Maids in mummy role

Maids in mummy role

SINGAPORE - Programme manager Adelynn Yen did not like her first Filipino domestic helper to reschedule her elder daughter's playgroup sessions without first informing her.

Neither did she like her helper to feed her daughter certain foods.

It took her about six to nine months to teach her 27-year-old helper not to overstep boundaries and make decisions regarding her daughter without consulting her.

Ms Yen, 30, recalls a conversation with her helper: "I said, 'We work 20 hours a day, and you have the better part of the day with her. When I am home, I want to catch my time with my daughter.'

"After that, she knew to be hands-off with my girl when we were at home."

Her words were not as harsh as those uttered in the award-winning local film Ilo Ilo, where a mother says to her maid regarding her son: "I'm his mother, not you."

But Ms Yen's experience is one shared by many working parents in Singapore who have to rely on domestic helpers to look after their children.

Ms Florence Lim, director of the MWS Covenant Family Service Centre, says that emotional attachments are a concern, particularly for mothers.

Ms Lim, 56, says: "It's the maternal instinct and a mother's jealousy that makes her more sensitive to any slights.

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