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The dynamics of the house help

Househelp cleaning

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In an ideal world, the house help is more or less a fairly compensated service person whose job it is to make our lives more manageable, easier and so on. The ideal house help is one who is present but invisible. For the most part. In certain situations, the lines tend to get crossed very easily. After all, in a home all kinds of things come up which require a relaxing of the normal rules.

In some cases this involves some kind of contact between family members which can be thought of as inappropriate ranging from minor transgressions to outright sexual contact between one of the spouses and the house help, often a maid and hubby situation.

This then raises the question of what to do because the home still needs to run, meals prepared, children tended to and also the need for the service to be provided. More than likely, both spouses need to be out of the house working so what gives?

When there are trust issues concerning fidelity, as I have been privy to advise, the most efficient way is to have the wife run the home and the affairs concerning where and how the house help interacts with the family. Just to be clear we are talking about a female house help dealing with the wife as the de facto employer where the lady of the home controls all the communication between the family and the house help.

This would include how to behave around the husband and the children, how to deal with emergencies where the wife might not be available and so on. This is obviously very ideal and rarely do these situations occur which means that the lady of the house has to anticipate the exceptions to the rules and have a solution, an overarching rule that is a “go to” rule, when situations are different.

For example, the wife is not around and there is no water and the husband needs some warmed for him, then the wife could instruct the house help to do it, put it in a bucket and leave it at the entrance to the bath, not to wait, for example, for the hubby to remember mid-shower he needs a towel.

Or if unexpected guests appear and there is a need for tea leaves, milk, what-have-you, let the husband give her money but she, the house help, does her duty, prepares the tea for husband to serve himself and the guests and then removes herself from the situation.

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It gets trickier when there are emergencies, such when the child is ill and the mother is stuck at work and only the dad can be reached (for instance at 7pm at his local, after he has downed a few, which necessitates the maid running over there to let him know junior found out where he and his sister’s cough syrup was and drank it all, is acting weird and so on... "Na mama 'hapick simu yake'..."Yikes!

All this begs the question about the health of the marriage. Which humans live in a world where such perfection such as this can be drawn up and successfully executed all the while living in a two-income home with different schedules, careers, schedules, children, occasional outings etc and just, life?

On the face of it is a situation where there needs to be communication between the spouses and a modicum of trust... at least enough to get enough of a dialogue about how the “maid” is off limits. Seemingly, a comedic situation, or a tragic one. Maybe a bit, or more than a bit, of both.

What if the husband is a profligate philanderer, the mother of all dogs, and, or the wife is too, disgusted or frigid, or indifferent to him to allow for sex as he might want it? Yet she still has to be involved in the nitty gritty of the running of the home?

This speaks to marriage as a system. Systems are meant to be semi-permeable in order to function, in the sense of what to allow to influence the family or the couple’s relationship and to what extent, under what conditions and why.

I would venture that a branch that breaks when it is sat on, is, always was, or it still is always primed to break, and is weak in its own way from the get-go. The maid, strictly speaking, is ONLY just a symptom.


 

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