Surviving in Nairobi without a domestic helper is almost impossible. Not with the long working hours and annoying traffic jams that see people spending nights on the road. However the rise of house girls taking over homes and even getting married to the man of the house has cause major panic in most young couple's marriages. Women are very choosy while employing the domestic helpers. Even if they get the job, Madam will still be looking out on how she swings those hips in front of the husband. The skirt length is also closely monitored. We spoke to a few women to find out what they look out for while employing a house girl:

Shy *Celestine Mwali, a radio presenter was at the time searching for a new house girl because her current one is too loud and has forgotten her place in the house. "She keeps interrupting conversations between my husband and I. She lacks respect and thinks that we are all on the same level. The other day she even stopped my sister and her boyfriend from watching football claiming that she wanted to wanted to watch a soap opera," Celestine who was desperately looking for a new house girl told us. Most women prefer reserved house girls who will leave the living room when the employer walks in. Women don't like interacting with house girls fearing that they may end up being potential material for gossip sessions. An outspoken house girl can easily charm her way into the man of the house heart.

Hardworking A lazy house girl not only wastes her employer's hard earned money but also has so much time to scheme and come up with ways to steal from the madam physically and emotionally. Peris Chepkom a nurse in a city hospital recently discovered that her house girl was not only wearing her clothes while she was away but also keeping her stay at home husband warm in their matrimonial bed. "I used to wonder why my son had not bathed when I got home at night until I decided to spy on her. I caught her in a compromising position. All this time, my son was crying in the living room. I dumped the irresponsible man and fired the woman," she said. Peris had to quit her job to take care of her baby as she is too traumatised to trust another house girl.

Ugly/shady As we all know, man is a visual being and very few women can trust a woman who swings her hips and flashes seductive smiles around their men. *Nancy Onyango, an editor with a leading newspaper says that she is very careful while employing a house girl. "I'm all about women looking good but some of them overdo it with ill intentions, "Nancy shared with us how one of her house girls was determined to overtake her. "When I first employed her she was very naïve and wore loose clothes but within time she had changed to tight outfits and even bleached her skin. She would wait for my husband to go to the living room where she would swing her hips in the name of cleaning. I came up with an excuse and fired her immediately," Nancy said. She now prefers older women who she finds less ambitious.

Desperate Every job seeker must be driven and willing to do anything to keep her job. Therefore most women prefer desperate women who would even sleep on the floor to keep the job. This way it will always be easy to control her and remind her that she is under her mercy. "I prefer employing the school drop outs from very humble back grounds. Their main business is to make money, go back to school or send some to their parents. They rarely have time for the man of the house," Cynthia Wafula, a Spa proprietor in Kilimani told us. Cynthia adds that it's easier to negotiate for a lower salary with a desperate house girl.

Motherly No woman wants to leave their child or house with an inexperienced woman. This is why most women now prefer to employ an older house girl. First time mothers especially look upto these women for guidance while bringing up the child and sometimes even confide in them about their marital woes. "We recently buried the woman who brought up all my three children. I employed her when she was 40 and she really helped me. She was like a grandmother to my children who have already left home to live independently," Rose Moraa, a clerk in a county office told us.

Randy house girls A while back, our sister publication  ‘The Nairobian’ published a story about 33 year old Winfred Wandia who slashed her house girls neck earning her 20 year behind bars. Born and bred in Makueni County, Wandia now the prison preacher was married at church wedding to a polytechnic teacher she met in the same institution. Her marriage started going south when she became pregnant as husband turned on their maid to quench his sexual thirst. "Rumours filtered that my husband was having intimate relationship with our maid but every time I asked him he denied, this continued for a while as the maid acted like boss", recalled Wandia. The mother of two adds "in one of her insults she told me to cut off my husband's penis and hang it around my neck to keep it away from her". Another house help landed in court for allegedly defiling an 11-year-old boy. The court heard that Everlyne Mweyeri allegedly sucked the boy's penis before threatening to bewitch or stab him if he ever told anyone about the assault. Mweyeri called the boy into the house only to switch off the television as well as the lights. She then allegedly grabbed the boy, stripped him naked before removing her clothes as well. The court heard that the accused went ahead to use her mouth to suck the boy's manhood. Police said the boy's attempts to free himself from her grip were futile as she allegedly pushed him on the sofa where she forced him to stroke her with his member. The court was further told that the minor's mother was worried when she arrived home only to find the boy already asleep. It was not until the next morning that the boy narrated to his mother what had happened. Mweyeri denied the charge and was released on Sh300, 000 cash bail.

Why house girls take off

Too much work- It is a bit unreasonable to employ one house girl to take care of a twelve bedroom house, three toddlers and a walk the dog. It doesn't work like that.

Mean employers- One simply does not slap their house girl, deny them food and off days and expect them to stick around!

Sexual harassment- Ladies, satisfy your men in bed and men zip up!

Little pay- You cannot pay her sh 2000. Isn't that the same amount you survive on for a day?

Stubborn children- If they bite and cry like brats you will keep hiring be ready to hire after every two weeks!

Readers lounge;House helps;City women