Jul 31, 2010

On Maids and OUR children...

This is a very big topic here in Saudi. Maids have pretty much become the de facto 'mother' of many of our children. I must say that this is not just a problem here in Saudi, but throughout the gulf, and probably amongst the upper class rich throughout the world. The difference here is that one does no have to be filthy rich to have a maid at home, and thus have a maid pretty much run the house; cleaning, cooking, caring for the children.

Picture Source: http://www.jeevanjyotiservice.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/maid4.gif

Nowadays as living expenses have gone up, it is normal and truly a necessity for mothers to go out into the work force. Many women no longer have the luxury to leave their children with family members, as the mothers may be older, busy, or not in the same city. This pretty much leaves the maids or daycare facilities. Most people opt for their maids, as the day care facilities can run anywhere above 15,000 SAR which can be a bank breaker for some couples who are already tight with funds.

Picture Source: http://rlv.zcache.com/slave_to_saudi_mistress_apron-p154873330913073585q6wc_400.jpg

The problem is, these maids are not merely nannies. Many are expected to wake up at the crack of dawn and start cleaning. Once the kids are up, they become nannies, and must juggle cleaning and caring for the kids. Once breakfast/lunch time or dinner time come around, they must juggle 3 jobs at once, the maid, the nanny and the cook. And on many occasions these maids are not treated properly by their employers, and hate every waking moment of their day.

Picture Source: http://desertdiaries.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/maids-benefits.jpg

With such feelings already festering within, what does one expect from an unhappy overworked house helper? Hate of course. And some just can't distinguish between the innocent child and their parents. All they can see is that they can hurt the parent by hurting the child. And this is where the serious problems arises.

Now the question is, how can we better treat our maids, to ensure that they are properly caring for our children. I would have to say that firstly; you must lessen the workload on them. If you want them to be your nannies, then give them limited chores during the day (when you or someone else can actually be with the kids). Let them sleep properly, and if you have a household that stays up late, let them take naps during the day so that they will be well rested to stay awake with the family. Or better yet, let them sleep early, and the parents can stay with the children and actually have some bonding time. Cook for your family whenever your available. Make it fun bring hubby into the kitchen and have a date at home :) I think you may get the gist of what I am saying.

In a nutshell, treat your maid like a human being, remember that she needs her rest, and DOES get tired from being a superwoman all day. Teach your children to respect them, and talk to them courteously (you would be surprised how many children I have seen talking to their maids in manners which had me wanting to REALLY spank that kid!) Surprise them with gifts once in a while to show them they are indeed appreciated. And once contract renewal comes around, why not give them a raise if you feel their work and time with your family was truly good.

Personal Note: I don't have to work il7amdlilah and I stay at home; I truly feel that watching my children grow up in front of my eyes is truly be the worlds greatest treasure. I am not saying I will never leave them in someone elses care; that will eventually happen, though the thought of it still scares me. But when the time comes, I do pray that I finally get a proper maid [my last experience was out of this world, and has had me truly scared of even applying for a new maid], and that we will welcome her into our home with utmost  respect.

Anyway, enough of my rambling on and on... I need to get to sleep now...

Ciao :)

PS- I know there are maids that are just EVIL even when you are great to them, I have experienced them first hand. SO I understand that it is NOT always the fault of the employer :s


Leaving kids in maids’ care: Better safe than sorry


Published: Jul 28, 2010 23:52 Updated: Jul 28, 2010 23:52

JEDDAH: With many people in the Kingdom living fast-paced, modern lives and women holding down jobs, families are often obliged to leave their children with relatives and even maids. However, the question remains whether maids can be trusted?

According to local newspapers, a three-month-old child, called Mishary, died two months ago after being poisoned by an Indonesian maid. The woman had mixed rat poison and crushed Paracetamol tablets into the child’s milk.

The three-year-old developed a severe rash, and remained in a coma after suffering heart and kidney failure. Police are still investigating the incident that took place in May. It is unknown whether the maid committed the act in revenge and whether she had been abused.

According to a study released recently by Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, 40 percent of Saudi working mothers leave their children in the care of their maids, 42 percent leave them with their parents and 18 percent leave them in nurseries or day care centers.

Hana Al-Saeed, a 29-year-old working mother of two, said she has no option but to leave her two children with either her maid or her mother. “I work from eight to three and my husband also works so I have to leave my kids with someone,” she said.

Al-Saeed has thought about quitting her job but said she needs the money to secure her children’s future. “With inflation and fees for private school so high I need this job,” she said.

Fatima Turki, a 32-year-old mother of three, said she read about Mishary in newspapers and feels it is wrong to completely trust maids. “Once my maid was looking after my son who was then three years old. While she was looking after him, he burned his knee with an iron. I can never forget the day when I came home and saw his leg,” she said.

Turki said the maid was ironing some clothes and left the iron next to her son while she took a phone call. “My son held the iron and it fell on his knee. He still has a scar. It was a case of negligence but then he is not her son so why would she worry so much about his well being,” she said.

As a result, Turki left her job and says she prefers spending time with her kids.

Leaving children with maids could be the only solution for working parents. Sadly, some mothers leave their kids with maids even when they are home.

Dareen, a 30-year-old mother of two, said her friend’s three-year-old son doesn’t know how to speak proper Arabic because he spends his entire day with the maid. “He can pronounce Indonesian words better than Arabic. I told my friend it’s unfair on the child, especially since he is about to go to school but she doesn’t listen,” she said.

Dareen said her friend is more worried about looking beautiful and hanging out with friends rather than spending time with her child.

A nursery owner in Jeddah who requested anonymity said some parents leave their children from eight in the morning and don’t pick them up until eight in the evening.

“I opened this nursery to help working mothers and look after their kids while they are away. One divorced woman used to leave her son with us for more than 12 hours. I told her it’s unfair on the child,” she said.

The owner said it is also improper to leave children with maids. “I always say to mothers don’t trust anyone with your kids because they’re not responsible for them. I also tell them not to mistreat maids because they will eventually take revenge by hurting the kids,” she said.



  1. I think men also need to lower their expectations for their wife. She can't do it all. My husband expectects me to look and feel perfect 24/7 while having delishous food cooked and a perfectly manicured home. I dont drive and have no friends in this god-forsaken city he's moved me into and yet i'm still expected to be wonder-woman while pregnant and all. Alhamdulilah my health is great and i have a good personality to handle it all but sometimes i just break down adn cry thinking about handling all of it once my baby is born. His expectations of me are that of courting ppl. I'm supposed to wake up looking drop-dead gorgeous and in a good-mood while throwing my brains up from morning sickness. ugh. i'm glad we have a good relationship but I think in generall men have a big part in helping their wives by lowering their expectations so the wives aren't so unhappy that they throw their kids at a nanny and spend their void days n the mall or at wherever. iono. just my 2 cents


  2. Thank you so much for your comment dear.

    Firstly, I truly feel for you, it must be hard to take all that at all, and then to add pregnancy and morning sickness :( That sucks! Have you tried to just wake up one day and not get all done up, so that he can understand that as a human, you can only be so much. My poor husband has never expected all that from me il7amdlilah. He is pretty much laid back, and to be perfectly honest, ever since I had my children, its more of the exception then the norm for me to be done up.. lol. And there are many times where he will tell me not to cook, and he brings food from outside- not fast food, but actual cooked meals from restaurants that cater to 'home style' cooking.. lol

    Anyway dear, I am really sorry you feel like that, its unfair to expect so much from you. As I said earlier, I really think that for your sanity you need to sit down and discuss your feelings with your husband before they become stronger.

    PS- I still remember all the tears I cried when I first came here; to tell the truth, I still sit and cry till this day, but it gets easier when you have little babies to pass your day with :)

    Take care... and thank you for passing by <3


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