I Vant to Be Left Alone

May 27, 2006

My husband and I are not seeing eye-to-eye on having a live-in housekeeper. He wants to keep the one we have, I want her out. He believes we need a live-in and I know we probably do but would rather have a part-time maid come and go during the work week. He thinks I have some sort of psychological condition that prevents me from enjoying the fruits of having a live-in maid and I say it's a matter of privacy and even safety.

Most people see maids as help, but I see them as counterproductive pains in the asses, to put it mildly. Take for example the other day. I usually take my daughter with me to drop my son off at school but she wasn't feeling well and our maid was purposely hiding out when it was time to go. She has done it before, the hiding out, and it's usually to use the phone. My policy on using the phone is this: ask my permission first. Even if I'm heading out and they ask to use it while I'm gone, I always say yes. I've never said no when it comes to using the phone. 

I went to the car and she came running out, saying we needed lebnah (strained yogurt). I said OK and started the car. She came running out again, saying we needed Dettol. Huh? We have a million cleaning products in the laundry room. 

So I left my daughter at home, dropped my son off and rushed straight home, sans the lebnah and Dettol, because I don't feel right about leaving my children with hired help. I came home and found our front door locked. I knocked. Waited. Knocked again. Waited. It was 41°C. Thankfully I was in the shade. I knocked. Waited. Nothing. I was standing there for what seemed to be an eternity. I walked to the back door and it was locked as well. I knocked. Waited. I finally saw the maid coming out of the kitchen, holding my daughter, looking guilty and confused. I made a gesture to unlock the door so I could get in. Later on in the day, I hit redial to confirm my suspicions and sure enough, I got someone's cell phone. The last number I dialed was 113 for the time.
Locked out of my own damn house. Go figure. Inside my head, I get all sister-like, saying something like, "No you DIDN'T just lock me out of my own damn house." But the reality is that I'm a sucker who doesn't like confrontation, especially when it comes to maids because they're famous for taking out any sort of revenge on children. So I said nothing to her. I felt so stupid.

Later on that day, my son asked the maid to make him nuggets. He does that. He sneaks around and asks the maid for food that I normally wouldn't give him. I allow nuggets, yes, but not for a snack at 3:30PM.

She brought the nuggets to the living room and placed them down on the coffee table. She knows I'm trying to get my children NOT to eat in the living room, but oh well. My children both lunged for the nuggets and I flew over to the table, grabbed the plate and asked the maid if she opened them to see if they were cooked thoroughly. Before she could say 'no', I tore a nugget apart and you know where this is going, right? Yeah, raw. Raw in the middle. Not just a little raw, but totally uncooked.

My husband's excuse to hang on to a live-in maid is that we're going on vacation for a month soon and we need a maid to look after the house, pets, water the plants, yada, yada, yada. Deep down I know he's right, especially since some of our pets are getting up there in age and none of our friends/family are able to watch them, but there has to be a better way.



  1. So, I guess you didn’t have any luck with the temp Maid Ads in the Arab Times.
    I’ll ask my mom, now that she’s back in Q8, to ask some of her friends who have temp maids. The only thing is that they all live in like Jabriyah or Bayan, not down south.
    I’ll let you know if I get any leads ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Q8Sultana – Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I found a wonderful woman who was willing to work for me part-time. She lives in the area and has transportation, it was going to be a dream. The day before I was going to call her to give her the OK, my husband came home to see me tired and stressed from the kids/cleaning and decided right then and there we needed a live-in. Plus, he doesn't feel comfortable leaving our pets/house for a month and in the hands of a part-timer. Neither do I, so I wonder if there are any housesitters available. Hmmm.

  3. I usually just bite my tongue when I see someone writing about maid problems. But Oh boy I gotta say something now. Wake up and smell the dettol you don’t need to buy.You even had a gut instinct that she was up to something and you still left your daughter with her? You would REALLY REALLY trust this woman with your house (the one she locked you out of??), pets etc. for a month? Why do you give your power over to this woman?? They have left their kids in their country to come here and raise yours! I know the terrible things the maids do here and I know how desperate the people are to hang onto these creatures to raise their kids, clean, cook everything. I know people that will defend their maids before ever thinking to defend their kids. I know people that have kept maids after they broke their kids arm, or beat them to the point of lifelong physical problems. I know the whole ‘Shesowee’ attitude. That’s all I have to say.

  4. Gail – If it was totally up to me, we wouldn’t have a live-in maid. But let’s be realistic. I don’t have anybody in Kuwait who can help me with my kids. I’m not blessed with in-laws who can help, as I’m married to the youngest of nine children and some of my husband’s siblings are already grandparents and all of them work. My husband works hard – leaves early in the morning and doesn’t come home until 5PM or so.

    I had a gut instinct, yes. But my son had to get to school, my daughter wasn’t feeling well so I decided to leave her home and my son’s school is only a short distance from our house. If there was any other way, trust me, I would do it. I’m still trying to figure out what to do about the pets and if there are any house sitters available in Kuwait for the summer.

    You might be interested in looking at my other site: Maid in Kuwait and even submitting some of your own stories.

    P.S. I know you’re a foreigner and you’ve done it all on your own, without a maid, and so if you have any advice to share, please do so.

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