I recently took a poll on the subject of beating your domestic help. If you think it is ok to hit them, then your boss should be allowed to hit you too. Anyway the poll brought in mixed reactions, but here is my opinion.
I want to assume correctly that domestic helps that get beaten are usually if not all the time minors. I haven’t seen or heard about adult domestic helps being beaten, except for psycho cases like strong violence and rape. So offence number one is that your domestic help is a minor. I don’t care if they deliver them fresh from Cotonou, and that is the way of life there. A minor is a minor.
So you need help? No problem. Every one needs help at home, whether they admit it or not. Some women like to form super hero. Can cook, clean, take care of baby, wash, iron, infact service the generator. Some others are relegated to that position. They do it due to circumstances. Perhaps they are married to the “I eat only fresh food and no maids allowed in this house” type of husbands. I didn’t even know those type of men still existed. Thought they all relocated to jupiter. Anyway so everyone needs help. Doesn’t matter in what form it comes. From your spouse, your siblings, friends, children or a domestic help. So my question is why are you getting help from someone who can barely help themselves? You have two kids, you live in a 3bedroom house with guests coming ever so often, and your help is a 12 year old? Even 16 is still a child. So what’s the deal? I know what I was like when I was 12, and as much as I got compliments about being a smart glasses wearing child, I couldn’t have survived cooking, cleaning and washing any toilets and kitchen on the daily.
The most recurrent thing I have heard about these house helps is how they don’t listen or never do what they are told once. I don’t even know a child who does as you say without any drama.
People have different ways agreed upon to pay for services of these domestic helps. Some have money paid to their families, others get paid by being put through school and well some others are just brought in from the village with no contract. Pretty much. Trust Nigerians to be very ceremonial and vocal about the domestic helps that they put through school or even a trade. You will never hear the last of it. But how many have sat to think that someone you send to school, just like your own kid, for 8 hours a day, who comes back to take care of your house and your kids cannot be as agile as you expect her to be. Why? Because she sleeps the latest and wakes the earliest. She goes to school, late everyday I am guessing then returns to ensure that all the prep work for dinner is ready before madam comes back. Long after madam and her family are done with dinner, she’s still scrubbing pots, ironing and preparing for tomorrow. Meanwhile, your own kids are tucked in bed, homework done, uniform hung, lunch box packed for the next day, all by your help. And you think that beating her for forgetting to wash the car is not an issue?
If you beat your help, I think your boss should beat you too. Same measure. I mean it’s only fair. Whether minor or adult. If you are late to work, instead of other punishments like deducting from your salary he/she should really just get a belt and give you a good whipping. Some argue that it is not the same scenario. My reply is that we are mostly selfish, and choose circumstances that work in our favour only.
If you really need help, employ a full grown adult. One that understands that s/he is doing a job and getting paid for it. Not minors you use to pad your low self esteem issues. I mean you hear complaints daily about domestic helps, and I am thinking why not just fire her if she’s really that bad? Send her back to her village. But no, we like power. We like that we can shout her name from our high beds and say words like ; why are you so stupid? , you are the one that stole my money abi (never mind that you have kids who are of money stealing age too) or if you like let them impregnate you. Like that is what you would say to your own child who is going through puberty.
Many say they are doing their parents a favour by sending them money. Well please fire her. Stop doing anyone any favours, and let me see you clean that house of yours everyday, before you go to work. Many can’t cope with doing so much house work daily, yet a 12 year old should do it, accompanied by beatings and verbal abuse.
This needs to stop. No child should have to go through half the things that they are put through. Not the ones who hawk on the road side, not the ones who have to sleep under bridges, and certainly not the ones who we claim to be helping by putting a roof over their heads.
And like many other things that need change, it begins with us.