It is important to set expectations and daily schedules and to stick to those. But that does not mean that you cannot add more house rules if you think there is a need for this.
“Our helper was great when she started, but she just does not follow instructions anymore. She is great with the children so I don’t want to fire her, but things need to change.” Managing a domestic helper can be frustrating at times. You may live with her in one small apartment without any space to release the tension. The easy solution is to make your own set of domestic worker house rules or to add new ones to your current list.
Set clear expectations
Managing a helper is not something you learn from one day to another. It can take years of practice before you find the right managing style that suits you. Everyone has their own style, but the key is to set clear expectations and routines. In the ideal situation, you have a clear set of house rules and schedules ready to discuss with your helper on her first day. Don’t expect her to be perfect from day one, but do give her feedback if you feel she is not following your guidelines. You are her manager and need to guide her. In the beginning, you may have to supervise her closely, but over time, less so. Ensure that your helper knows what is expected of her.
Don’t expect her to read your mind
Your helper doesn’t know exactly what you expect unless you tell her. This is why it is important to have clear house rules, but also to follow up on them. You can set up a monthly meeting where you both review her performance. Tell her what she did well and what can be improved on. If your clothes have never been folded this professionally, let her know. She will appreciate knowing that you think she is doing things right. In the case that some duties are not done well, you can let her know. Instead of getting angry, you can ask why she is doing things in a certain way. If she cooks with to much salt, you can ask her why she is using so much salt. Her answer may be that she is used to that or thinks it tastes better. Or perhaps her definition of a “pinch of salt” is different from yours. You can suggest that she can add more salt to her own portion, but that you prefer less salty food for you and the children. Make her feel safe so that she can explain herself and so that you can work together to find a solution. Be clear with your instructions and follow up with her. If she knows what to do afterwards, then there may be no need to add a new house rule.
How to add new house rules
During your monthly meetings, you can go over the current list of house rules and add new ones if needed. Find a quiet moment where you both feel comfortable and free to discuss your concerns. Find good examples as to why you are changing rules, instead of saying “from now on, it will be like this.” You don’t need to make a new rule for everything, in fact, that could overwhelm her. Instead, you will have to decide whether or not it is necessary to introduce a new rule or to just tell her verbally what to do.
Nobody is perfect
No one is perfect. One domestic helper might be great with the children and with cooking, but less so when it comes to cleaning. In this case, instead of adding a house rule, you can set aside some time to train her. Do this is an open way and not by intimidating her. She is probably trying very hard to do her job well. Give her time to get better and think about ways to train her if she has difficulty doing something the way you expect her to do it.