Every one of us, employers, media influencers, even as individuals need to STOP using the word maid to refer to a domestic staff.
Is there anything wrong with this choice of word? – No
Is there something shameful about being a domestic worker? Absolutely not.
Domestic staff workers are part of the hardest working and most self-sacrificing members of our societies, but the term maid is demeaning because, in a way, it has a direct impact on how domestic staff workers are regarded and exploited.
If you believe there’s nothing wrong with those words, would you ever use the word “maid” to describe yourself in these modern times? Why wouldn’t you? It’s because you know it’s not the right word to describe a domestic worker. You know that word isn’t right at all.
It’s an ugly word of an extinct era, an era of class division and unquestioned social injustice. The word maid serves to create a mindset that allows one person to be considered completely inferior to another because of the lowliness of their job.
Every human being needs help. This is not about being lazy. Imagine as working modern parents or a businesswoman having a long day at work and getting home to start cooking, giving kids a bath, tidying up? It could even be your mother or a relative helping.
Sometimes I don’t want to stress myself and outsource any tasks I am not up to; I’m sure you feel that way, right? So why not use the services of people (domestic staff) to make life easier e.g. nanny, cleaner, caterer, dry cleaners, etc.
When I hear people say “No! If it is cleaning, we can do it once a week and maybe buy takeout once in a while like twice a week if it is cooking” or “a housekeeper is a complete no-no for me, I don’t trust people easily like that, I am not disabled, my hands and my feet work well, I am not sick too, so why should I hire a nanny to do for me what I can do for myself” and I just look at them completely baffled.
It is this ideology that makes women slave away till they breakdown because they are more concerned about what others will say and being tagged “lazy”. It’s high time we recognize the fact that there is no trophy for the stress of doing it all.
The perception about domestic staff
The perception about domestic staff especially nannies being evil and home breakers is overly exaggerated. Personally, I believe a lot of Nigerians do not understand that this is dependent on the type of personalities that build up the home. I am opportune to have friends who employ the services of domestic workers and their marriages and kids turned out well.
It’s time for us to accept that the world is changing and break out of our archaic mentality about domestic workers. They are nor inferior beings and it’s about time we accord them that respect and value their contribution. There is nothing wrong with hiring a mature nanny with well stated out responsibilities to assist a woman. Don’t let anyone fool you, get as many domestic staff as you need. Even the proverb 31 woman had helped.