A sticky story about having a housemaid (and please don’t go off me!)

It’s no secret that many of us here in Dubai have housemaids, who double up as nannies and sometimes cooks too. A very small minority even drive, meaning the school run is magically done too.

I’ve heard this wonderful perk described in various ways:

“My wife at home,” is a common one from expat mums, or “I should have married her!”

Another friend who’d just hired the sweetest lady from the Philippines told me, “She’s marvellous! She can stay at home and be me and I can go off and be somebody else!”

Introducing the efficient, gorgeous and all-round wonderful Catherine the Great (with baby LB)- can you tell how much we love her?!

And it’s amazing how you’re suddenly inspired to do baking, three-course meals, or catering for multiple kids when you have a self-cleaning kitchen.

The only draw-back is if you get too used to having a housemaid – dare I say it, dependent – it can be quite a shock when real-life catches up with you, ie, you have to move back to your home country (or go on a two-week holiday without her). In fact, it’s common for local families and a few expats to take their maids on vacation with them.

This summer in England, a friend asked me if our live-in nanny Catherine the Great spends her whole time tidying up after our two very messy boys.

Well, we are, in fact – and have been for some time – on a drive to get the boys to tidy their own toys, as a precaution against one of my worst fears, expat brat syndrome, which I’ve blogged about before.

But, inevitably, the rest of us, and in particular C.the.Grt who’s at home all day, still end up doing plenty of clearing up – and it drives BB bananas.

So he’s taken to using sellotape (American sp. scotch tape) to tape his trains, planes, cars, pieces of track and even lego to the floor – in the hope all his bits and pieces won’t get thrown back in the toy box.

Once he taped up the whole living room, cordoning it off like it was a crime scene that couldn’t be touched.

Double-sided, poster tape, mounting tape, he doesn't discriminate - he'll take what he can get

He also uses sellotape to make roadways on the floor and he gets through miles of the stuff.

I’ve found myself bribing him with it: “If you’re really good today BB, I’ll get you a roll of sellotape at the supermarket tomorrow!”

This morning I had two rolls stashed away, but BB found them and got busy. The end result was this sellotape superstructure, which we’ll be unsticking for days.

So that is the reason, my dear friends, why when your children receive a present from us, it’s always wrapped in Toys R Us gift paper – because our sellotape is all over our floor and is never, ever to be found when I need it.

PS: I really recommend two superbly written blogs by Dubai writers on this facet of expat life (housemaids, not sellotape) – Housewife in Dubai: Maid wanted: Must love cleaning and hate gossip and We have it maid by SandboxMoxie, who has good reasons for resisting the lure of live-in help.

About Circles in the Sand

Sun worshiper, journalist, mother, pilot's wife and distracted housewife living in the land of glitz and sand
This entry was posted in Children, Dubai, Expat, Family, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A sticky story about having a housemaid (and please don’t go off me!)

  1. Linda Storey says:

    I have selotape stuck to my walls, my doors, my clothes, keeping cupboards shut. Rosie asks for selotape to hold a blanket together to create a dressing up skirt…
    She knows where it’s kept in my office and helps herself. I’m thinking I ought to enforce a stricter control on the use of the stuff.

    Amy is on night three of being in a bed, cot ready to face the country’s ebay addicts.
    So the days of them making their own breakfasts loom and I have heard some funny stories from friends whose children have been heard banging and crashing in the kitchen at 5am. Well, it made me giggle when it was THEIR children!

    I love reading your posts. It’s like having a funny, maneagable book given to me in small accessible chapters. I look forward to reading the next chapter and I don’t want for the book to end because it’s so good, and the best thing is that hopefully it won’t for many years to come.

    My life is similar with the fact I work pretty much full time and have two small children and no time to do anything any more and I’m listing in my head the millions of things I could be doing if I wasn’t playing baby dolls with Amy, although I love her to bits and she’s great fun to be with.

    Keep the posts coming, I’m sure you will.
    Your No 1 Fan

    and I still think you should be keeping all these posts and approach a publisher and ask for a book deal and turn free posts into royalities….
    Just humour me one day and do it!

  2. MsCaroline says:

    What a clever child! I’m so glad mine didn’t use tape for that purpose – they used it to tape blankets together when making forts, instead.
    Met a lady at lunch last week who just moved here from Hong Kong and loved their ‘Catherine the Great’ so much, they moved her here to Seoul with them! I say, enjoy it while you have it. I would have loved to have had the extra hands when my boys were small and I was working full time.

    • Catherine the Great is also my girl! Right at the beginning, she told me she liked pink, and I just hope she was telling me the truth, coz I buy her everything in pink – we had her room painted pink, and she even has a little pink tree at Christmas! I know we’re so lucky, she’s a gem. I just hope that if we have to move, she’ll come too!

  3. That’s hilarious. Very ingenious of him though.
    My boys love sellotape too. It’s all over the floor of their new playroom, as is glue. I have given up asking them to tidy up, it just doesn’t happen. I clean up once a fortnight, before the cleaner comes, or occasionally if a friend’s coming round, because it’s so embarrassing.

  4. Housemaids in Asia make life good and bad. Good in the sense you no longer have to clean up after yourself and more importantly no more ironing but bad due to maid issues which are many. I do get worried about the children becoming “expat children” but I guess it is up to the parent as to whether the children do become “expat brats”.

    • Thanks for visiting Expat-Underground! Yes, the maid culture definitely has pros and cons – expat brats being a serious side effect! I’ll be over to check you out asap…a good thing about employing a maid is definitely having more time to read other blogs! 🙂

  5. Pingback: The run on sellotape « Circles in the Sand

  6. Sandy Feet says:

    This is hilarious, both my sons went through the selotape phase. NOTHING escaped unscathed. If it couldn’t be taped down, it was taped up, sideways, behind, in front, on the dog, you name it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Pingback: On finding out you think I’m Shouty Mummy « Circles in the Sand

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