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!”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.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.