"I walked into my home to find my helper SEXTING!"
What happens when you discover that your helper has been up to no good when you're not around? A Singaporean mum shares with us her experience and how she dealt with it.
We engage helpers based on trust and leave our home and precious children with them. While we hope that things will run smoothly, it is not always the case. What do you do in the event that something goes awry?
Here is a Singaporean mum’s first hand experience with a helperwho wasn’t quite what she seemed to be. The mum has chosen to remain anonymous to respect her family’s privacy. Read on to find out what happened and what she has to say to mums with helpers.
It was just another morning, nothing out of the ordinary. I had dropped my son off to school and after beating the rush hour Bukit Timah traffic, I was heading to my usual breakfast spot for my much needed coffee, granola and catching up with my book.
Such were my mornings. Upon completing the first shift of chauffeuring duties, I would either have breakfast and some me-time at a nearby café or I would shop for groceries and run errands before heading back to spend time with my toddler.
But for reasons beyond which I can fathom, that particular morning found me driving back home.
Maybe it was intuition. Maybe it was sixth sense. Maybe it was a truth that had to be unraveled. Or maybe it was just pure coincidence.
Upon reaching home, I took caution to open the front door as inconspicuously as possible. Again, I had no idea why I was sneaking into my own home much like a burglar.
I walked in to an uncharacteristically quiet home. My toddler who would usually squeal at the sound of my arrival was nowhere in sight. I glanced at the clock. It wasn’t time for his nap.My helperwas nowhere in sight either. Puzzled and riddled with questions, I walked towards my bedroom.
Without warning, I opened the door. What a sight awaited me! My helperwas lying on a mattress on the floor, with her feet propped up on my study table. She was in a rather suggestive position to put it at best, and on a video call.
Here’s the worst part – my jewelry box was wide open and my earrings were strewn across the floor. It took me a few seconds to process what I had just seen. When I realised that my toddler had my pearl earring in his mouth, I started shrieking and running towards him.
That was when my helperfinally discovered my presence in the room. I told her to end her call. She had the audacity to tell me to wait. And she continued her conversation.
I was at my wits’ end but I could not afford to lose my composure in the presence of my unsuspecting toddler. Breathing in and out and thankful that I had intervened before that pearl earring went down my child’s throat, I stood fuming.
Suddenly I felt I had enough. I snatched the phone from her and ordered that she leave my room. She protested and sulked and demanded that I return the phone to her. I stood firm and insisted that she left.
When she was out of my sight, I chucked her phone aside and hugged my toddler. It took me some time to digest all that had happened. I calmed myself down and tried to look at the situation rationally.
Maybe it was not as bad as I thought. Circumstantial evidence can be misleading. I mean, we had been really good to her all this while. Surely she wouldn’t have neglected my child on purpose. She wouldn’t have broken my trust. Or would she? Even then, I respected her privacy enough not to check her phone.
The constant vibration of her phone interrupted my thoughts. Then it struck me – is her phone always this busy? How does she focus on my baby if her phone keeps buzzing? That was when I finally decided to check her phone. And I am glad I made that decision.
My jaw dropped when I looked at her phone. She was receiving calls from a string of men who were sending her nude pictures! As I scrolled through her pictures, my eyes widened as I saw the multitude of provocative pictures she had been taking all along.
If that wasn’t bad enough, she was clad in my clothes, my makeup, my jewelry, my lingerie and lying suggestively on my bed! The worst part was that in half of her pictures, my toddler was somewhere in the background completely unattended to.
I felt maddened, infuriated and betrayed all at once. I continued exploring her phone and went through her social media accounts. What I found was the final straw. She had brazenly uploaded pictures of my children, my home and my parents’ residence. Even the name of our condominium was clearly displayed.
I went through her chat logs in various applications and to my horror discovered that she had been having phone-sex regularly. I shuddered at the thought of what my sons could have been exposed to.
I finally understood that her hour-long showers were actually photography and phone-sex sessions. I finally understood why my things always seemed to not be where I thought I had left them. I finally understood why she never had time to complete the list of chores I had assigned her.
What I could not comprehend was how she had been so daring. There was no way she could see any of our cars returning as our home faced the swimming pool. My parents would come and go without prior notification. How did she get away for so long?
At a loss of what to do, I called my dad. My husband was posted overseas at that point in time. I was pregnant and had two young children. When my parents returned and took my toddler away for a bit, I started interrogating her.
I expected her to be apologetic. At the very least I thought she would be sorry that she was caught. But alas I was grossly mistaken. She didn’t display a hint of guilt. I sent her packing that very evening.
I understand that she is a human being. She has her needs and sexual frustration could have led her to do such things. However, the fact that she had left my child unattended was unacceptable. The fact that she had posed suggestively in the presence of my sons was unacceptable. The fact that she had circulated pictures of my children on social media and to random men was unacceptable.
The fact that she had used my home as a platform for phone sex was beyond what I could tolerate!
What did I learn from this experience?
1. Trust, but not entirely
Of course it is not a pleasant thing to say but it is a cold hard truth. Your home and family is indeed a private space. When allowing a stranger in, you must never assume they play by the rules that you set.
I never installed a CCTV as I did not want to watch every move of my helper. Furthermore, there was always someone popping in and out of the house. I guess I had been complacent.
Even if you leave your helperalone at home for brief periods of time, it is best to be able to know what’s going on.
I respected my helper’s privacy and in spite of everyone warning me, I refused to invade her privacy by checking her phone. The choice remains yours but it might be a good idea to run a check now and then.
Especially when you have young children, you don’t want to risk having their pictures being circulated online.
2. Appearance vs reality
Never judge a book by its cover. Just because your helperappears to be docile and innocent, it does not mean that she is an angel. Likewise, a helperwho appears rather defiant and strong willed may turn out to be a true gem.
In my case, the helperappeared to be pious and family oriented. She often spoke of her husband and children. Never in my wildest imagination did I expect her to be sending nudes to not one but multiple men!
3. Never have a predictable schedule
If I had stuck by my morning routine, I would never have found out about my helper’s shenanigans. Clearly, she had studied everyone’s patterns and worked around it.
If you always arrive home after work at a set time, try making an unexpected arrival during an unpredictable time. Study your helper’s reaction and take note of it.
Of course I am not advocating that you constantly live in a climate of distrust. But it never hurts to err on the side of caution.
4. Pay careful attention to your belongings
If you find yourself constantly misplacing things, do not dismiss it as mere absent-mindedness. If it happens frequently, you might want to start keeping track of things.
Even though your helpermay assist in keeping things in order, no one knows your personal things as well as you. So if you find that your make up seems a little less organised or that bottle of perfume seems to have mysteriously shifted, consider digging deeper into the matter.
5. Set a bait if you must
If you suspect that your helperas been taking or ‘borrowing’ your things without your permission, you could set a little trap.
CCTV doesn’t solve all the problems. There are certain parts of the home that you cannot possibly have under surveillance. If things are amiss, try setting a bait to confirm any suspicions at hand.
6. Listen to your children
Sometimes when our children are trying to tell us something, we may not take them too seriously. At times their stories seem a little out of this world or exaggerated and we may blame their wild imagination for this.
However, pay close attention to subtle tell tale signs that they are not making things up. If you find your helperlingering around when your child is trying to tell you something, or rushing to hush them, it is a red flag.
If your child almost slips something then quickly diverts the topic, or seems afraid, you should be raising a brow. Pay very close attention to their facial expressions and ensure that they don’t feel threatened or afraid when talking to you.
7. Don’t try too hard to rationalise
If something unexpected happens, don’t beat yourself up trying to find answers. Honestly, it may be neither party’s fault. The frustration from being away from home and a normal life may cause our helpers to act up. Or sometimes, people just make mistakes. It’s as simple as that.
Even if you have talked your helperthrough and set clear expectations and ground rules, such things can still happen.
The important part is trying to put whatever happened behind you and moving forward. The only thing you should take away is how you can minimise the chances of a similar occurrence.
8. Be careful when taking a helperon transfer
In hindsight, I should have thought carefully before taking a helperon transfer. I did speak to the previous employer and though she did not particularly say anything negative, she may have implied it by not saying anything positive either.
I later realise that when you put your helperup for transfer, you have to bear the cost of their lodging and the sooner they find a new employer, the less cost you incur. That could be a reason the previous employer didn’t tell me much.
Of course there are helpers on transfer for valid reasons such as employers relocating, or completing their contract. Not all helpers up for transfer are problematic.
Do a thorough background check and trust your instinct. If for any reason you feel half-hearted or doubtful, look for another helper.
9. Always have a backup plan
When I sent my helperpacking, I was left in a spot being pregnant and all. Thankfully for me it happened when I was on leave from work for a long period. I also had parental support.
Not everyone has help. In fact many mums in Singapore solely depend on their helpers to look after their children.
Consider finding out about infant or childcare options within your reach. Or have someone like a relative or your parents to be on standby should there be a sudden issue that arises.
10. Keep calm and let go
If something happens and your relationship with your helperturns sour, please do not lose your cool. Heated arguments may lead to more dire consequences. The last thing you want is for either party to turn violent.
Let things cool and do not talk when everyone is angry.
Also, do remember that at any point in time we are role models for our children. While we are only human and may naturally lose our temper, the way we manage our conflicts pave the way for how our children handle their future conflicts.
If you think that trust is broken and you are not willing to give your helpera second chance, send her home. There is no point in keeping your helperand constantly doubting her and feeling insecure about her presence.
There you go mums, a first hand account of a Singaporean mum’s experience with her helperand the takeaway from it.
Remember to always pay close attention to little warning bells that something might be up with your helper. Do be nice and respectful to them but do not always assume that respect begets respect.
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