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Oreoluwa’s Maid For Me: What Your Maid’s Character Is Saying About You



At the mention of the name of some organizations or banks, there is a picture that most likely first comes to your mind. Over time, many of us have attributed  these pictures or characteristics to these organizations – based on one, two or more interactions we had with the staff who work there, or the experiences of others who we trust. You hear things like “They are rude in this bank, so I can’t bank with them”.

In reality, these organizations may have been in existence before the particular staff who gave you that impression was hired and would probably be in existence long after the staff is gone. Yet, you have chosen to see the two entities as one and the same. You are right. You are supposed to.

It is the same with our homes. So many maid employers think that they can be excused from whatever it is that their maid exhibits. She’s constantly looking dirty, but they are quick to point out to people that she has a bad hygiene and that is her choice, as long as she cleans your home well. No. The only reason she has remained dirty is because you have allowed it.

The maid might probably be rude to you and your guests, but you explain it away, saying no one is perfect. Yet, you know deep down how it embarrasses you, but because she’s good to your kids, you feel you are left with no choice. You have missed a crucial point. The only reason she can get comfortable being rude is because you have permitted it.

Your maid is the probably the weakest link in your circle, that means she can be easily replaced.

So, whatever character she exhibits is a reflection of either of two things: what you have permitted, or what you don’t have adequate knowledge on how to deal with. If you pay close attention, you will realize that when she is described by people, she is described in relation to you. “Do you know Bola? Ore’s maid”.

Therefore, whatever you don’t want tagged to you shouldn’t be allowed. I have heard countless stories of maid employers who have constantly lowered their bar of tolerance, and have easily become manipulated by their maids. These maids know that their employers have been pushed to a point where they think they have no option; bad maid experiences, high turnover of maids after investing so much, and so the employers are willing to overlook whatever bad character it is that may try to overshadow the good work the maids do.

One thing you can be certain about with maids who exhibit such traits, is that they are always so skilled in their jobs, thereby making it extremely hard for their employers to choose. The end points of these kinds of relationships are pre-determined. They never end well. The person who has the upper hand always leaves the other person devastated. It is either the maid leaves when you may need her the most or after she has caused so much damage that will take a while for you to recover from.

As much as you, and people around you would like to cast the total blame on her, be aware that she was only able to, because she saw a window of opportunity which only got wider as time went by. It probably appeared harmless to you at first, until it became a wild fire that you couldn’t put out.

I am by no means advocating for perfect maids, so that you don’t set out to look for one. You can’t find one anywhere. Your maid will have some shortcomings. But that isn’t an excuse for you to ignore warnings or choose to keep lowering your standard of what is acceptable.

If you have found yourself in this situation, it is best to acknowledge what you can address and face it promptly and also recognize the things that you can’t handle and take a decision that protects you. You may be able to talk or train a maid out of her rude behaviour but may not be able to address her promiscuity. So, even if she’s the best at housekeeping or childcare, understand the risks involved in exposing your home to a promiscuous person and take prompt action.

In the end, whatever you choose to do says either of these two things: that you decided to stick by your standards or values and let go of whatever you couldn’t handle, or you gave in to the fear of losing out and lost yourself and your values in the process.

Once she becomes and remains your employee, it ceases to be about her alone.

Photo Credit: Stephen Coburn | Dreamstime

Oreoluwa Sonola is a Household Manager. She ensures the systems in homes run smoothly with little or no supervision from the homeowners. She creates management and training resources, procedural manuals, work schedules and SOPs for Domestic staff within the home and chore schedules for kids where the domestic staff is absent. Some of her resources can be found on her website  and Instagram and twitter @maidformee.


  1. i must talk

    August 23, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    on Sunday mornings, you will see people neatly dressed and their kids looking clean and cute, only for you to notice a dirty girl standing next and looking lost. it is worrisome.

  2. sade

    August 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I just tire for this maid matter. Woke up shouting this morning,am so confused and dont know what to do? In feb, i got an elderly woman cos i was desperate,starting work. She said she was a widow and bla bla bla,oh lawd! this woman gave me stress,am in my early thirties and have a child, not married. This woman felt she was the madam of the house, she does not use her initiative for anything except to eat. She wont clean, iron only 5 dresses and says she is tired, she goes on off on good friday and i tell her to be back by 2pm on Easter monday( she is entitled to 24hrs off ), she strolls back around 7pm without an explanation. all she does is laugh and tell me the bus no gree full oooo, i stay there for over 3hrs, me sef tire. ( really!) . Got home unexpectedly early once, If you see the eba, this woman made, 3 basketballers will be unable to finish it,sent her on an errand and i decided to put my finger in the soup,only for me to see 3 big pieces of beef buried there ( in this ecomomy ) .Then my child started speaking pidgin ( yeepaaaa! Mogbe )i can go on and on about this one, had no choice than to let her go

    Second one, got her from one of this corporate domestic help companies, 1st wahala, got called by a neighbour around 2pm that my generator had been on since 8am. Told him it wasnt my gen,neighbour argues that he knows my gen and blaaaaa, to cut the story shut, this girl turns on the gen immediately i leave for work till 2ish when my child gets back from school,can you imagine. was told by neighbours, sometimes,she would take out her uniform, wear mufti and roam around the area, chatting with boys. She went on off and didnt return, came back a week later with stories. I just handed her stuffs and told her to leave.

    Third one, this one will just be on the phone for 2hrs talking with boys….Let this people allow you work biko. i complained and complained. Long story,had to let her go.

    Present one, who happens to be around my age. I give you instructions and you just decided to do otherwise. My child must not leave the house and am hearing stories on how my child is seen at a neighbour’s place and all. I give you money for something and you are using it for something else.

    What is wrong with these people? Am just so sick and tired. Apologies for the long story. E ma binu.

    • Oreoluwa Sonola

      August 25, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Hello Sade, I’m so sorry about the experiences you have had. Please can you send me a mail or DM on instagram so we can talk privately? I would love to be of help. Look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Dora

    August 23, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    A few grammatical errors, BN, pls update. Nice article. These helps have been taking my parents hostage for ages. Coz they know all their kids are away and they don’t have much choices or can’t be bothered changing them every 3 months. The standard of that house has so gone down. I shall be visiting soon and acting out this article.

  4. D

    August 27, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Love reading from you on BN. you know when friends or people I know give me attitude I call them out and all sort but with my maid I go the extra mile not to respond immediately cause I have an extremely sharp tongue and feel like whatever I say would do slot of damage.

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