10 Ways to Treat Domestic Help Better

The newsreader is blaring out news while I sit immersed in my work. Out of the blue I hear something that catches my attention. ‘A 55-year old NRI woman allegedly tortured her mother’s help by branding her with hot kitchen tongs.’ I listen in disbelief. I mean who does that? Even an animal doesn’t merit such behaviour from us. Why I believe even animals don’t conduct themselves like that. I have come across people who are uncomfortable with their help using their furniture or even using their utensils.

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Many keep aside utensils for the special use of their help. Then there are some who don’t think twice before loading their child help with overflowing and heavy baggage while walking their overweight children to school. Yet others treat their domestic help like common criminals and scum. Its time these so so-called upper class people altered their ways. Here you will find ten tips on how to treat your domestic help better.

  1. Provide healthy grub

 ‘It has been said that the surest criterion of the character of an individual is the way in which he treats his inferiors.’ 

                                                                 – featured in a profile about Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University.

Housework is no easy job. Our stay-at-home mothers can testify to that. Even with a maid to help them out, moms find housework a tiring, full-time job without retirement. Now just imagine your domestic help having to not only clean up at her home but also keep your house in order. Where does she get the strength and drive to carry on every day? We may not have an answer to that but the least we can do is provide her with healthy, nutritious food.

  1. Provide them with proper equipment

‘As a matter of fact there is no other standard of measurement more accurate than the manner in which a man treats his inferiors and dependents.’

                                        – Augusta Chronicle discussing the standards that should be used when judging a society

Implements with all the necessary features at home can go a long way in easing the job for the domestic help. Something as simple as a well held up broom could not only perk up the help but will also ensure a much cleaner house.

  1. Sufficient salary

‘The measure of a man is how he treats his inferiors and that will be the test of a man in the days to come.’

                                                                                                                                                                    –  Dr M. C. B. Mason

At work we are constantly striving for a promotion. Why? Because it comes with better working conditions? Or because we are respected more? I don’t know about you but most people I know just want better salary. Well then think of the person working for you – your maid, don’t you think even they deserve to dream of a better life. Well, whether their dreams see daylight rests in your hands. Adequate salaries with essential benefits can help them realise these dreams.

  1. Sufficient rest

‘He will show his goodness in the kindly consideration he shows those less favored than himself. It is the way one treats his inferiors more than the way he treats his equals which reveals one’s real character.’

                                —Rev. Charles Bayard Miliken, Methodist Episcopal, Chicago.

A day off is something all of us look forward to. Why, there are some of us who only survive the week because of the approaching weekend! It helps rejuvenate us and is the time to stock up on our juice to help us last for the remainder of the week. For domestic help a holiday is a luxury that they can rarely come by but if availed these short periods of rest will have them return with a vigor to their jobs the next day.

  1. Sanitary facilities

‘A gentleman is one who treats his inferiors with the greatest courtesy, justice and consideration, and who exacts the same treatment from his superiors.’

                                                                                                                                                        — New York Daily News

We keep reading about women who stood up to their families after marriage for better sanitation facilities. These are women from remote rural areas, many without even a sound education who have threatened to dissolve their marriages if not provided with what they considered to be a question of their dignity. When these women know that sanitation is not a luxury but an essentiality shouldn’t we from posh cities comprehend this as well and provide our domestic help with the same, if not better facilities.

  1. Acknowledge by name

‘But apart from spiritual motives, a man’s true claim to refinement of character and good sense, is better tested by scarcely any social incident, than by the way he treats his inferiors in life. Nothing shows a greater abjectness of spirit than an overbearing temper. To insult or to abuse those who cannot resist, or dare not resent the injury, is a sure mark of cowardice, as it would be to draw a sword upon a woman.’

                                                                                                                                       –Farmers Cabinet Newspaper

Do you recall that hilarious scene from ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ where a young woman resolves her dilemma about the character of the man her parents expect her to tie the knot with? She is provided with simple advice. She is just asked to observe how he acknowledges those inferior to him (in this case the waiter). How you call a person who might be your social inferior is the ideal judge of character. Refer to them by their name like you would people in your family or friends. It is a show of respect and something everyone deserves.

  1. Care for them when they are sick.

‘It is the way one treats his inferiors more than the way he treats his equals which reveals one’s real character.’

                                                                              —Rev. Charles Bayard Miliken, Methodist Episcopal, Chicago

We are our most vulnerable when we are ailing and it is more so for our help who come from much inferior economic backgrounds. Assistance in such times of need will be looked upon with gratitude. Assistance could range from supplying medicines to recommending a good doctor,or aiding with doctors fees.

  1. Gifts occasionally

‘The characteristic of a well-bred man is, to converse with his inferiors without insolence, and with his superiors with respect, and with ease.’   

                                                                                                                                         – Earl of Chesterfield

Occasional gifts will also be regarded favorably by your help. Say when you go on a trip. You get presents for your entire family don’t you? Why not something for your maid as well. Considering them a part of your family and remembering them while shopping for gifts will please and warm their hearts.

  1. Freedom to talk with us

‘Aadmi ko parakhna ho toh yeh dekho ki … apne se neeche tarke ke logo se woh kaise bartav karta hai .’

( If you want to judge a man then see…how he nehaves with people inferior to him).

                                                                                                                        – Munna, Lage Raho Munnabhai

It is nice to know you have someone you can bare your heart to. Someone you can discuss your problems with, because even if they can’t help you they are still doing you a big favour by just listening to you. You could do the same for your domestic help, give her freedom to talk to you, lend her your ear and when possible even guide her with some words.

  1. Guidance for their children

‘If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.’                     

                                                                                                                                        – Sirius Black

At the end of the day, the one thing that every mother wants is her child’s success. When your maid approaches you for guidance where it concerns her children help her. Be their guiding force. Provide them with books that will help them improve; suggest courses they can take in college or help take off their career. Even a small piece of advice will be appreciated.

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