Mistakes to avoid when hiring a maid
Unfortunately, in Kenya, the maternity leave is not as long as we would all like it to be, to give us enough time to bond with our kids. Since we have to go back to work to feed our families, we have no choice but to solicit the services of a nanny if we are not lucky enough to find a relative willing to offer mboching services till we are well settled into the whole motherhood routine.
Every now and then, there’s a video online of a nanny from hell mistreating a child. Parents, you need to be careful when hiring a nanny. You really can’t just bring any random person into your house out of desperation. I know sometimes the desperation can get real but you’re better off asking a relative to sit in for you as you look for a good nanny. If anything happens to your child under the care of an incompetent nanny, guess who will be to blame? You, no one else.
Here are things you need to consider before you hire a nanny:
1. First things first, you need to ask yourself if you want a live-in nanny or a dayberg.
Do you want someone that will be living with you or a part-time nanny that will go home in the evenings? You need to consider things such as home space. Do you have a big space to accommodate an extra adult? The relationship needs to be mutually beneficial, it’d be unfair of you as an employer to bring in a nanny only for her to end up sleeping on the floor or in the living room because you have a one-bedroom house. She’s human too so get a part-time nanny in that event, for instance.
2. Consider where you’re getting the nanny services from.
Most of us will just get references from friends and jump on the opportunity to hire. Others will go to agencies. While there are legit and professional agencies where you can hire nannies, others are briefcase companies and you have to be really careful. The best way to hire a nanny is through referrals from people you know well and trust.
3. Make sure you interview the candidate.
Now, when you get a few potential candidates, make sure you interview you them thoroughly. Most of us will just have the nanny start the job immediately which is totally wrong. Gauge the level of child care that this person you’re about to bring next to your child has. How educated are they? Can they handle a child? Can they perform basic first aid on a child? Are they able to handle the pressure that comes with taking care of a child? How do they deal with naughty kids? You need to ask all the questions that matter and gauge if this person is really ready and the right candidate.
4. Consider the pay you want to offer the person and clearly stipulate the job description.
Now, let’s be honest. Some of us hire nannies, pay them peanuts and expect them to work like donkeys. One thing I can tell you for sure is that if you treat your nanny like garbage, she will retaliate on your child when you’re away. Be humane, be kind and treat your nanny well. Let them know what their job will be and stick to the plan. Give them off days like on Sunday to go to church and do their own things. Do not tell her that her work is only taking care of the baby then after hiring you’re making her clean your car, dog and dirty underwear. Surely!
5. Do a background check.
This is very important and most of us ignore this point. You need to now who you’re hiring. You could be bringing a thug from Oyolee into your home na hujui. Kidogo kidogo, flat screen imevanish. Make sure you ask for at least three viable references that can give information on this nanny and also ask for a photocopy of her ID in the event of any sort of emergency.
6. Facilitate a health check.
Again, another thing ignored by a majority of us. A health check can be pricey so if you do ask your nanny to provide you with documents, she may not afford. You can facilitate it yourself just to make sure that the person that will be handling your child and food is disease free. This is important because the immune system of young kids is not fully developed and they are more susceptible to getting sick.
7. You could consider a trial day.
Try and have a trial day where she can come and do her duties to prove herself while you’re at home. You could use this opportunity to see the level of training you will need to give her be it on how to use kitchen appliances, handle the baby etc. You could even pay her a daily rate. A trial is important as you get to know what you’re really signing up for.
If you’re like me, then you cannot stand unhygienic people. Seriously though, if this person will be living in your house, they need to be hygienic. Shower, take care of themselves have their hair neatly combed, change clothes etc. Basic hygiene. At this point, if you do want your nanny to wear a headscarf and uniform, you also need to let them know that it will be a requirement as some of them are not okay with that.
ALSO READ: Clear signs you need a new househelp
9. Trust your instincts.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it certainly is a duck. Some people are very good judges of character. If your instincts tell you that issa no, don’t even try to tell yourself “Maybe I’m over thinking” just look for someone else. People are good at putting up a façade. You need to read between the lines.
10. As an employee, don’t be an asshole.
If the nanny is doing her part, do yours. If you’re eating meat, let her have the same meal. This person is literally your house manager, don’t treat her like she’s a nobody by having her eat in the kitchen or not join in on the family fun. Treat her like she’s a part of you. Part of the reason why nannies can be such demons is because of how their employers treat them. Treat her like a pile of shit and you will eat food with her spit everyday lol. The bottom-line? Don’t be an asshole.