Tonight I was privy to or, I guess, I was part of a weird conversation about maids. (In Arabic of course)
I know that having a cleaning lady in this part of the world is way more common than it is in the west and it's a good thing sometimes. It gives jobs to women who need them and helps households keep up with all the dust here. I think a woman coming to help do the heavier jobs once or twice a week is a help to a lot of homes. One of these women currently has a woman come clean her apartment every other day. She brings her daughter and cleans everything but isn't allowed to make the bed. When I heard this I asked why not and she said she just doesn't want her touching and breathing on her bed/pillows. I was like um, lady, she's at your house every other day breathing all over the place. EYEROLL
I was kinda disturbed by the casual conversation where one woman was asking if the other knew where she could find a young one. "Around 12 years old?" She asked. I was like "why?", they both went on to talk about how a young girl would be great because then she could live with them!
I've gotta say I don't get live in maids, let alone, live in child maids at that! They talked about how she'd have to be younger than 15 or she could be a threat to the marriage. But not younger than 10, or they'd feel bad giving her too much work and it would be more like an extra kid than a servant. I wondered why an 11 or 12 year old was OK and guilt free!?
Wouldn't you feel odd having a stranger live in your homes,I asked. They insisted she'd be like one of the family. I argued that she would not, and asked if said maid would sit with them at dinner. One of them laughed and said, of course not! She'll eat in the kitchen. I'd just proved my point and shot her a look like "see"?
One recounted a great little girl she had in Cairo who was so wonderful, "She'd finish her work and sit quietly on the floor without my asking." She said. She'd go visit her family once a month and give them the money she'd earned. These maids also double as nannies and look after the children at home and when out, and more educated ones even help with homework. What's mom doing? I'm sorry, I'm all for getting some help but when some womanchild is raising your kid for you, that's a problem.
They went on to talk about the different nationalities of maids and which ones were better. "Filipino maids are the best" one says. The other told a story of the African maid in Cairo who'd eaten a baby. Yes, I just typed that, and yes, they were serious. I started to laugh and they quickly said, no, it's true! One said how black people scare her and how she just isn't comfortable around them. I told them they can't generalize and that what they heard is surely a rumor. I asked them how they felt about people painting all Muslims or Arabs with the same brush but they blew off the comparison. These are average, middle class, college educated women. It completely floors me how people can be this dense.
I really had to keep my cool because I wanted to yell "IT'S NOT OK TO HAVE A CHILD CLEAN UP AFTER YOU AND YOUR KIDS AND YOU'RE BOTH IGNORANT, RACISTS!" But I didn't.
I've seen some kids that have maids living in their home and they treat them like crap and pick it up from their parents. They get a sense of superiority over them. It's messed up.
If you have a live in maid, that's fine as long as she is an adult and is treated kindly and fairly. What's your take?