When mum's a tyrant with the maid

When mum's a tyrant with the maid

Is your mother or mother-in-law unreasonably harsh with your helper? Experts tell Lisa Twang how to restore peace at home.

Excessive working hours 96 per cent (14-20 hours a day)
Never permitted to leave the house 52.3 per cent
Restrictions on phone usage 45.7 per cent Withholding salary 33.1 per cent

The study interviewed 151 women seeking refuge at the HOME (Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics) shelter.

Is the Helper being abused?

According to the 2012 Foreign Domestic Worker Trafficking Research Report† by HOME, these are some of the most common forms of abuse reported by domestic workers.

When Lilin*, 36, noticed that her elderly mother was growing frail, she hired a domestic helper to help with the household chores. To Lilin's surprise, her mother became hostile to the maid, often yelling at her and complaining about her work.

Lilin found the helper hardworking and polite, and could not understand why her mum was treating her unfairly. Her husband and two sons would hide in the bedroom whenever her mother was shouting at the helper, as they didn't dare to interfere.

Natalia*, 25, also noticed that her mother was unreasonable to their helpers, and would pick on them when she was in a bad mood. "She would scold them for little things like not serving water to the family at meal times, even though she was the only one who wanted it," recalls Natalia.

"She restricted them from leaving the house, with only the occasional Sunday off. Because of this, we changed maids many times, to the point where my mother was blacklisted by the agency."

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