Super Mom

What should I do

I think I have mentioned before that my housekeeper is really sick.  She won’t get better.  Also she doesn’t get the necessary medication from our country that has promised to make it available to everyone who needs it (but that is another blog)

She has worked for us for almost 9 years.  Since Quintus was a baby boy and her daughter just over a year old.

Now she is too sick to work properly.  My house has never been in the condition it is in now.  She is just not doing what I pay her to do.  Financially it is not worth it for me to keep her.

Yet I know that she won’t be able to get another job.  If I let her go, there is no-one that will take care of her and her kids.

YES she should be able to go on disability pension but let’s face it…in our country?  That option is available to those who know someone on the inside.  We will try though.  We are going through to process.

I feel so sorry for her.  I do.  I also need someone to do a proper job though.

18 responses

  1. Wenchy

    This is a tough one…. humanity vs getting the job done. I really don;t know what to suggest.

    June 4, 2009 at 4:11 pm

  2. Robin

    My sister-in-law lives in Durban (I live in Texas) and she had a similar situation. Sadly her maid became very sick and eventually died. My sister-in-law took her to doctor’s visits, paid for everything and stayed with her in the hospital. After she passed the maid’s family asked my sister-in-law to speak at the funeral. She was so touched to have that honor. Her current maid is going through almost the same thing. My sister-in-law feels it may be her calling to help these women (naive?). Financially, though, I don’t know how long she can keep it up. This is a tough one – I don’t know how to resolve it. There is a different culture in the States concerning maids. Usually only the most well-off families have them. It’s hard to clean a house, work and tend to your family all at the same time. I know from experience! 🙂

    June 4, 2009 at 4:31 pm

  3. Our maid is close to retirement age. She’s also slowing down, yet I can’t bring myself to let her go either. As it is, she knows we’re not planning on staying in the country, and that when that happens she will retire officially. Before she came to work for us, she was with my neighbor for 25 years and when she emigrated (the neighbor) last year, she put away a lump sum of cash (more than enough for her maid to retire on) into investments for her. She will get paid out a monthly pension from this when she does retire. She’s a smart woman though and doesn’t want to be dependent on the retirement money and wants to keep working – so she’s asked me to find her another job when we leave – I’ve already got her working from my mom one day a week – and my mom is constantly moaning how she (the maid) doesn’t sweep under stuff anymore. It’s a funny situation we find ourselves in. I say ‘we’ as in ‘South Africans’. We often go above and beyond for these people, paying medical bills, their childrens education etc and yet, I think it just makes them more dependent on us. Sometimes I don’t think it’s helping. Sometimes this whole poverty situation in SA gets me downright depressed because it’s like the more you give, the more they need.

    Yes, when we emigrate, I am going to miss her like mad, and not just for her cleaning skills. She’s a good person.

    Sorry that this is just kind of random babble here.

    June 4, 2009 at 8:18 pm

  4. Tough one. I have no answer for you, but shame man, it must be so hard on her too.

    June 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm

  5. In these circumstances I guess one must do as the heart dictates. This is an individual decision – tough one!

    June 4, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    • Tommie and I spoke about this. We might get another housekeeper. Yeah, I know that sounds horrible but then at least my house will be cleaned properly AND it will give my current housekeeper a chance to go on disability pension.

      June 5, 2009 at 8:48 am

  6. I really don’t know what to suggest. Not helpful, I know.

    June 5, 2009 at 5:52 am

  7. Oy… Thats a really tough call.

    June 5, 2009 at 8:25 am

  8. Joanne E

    No one you know in ANY government department there that could push the disability through? We have just done that with my MIL as they were messing her around! Jo phoned them yesterday, blasted them and they called her back the same day to sort it out. My Inlaws are really desperate for that money at the moment, trying to survive on one disability is bad enough! But at the same time, I know what it is like to drag myself to work when I cant and feel bad as am being paid to work less and less…..

    June 5, 2009 at 10:55 am

  9. So let’s see; you have an employee for nearly a decade and she has become so ill that she can not perform her tasks successfully.

    She cleans up after you, your husband and your 3 sons… for nearly ten years. Now that she is of little use to you your concern is that someone else could do a better job of cleaning up after your family.

    Yeh, you should definately get rid of her. That way she MAY be able to get on disability and you, your husband and your 3 boys won’t have to learn to clean up after yourselves.

    Ummmm, I don’t suppose your house keeper is a black woman is she?

    Sleep tight.

    June 6, 2009 at 1:55 am

    • Sjoe are you having a bad day? Did you actually read the post?

      I don’t want to get rid of her. Because she has worked for us for such a long time, I care for her. I have done homework with her children. I pay for her medical expenses. I buy her groceries. The point if she is black or white has nothing to do with it.
      However, I cannot indefinitely keep on paying her for a job she cannot do.
      She gets paid to ‘clean after us’. That is her job description. That’s what she does.

      If you were employed by some company and you couldn’t perform your task anymore because you were ill, would they keep you? Hell no! They would get rid of you.

      I’m not getting rid of her. For well over a year I have done what I can to get her on disability pension. She has AIDS. She is not going to get better. I’m sure it is no fun for her to work. THIS is why I’m trying to HELP her. I COULD just get rid of her but that’s not the way I am.

      June 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm

  10. Admittedly it is most difficult to “see” the entire picture based on a few words written in a Blog.

    I look at this from a couple of different ways.

    FIRST: Anyone who has worked in an intimate environment for as long as this lady has been with your family is more than (just) an employee. You mentioned the “extra” things you have done for her. I venture to say that I am sure over the last decade this lady has gone above and beyond her cleaning job description. I further venture to say that she, more than likely, has shaped your young children into the fine young men they will one day become.

    SECOND: I have owned a business since March 1985. I have had many, many employees. When I have an employee who is making an effort I go the extra mile with them. I have had employees who were illiterate so I asked him if he wanted to learn to read. He said he did so I paid him his regular hourly wage while he was attending classes. My office manager’s infant son had health problems and she was uncomfortable with the care he was getting at day care so we set up an area for her to bring him to work and care for him while she worked. These are but a couple of many instances that over the years where I, as a business owner, chose to err on the side of those who were contributing to me and my family.

    Since the title of this post is “WHAT SHOULD I DO” I will give you my answer.

    You should treat this woman as though she was your children’s step-mother. YOU and your husband should understand that through this your boys are learning how to treat people. The PERSON is more than important than your $$$. YOU should care for her in tangible ways. Being a Super Mom is more than sharing the happy, frilly things with your sons. It should also include demonstrating sacrificing yourself even (or especially) when it is inconvient and co$t you something.

    Supermom you have a tremendous oppertunity to plant something in the hearts of your boys. The question you have to answer is “What will grow in my boys hearts after this “planting.”

    June 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    • Firstly to answer your assumption. She has never raised my boys. She has never babysat them. The only thing she might do when it comes to the boys, is that if on the very odd occasion Zander is still sleeping when I go to drop of the boys, she will phone me when he wakes up. So that’s about 10 minutes that she will take care of him. Hardly what I would call raising my sons. She gets there just as we leave for school / work and by the time we get home she has gone home. So no, she hasn’t gone above and beyond her cleaning job. She has never cooked for us, something that housekeepers normally do. She has done ‘less’ than what housekeepers normally would do but that’s fine with me. Just to show you that she hasn’t gone ‘over and beyond’

      Secondly: Sending someone who works for you to learn to read is normally to the benefit of your own company and here we also pay the person’s normal salary and the education (as we have done for employees in my business as well)

      I have never just shared happy frilly things with my boys. We have a young VERY DIFFICULT child that we have taken in. They go with me when we buy groceries for them. They see when my parents buy groceries for our housekeeper. My boys get raised with a very healthy social conscious. Probably more so than most children.

      We have actually employed someone to help her 2 days a week, to take some pressure of her. It just gets to me that she does get extremely tired and she can’t go on doing this job. Once she doesn’t, I can’t go on paying two salaries.

      June 6, 2009 at 5:56 pm

      • Mom Archer

        Well said Melany I think he really “assumed” a lot here. You have gone way beyond your call of duty with her

        June 7, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  11. Jennyklass

    Well, Melany, it is a tough call, made more complicated by readers who dont seem to grasp the bigger picture, when you employ a domestic in this country, you are expected to then take on and pay for her family, which is usually larger than your own, (and as we are made of money , this really should not be an issue in our lives,) the fact that we have made sure that we only take on what we can afford, is irrelevant , we must just sommer pay…., you can only be compationate to a point, and we owe it to our children to give them what we can, not to let them miss out on something so that we can feed the bottomless pit, as someone before me said, the more you give the more they need, Who is going to look after you when you are ill, or God forbid you loose your job, and cannot afford to pay your maid , would she out of the goodness of her heart, stay with and work for you for nothing, i think not CCMA for us…
    I will now get off my soap box, thanks for the oulet, i just think people should take more reponsablity for themselves, no matter what colour they are, nuff said, have a super day…

    June 7, 2009 at 10:45 am

    • 🙂 I can so appreciate what you wrote. I think people often don’t understand the situation we have here (just as we obviously don’t understand everything in other countries)
      I love how you mentioned that she won’t work if she doesn’t get paid – why must I pay for work I don’t get then? Baie oulik van jou

      June 7, 2009 at 10:01 pm

  12. MelDad

    Sounds like a case of mssc54 = Podex?

    June 7, 2009 at 7:41 pm

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