UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Doing the dirty work…or not

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Doing the dirty work…or not

A friend came to our apartment the other day and said “Wow, your place is always so clean!”

I looked at her. “Well, I pay someone,” I said. “Duh.”

Until we moved to Abu Dhabi, I’d never had someone clean my house. I didn’t grow up with “help,” although I imagine my mother sometimes felt like the underpaid scullery maid.  I went to a friend’s house for a holiday weekend once, in college, and when we got there, her mother said that if I needed something ironed, I should just leave it out “for the girl”. I was confused: the only other woman in the house was a middle-aged African American woman.  I wore a wrinkled shirt to the party.

All of which is to say, until I hit forty-seven  recently, I was my own domestic help.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to re-hash The Help; instead I’m writing about how strange — and dangerously seductive — it is to live suddenly in a world where “help” – and lots of it – is readily available, even to people like me, who in the scheme of things don’t make that much money. (more…)

Mannahattamamma (UAE)

After twenty-plus years in Manhattan, Deborah Quinn and her family moved to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), where she spends a great deal of time driving her sons back and forth to soccer practice. She writes about travel, politics, feminism, education, and the absurdities of living in a place where temperatures regularly go above 110F.
Deborah can also be found on her blog, Mannahattamamma.

More Posts

Follow Me:

Saturday Sidebar: Following up on “The Help”

Mannahattamamma was struck by MamaMzunga’s post “The Help”.

“The help” can have different connotations in different parts of the world, so let’s hear about it!  This week we asked…

“What is your relationship to hired help?  Do you have any?  If so, what kind?  If not, why not?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Karyn Van Der Zwet of New Zealand writes:
“Most people in New Zealand do all of their own domestic chores. People with two incomes will sometimes have paid help come in to do the basics once a week, but this is not always the case. Full-time help or live-in help is rare and for the wealthy. It is my biggest ambition in life: to have a full-time cleaner!” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

More Posts