Maid is stressed: 5 signs of a stressed-out maid you must not ignore
How do you know if your maid is stressed? Your maid may not always tell you if she is anxious about something. Find out in this article...
Responsible, hard-working maids can certainly make our lives easier and are a blessing, especially for busy parents.
However, sometimes I think we tend to forget that maids are human just like everyone else ... which means they make mistakes, have complicated emotions, feel sick and stressed, and have their bad days in general.
When we are stressed at work, we have outlets -- our colleagues, our partners, the HR manager. But when your maid is stressed-out, you can be almost 100% sure that she won't tell you this directly to your face.
If she does, consider yourself lucky because then it's easy for both of you to figure out what the root cause of the stress is and address it before it blows out of control.
However, if your maid doesn't have the confidence to tell you directly about what's bothering her, then this stress may emerge in various other ways, especially through her behaviour.
A stressed-out maid is not good for you, your family, and for her. In extreme cases, she could even vent her frustrations on a young, helpless child or older relative.
So, if your maid is stressed-out and doesn't tell you, watch out for these tell-tale signs.
1. She's slacking on her work
Stress and anxiety make even the best workers antsy and forgetful. One of the ways your maid may express her stress is by slacking on her daily duties.
She may do this intentionally to try and get her message across to you ("Ma'am, I just can't handle all this work"), or unintentionally as her anxious thoughts overrule her daily routine.
Keep a tab on your maid's chores and consistently check that she's doing things the way you asked her to at the beginning of her employment period with you. This could be once a week or once a day -- what works for you, really.
If you notice repeated slip-ups, sit her down and talk to her about why she's making mistakes. It could be that she is genuinely forgetful and a simple solution like getting her to write down her daily duties every morning could help. Or it could be her way of 'rebelling' and expressing to you that she's dealing with a problem, personal or otherwise.
2. You catch her snapping at your kids
Not nice at all if you catch this happening. Kids are so vulnerable and innocent and all too often we hear of horror stories of babies and toddlers being at the receiving end of a helper's frustrations.
It's true that handling and looking after children can be frustrating even to the most patient of us. But really there is no excuse for anyone to vent their anger or stress on a little kid.
If you suspect your maid might be ill-treating your child, look out for subtle and not-so-subtle signs of this behaviour in your little one, such as displaying anxiety when left with your maid, or more obvious signs such as bruises or bumps.
Some employers opt to install a video recorder especially if they have kids and the little ones need to be in the care of the maid while they are at work. This decision, of course, is totally up to you, but may be one that gives you peace of mind while you are away from your child.
And if you do catch your maid venting her stress on your children, there can really be no excuses at all for this behaviour -- show her the door as soon as possible.
3. She starts seeing ghosts and spirits
Once, a previous maid of mine told me a ghost had left tooth marks in her soap and in some potatoes that were left out in the kitchen. Turned out it was a mouse, whose ghostly little presence was found in a trap the next morning.
This same helper also once showed me three scratches on her shoulder and said an evil spirit had done it. Most likely her boyfriend was that spirit.
But my point is that these stories were just a lead-up to her Grand Exit which happened because she was totally stressed out about some personal matters and some health issues.
It's not unusual for some maids to be quite superstitious, but if they start talking about ghostly beings in your home, you may want to take this as a sign that she is anxious about something, or really wants to leave.
4. She constantly complains about her health
It's true that life as a domestic helper can be quite strenuous, more so in some households than others, and this work can take a toll on a maid's health in one way or another. Or it could be that she came to work in your home with pre-existing health issues that are not earmarked in the routine health-check, e.g., arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome.
And it's true that it's our responsibility to show concern over a maid's health problems and help her get appropriate medical care. However, even after multiple visits to the doctor and several rounds of medication, if your maid still complains about her health, it could be a roundabout way of saying she has other issues, or that she wants to leave.
5. She starts showing you attitude
Any employer-employee relationship should be based on mutual respect and civility. The same goes for your relationship with your maid.
However, if you notice that your previously polite helper is now rude, short-tempered, ignoring your requests, and is basically showing you heaps of attitude, it might actually be that this behaviour is an in/voluntary result of stress and anxiety.
Sit down with her, talk to her about her behaviour and get to the bottom of what's causing it.
Mums and dads, the take-home message from all this is if you notice one or more of these signs, don't delay speaking to your maid about what might be bothering her.
This could help you both either sort out the issue and get back to your usual routine, or move on with other alternatives if the issue is un-solvable for both of you.
It's also a good idea when hiring a maid for the first time to tell her to approach you directly if she is stressed, has health problems or any other issues. Don't forget to reassure her that you won't get mad or offended if she does this.
How did YOU come to know that your maid is stressed? Drop a comment below and let us know.