Getting a househelp

About four years ago, my mother chose to stop employing house-helps, her reason was she had a grown up daughter (a.k.a Miss Gidi) whom she believed needed to become a bit more ‘domestic’ in preparation for her husband’s house ummm right!. Four years later and with my crazy schedule thanks to my current job, my mother and I end up having arguments or mini-misunderstandings on what I should or should not be doing at home. I don’t have a problem with house chores but having to go wash dishes every night after a long stressful day at work is a pain, I mean I get home at 10pm on average. And then she wants me to wake up  extra early on a Saturday to clean bathrooms when all I want to do is SLEEP!

Having a house-help (“help”) or domestic worker as I prefer to call them is a necessity to a lot of people, especially in cities like Lagos where most people do not have time to breathe and require extra hands to take care of the home. Helps could be hired (usually the immigrants from neighbouring countries) or in some cases a relative from the village or lower-income level who is in search of a better life. Typically every family always has a help, with some having a help and then a nanny per child but of course that’s a rare case. In Nigeria, it’s pretty normal for single men to get house-helps and cooks because they are not expected to know how to take care of the home or know their way around the kitchen. But what happens when it’s a single lady who wants to get a house-help?

Before I go on, let me differentiate the types of helps we have; there is the normal/traditional help who lives with you and becomes a somewhat extended part of your family, the modern helps that work 9 to 5 daily and the ultra-modern that work only on weekends.

I’ve had this ‘house-help debate’ a few times and usually the conclusion is that it’s okay for married women and bachelors to get house-helps because they need the extra help while single ladies have no logical right to get one regardless of what their work schedule is like. The logic behind that reasoning is, a lady living without a help prepares her for her days as a married woman because her husband could decide he doesn’t want to have any help in the house.

Now my question is, is it wrong for a single lady to hire a house-help when/if she lives alone? And if she does get one, what kind of house-help should she be getting? Is it more acceptable if it’s someone who comes in on a daily basis versus a traditional house-help? I mean Lagos is a busy city and to be honest, with the crazy hours that most people have to put in everyday like yours truly, I see no problem with having someone help with the domestic work whether you are a single guy or lady, as long as you can afford it, then by all means, go ahead!

Anyway as for my mother and I, Kelechi resumed on Monday and I pay her salary. At least I get some sleep on Saturday mornings. *shrug*

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20 thoughts on “Getting a househelp

  1. My dear just ignore the people who think the possession of certain reproductive organs mean you have to do domestic chores. Whether you’re single or married, if you need someone to help you with your busy schedule, please get the help. Besides, hiring people means you’re doing your part to create jobs and opportunities. Life is too short to spend scrubbing toilet bowls when you could be busy curing cancer.

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    1. haha, nice response. I don’t know, but there’s something about “house helps” that doesn’t sit well with me, especially the little girls & boys. My friends and I have had this conversation on numerous occasions, but I’m still of the opinion that the house help concept in Naij is modern day slavery (even though they get paid – in some cases -, have food & shelter). It just breaks my heart to hear the stories of folks that beat-up their house-helps. Anyway, as for me and my household, there shall be no house-helps. I’d be happy to have someone come in and clean over the weekends, and then maybe a cook…. I say this now, but we’ll see what the future holds. 🙂

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  2. The logical evaluation of the matter is to enjoy ones life and if one has money, let it work for one. Getting help is not weakness but strength. Those who are too proud to ask for help will only scar emotionally on the long run. Please hire a domestic worker without feeling guilty o!

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  3. the person who needs her is asking you to do her work or pay her salary. are you even at home to eat from the plates she’s washing or poop in the toilets she’s cleaning? i mean we love our mothers but sometimes we need them to get a grip.

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  4. I have a weekend cleaner only because I’m hardly home to have my meals there. When I get married, I will have a cook, a nanny and a cleaner. After all why am I working? I might as well stay home, learning to be a housewife, if thats what I’m going to end up doing in a marriage.

    I completely agree with naijawife, “Life is too short to spend scrubbing toilet bowls when you could be busy curing cancer.”

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  5. LOL …your mum is too late that’s all. What she is doing is correct but wrong timing …the training should have been teenage years, and should all be done by now . People used to raise an eyebrow when I had cleaners etc as a single lady …but it all boils down to much your time is worth in my view. At the time after working crazy hours during the week it would have been a shame too spend what little free time I had cleaning etc when you can easily pay £15-320 ph for someone else to do it. Any way do you …especially in Lagos where labour is cheap and unemployment is high …it is a moral duty in fact to employ someone rather than do it yourself

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  6. I live alone and I have help. I even hired the help that cleans my soon to be hubby’s house. I can’t kill myself. Mine comes mostly weekends. And his does weekdays and weekends.

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  7. Sooooo, I caught up on my Single in Gidi reading this afternoon. Looking forward to tomorrow post. Regarding this piece, I don’t see an issue with single ladies hiring help. Especially when she can afford it. I’m tried of African women being treated like slaves.

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  8. Yeah, I would have been too paranoid to have a house-keeper when I was single. Maybe a weekend or monthly cleaner? What I would have liked to have (and still want now) is a DRIVER!!!

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  9. Sigh* I would hire one if I could but the way my brain is set up, certain OCD qualities means no one can clean things well.
    If it is not done the way I do it or arranged in a certain pattern, it’s just a waste of time as I will rearrange or clean again, defeating the purpose of having a cleaner or is it housekeeper.

    I think I’ll come back to this when I’m married with children, maybe my anal views on this might have changed 😛

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  10. First time and I am most def coming back!
    Anyone can get a house help if you do need it… Thing is, there is a need to exercise caution even with all the background checks and all.. Stuff still happen.. Someone comes maybe once a month to clean.. Other days, I do the chores myself cos it’s soothing for me and I can play music loudly… Like someone said earlier… You need to make your point and stand known… Parents need to fall back sometimes.

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  11. WHY IS HER NAME KELECHI THOUGH? *storms off*
    I have NO idea why people think single girls have have a resource of time to just…do random stuff like…scrub toilet bowls and clean cobwebs.
    Cleaning is therapeutic to me but I have been known to hire people to help…even here in America.

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  12. When my sister shared your post on my FB page, I was wondering what she was up to. But after reading through this post, I’m in love with your blog already!!!! You think just like me! On the days I try to leave work early, I still get home by 10pm cos of traffic. No need to ask why I prefer to leave by 10pm. And on Saturdays, I try to get as much sleep as possible! (thank God I have an understanding sister). Cleaning the house is real work! I vote for a help 24/7 to be at the beck and call of anyone who needs it. Sadly my mom will never hear of such *rolls eyes*

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  13. My own in all of these is that Kelechi resumed… don’t nobody got time for alladat mess ‘Mama Gidi’ dey yarn mehn, times have changed jare. “Oyinbo ti s’aye de’ro” Where there’s is microwave to make eba or akamu, a dishwasher to wash dish, Mexican (or Naija in this case) women who can clean the heck out of your house… abegi

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