fulltime helps sleeping in the kitchen and under the stairs and what not. The most common is sleeping in the kids' room so that they can put the kids back to sleep should they wake up. We have ensured that the lady who works with us has her own room, bathroom and a cupboard etc. She has her hours off during the afternoon and her monthly offs. She is never woken up or disturbed after dinner even if the kids are sick or a late night guest comes. We respect her night's sleep and act as we would if she'd left for the day.

I know a lot of people say it's important to keep them happy so that they don't jump jobs. I'm not sure that is true. Even as educated professionals, we jump jobs for a better offer. Why deny them that right/choice? I believe in keeping them well because it's just the right thing to do, regardless of whether they stay or leave. I laugh and crack jokes with them but only the kind of jokes I would feel comfortable having them crack back at me. It's not right to say to someone what they do not have the power/position to say back to you.

With past help we've bought them bikes, and I went into surgery with a cook who fell and broke her hand and stayed until she went under general anesthesia. She didn't ask for her daughters or DILs. I think it was a testament to how she felt about me.

- Mad Momma, a popular blogger who writes about parenting and relationships

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