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Posts Tagged ‘maids’

Want 'Homespun Caring And Comfort'? Hire It, For $60,000+

In behavior, business, parenting on January 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

I had few illusions that the very wealthy actually bother to raise their own kids, having known a few who spent more time with their nanny or governess than Mom or Dad, but found this story depressing on a few levels:

Even though the wealthy are cutting back, there are some things they simply can’t live without: like household staff.

Everett Collection

Yet rather than employing the high-price armies of the boom times-–the chef, maids, chauffeurs, gardeners, security guard. household managers, estate managers–the wealthy are combining the jobs. Jeeves and Mr. Belvedere are out. “Alice,” from the Brady Bunch is in.

“We’re getting a lot of requests from clients saying ‘What we want is someone who can do it all from cooking, cleaning, to paying the bills and watching the kids,” said Steven Laitmon, co-founder of The Calendar Group, a Connecticut staffing and consulting firm for wealthy households. “They want their own ‘Alice.’ ”

This may sound obvious–but who wouldn’t love an Alice in their home?

Such requests mark a big shift from the runaway growth of the past decade, when the wealthy staffed their mansions with all manner of highly trained specialists and then found themselves overwhelmed by the management headaches, huge payrolls and occasionally poor, institution-like service. “People wanted to staff their homes like boutique hotels,” said Nathalie Laitmon, Calendar’s other founder. “That’s very different from a home.”

Today’s wealthy want a much smaller staff–preferably one person–that can make life simpler, not more complicated. Some are making the shift to save money. Others are doing it to project a lower-key image at a time of status-backlash.

The Laitmon’s said a Greenwich, Conn., client recently hired a chef who also could be their cleaning person, so the family wouldn’t been seen by their peers as “the family with a private chef.”

My retail job north of Manhattan, in which I often served many of these people, was sadly instructive. Their entire world is staffed with servants, whether on their payroll or not. Their sense of entitlement knows no bounds.

If you’ve got the talent, and have honed it sufficiently to work as someone’s private chef, why the hell would you want to clean the windows as well?

Housework Rules! Maid Stars In New Documentary

In women, work on September 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm
pail with shadows

Image by lonelanternsociety via Flickr

Finally — a film that acknowledges reality! Today’s Wall Street Journal features a story by architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable about a famous house known for its cutting edge design. Whatever. Who cleans, dusts, polishes and sweeps it? The housekeeper, Guadelupe Aecdo, is the star of a new film about the house, built by star architect Rem Koolhaas, introduced  — surrounded by her tools — to the strains of Stauss.

Props to the cleaner. Cool!

Guys, if you want to get lucky, pick up a damn broom. Here’s an international study that finds men in more egalitarian nations, i.e. guys who clean the bathroom or do dishes, have happier relationships. You bet they do, as I might be the only woman I know who actually enjoys doing housework. I started today scrubbing the tub then moved onto ironing (yes, even sheets and pillowcases), while my sweetie does all the laundry (I do loathe laundry.)

I like housework because: it’s physical; gets me away from the computer; produces instant results; I work at home so dirt, dust and clutter are in my face 24/7 if I don’t do something about them; it’s easy and won’t wreck my weekends if I knock off 30-45 minutes of it a day. I don’t have the lost daily time of a commute, and my sweetie does, so this seems fair enough to me. Without the additional needs of pets, kids or a large home, it’s a lot easier, I know than for others. I’m also blessed with a small space without additional road or air pollution, a very tidy partner and lots of outside storage lockers.

If you hate housework, as many people do, here’s a friendly and helpful list to help you get organized.

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