Some people think we are robots
a 36-year-old from rural Jiangsu province, who works in Shanghai as a domestic maternity nurse
From an employee’s point of view, there are many times when we feel the families we work for don’t give us due respect. Sometimes I feel they expect me to be a nonstop robot, rather than a maternity nurse.
Our work contract clearly details our duties, such as taking care of the mother and baby, and employers are aware that it’s not our job to clean the house and cook meals for the whole family. Despite that, we often encounter unreasonable employers who insist that we cook meals for a family of five or six.
If I had enough free time, I would be happy to do it. But usually I have a very tight schedule as I have to take care of the mother (Chinese women traditionally spend up to a month in bed after giving birth) cook three meals a day, prepare snacks for the mother and care for the baby, who doesn’t follow work and rest rules day and night.
If they treated me nicely, I wouldn’t mind doing the work, but very often they don’t appreciate that I’m doing extra jobs for them. Their attitude is that they are paying a high price for a maternity nurse so they cannot afford to miss any opportunity to ask me to do more. They want me to work around the clock.
In most cases, I do not complain to the agency. If I did that and stopped working, the agency would have to send a replacement to the employer immediately, which could create an uneasy situation.
More important, I would lose my job and have to wait at home until I was employed by another family. Also, the agent would believe that I am unable to endure hardship and would give me fewer opportunities for interviews.
I cherish every employer who is reasonable and nice. If they respect me, I perform my duties to the best of my ability, and take the initiative to help with household chores as much as possible.
Yu Xuan spoke with Zhou Wenting.