Goodbye J, and Thank you

For the 2nd time this week, I can't sleep. It is past 4 in the morning as I am typing this. Insomnia a couple of nights ago happened after I bought the air tickets to send our domestic help home. She flew back last night, and I'm wondering how she is right now.

The copious amount of tears I shed yesterday really surprised me. I did not realise till then just now much emotional attachment I've developed over the past 17 months or so.

I believe it is because these 17 months have been a special time in my life. She came in when I was in my last month of pregnancy, saw me through delivery and confinement, and all through Bubbles' 1st year and beyond.

I never wanted to have live-in help, but circumstances and requests from parents made us decide to try out the option. I struggled in many ways. Between yearning for privacy and wanting to make her feel part of the family. Wanting to trust her completely, but not being able to do so because more experienced employers around me tell me that I shouldn't judging from her behaviour. Wanting to be a good, friendly, and encouraging boss, and being reminded through her own actions and others' advice that I should be firm and not be friends lest I get 'taken advantaged' of.

There were days I felt so annoyed, irritated, and betrayed by her. I recall times when I had no desire to be in my own home when she was around, and wishing we never hired her. She stressed and worried me often enough for us to decide that it was just not working out.

However, after all is said and done, and she has now gone, I am left remembering the good times, and feel awfully sad that we had to part with her, likely forever. I see the little touches that she has done around the house, and it hits me quite hard. I remember how she was fond of Bubbles, and my heart aches because I'll have to tell Bubbles that her 'Ah J' has left us. I think about how she asks what I would like to drink every morning, and how she was the one I called for help with creepy crawlies around the house. She was my partner in home management and we did almost all grocery shopping together.

On the day we broke the news to her, I saw that she had taken it upon herself to set up Bubbles' house in the living room. My heart ached. I cried along with her as I told her the news. I prepared gifts for her, her mom, and her favourite nephew. We helped her to pack, and I found myself dispensing advice like a worried mother. I asked that she keeps practising all that she has learnt while with us, and to always continue to learn and improve herself. I told her never to go to the Middle-East to work, and to always be there for her future children, if she ever becomes a mother. I made her pack her money in two different places, and reminded her countless times to take care of her things.

She thanked and hugged me before we left the house, telling us that she was very thankful to us and that she was very lucky to have had us as employers. We hugged again before she stepped into the Departure Lounge. Roboman shook hands to thank her, and she asked him to take good care of me, and of Bubbles. She turned back many times to wave to us as she walked towards the boarding gates.

My consolation: She conceded that while shocked, it was good for her to go back at this point, as she has already learnt all she can with us. She desires to go back to study a course on Care-giving, and I wish her the very best.

I'm glad I wrote this post, because it helped ease my heavy heart a little.

It has also made me wonder. If I feel this way about J, how will I ever be able to let Bubbles leave the nest when the time comes for her to do so? Prepare my heart, God!


ame said...

feel sad when reading ur post, but also feel relieved for you my dear.

Mum in the Making said...

Oh dear... It is difficult to find domestic helpers that really love the kids they take care of, and I can understand how difficult it is to let her go. Take care ok? At least Bubbles is not too attached to her yet, otherwise it would be even harder I guess... Will you be then getting another helper after this?

Anonymous said...

You send her back early?
The same thing happens when I send mine back! And I told Josh that I won't want to step into airport if we ever hv to do that again.


imp said...

It's for the best babe. At least this is amicable. So nicely done. I'm a little less emotional prob because I usually have to pick up the pieces after the older ladies and pack the maids home quite regularly. U've done all u can for this one. Then perhaps stick to part-time help which will give us less trouble.

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

You do? (the relieved part) Let's see how I cope =P

Thankfully J wasn't Bubbles' caregiver (it would have been 100x harder if she was!) but Bubbles is used to seeing her around everyday. We're going to see if we can cope with part-time help instead! I think it is for the better!

Yup, a couple of months early. Goodbyes are hard when you've lived in such close proximity for so long!

I think it is for the best too. Let's see how we cope by changing the way we do things. It has been 2 days and I'm definitely more physically tired (although perhaps emotionally and mentally less so!)

chenchen said...

Hi, I chanced upon your blog through a common friend some time ago. Is your domestic help keen to continue working in SG? We are looking to hire a domestic help (live-in) because my second kid is arriving in June. We need someone who loves being around children and can chip in to help out with housework (my mum will be the primary caregiver during the day, and my hubby and I do chip in the evening to help, so we really just need an extra pair of hands in the day). Appreciate if you oculd let me know. Thanks!

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

Thanks for dropping by! J has returned to her home country. Your arrangement with your mum being the primary caregiver sounds similar to what we did. If you are keen to work with the agent to bring her back, I can try to help. Email me at!

lilsnooze said...

At times I feel like this too and I wonder if I should bite the bullet and just do fulltime mummy and not have domestic help.

It's just so hard to trust someone else to take care of your children, even if the primary caregiver is not them.

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

I know what you mean, and I'm thankful I've the option of part-time work. You will have a taste of what it could be like during your maternity leave? Then decide later :)