Domestic Service: A Brief Description

Cleaning your home can be quite a task. While a college student or other low-income, or low requirement, individual may live in a small apartment with as few as two rooms, including a bathroom, many homes in suburban areas, where entire families often live together, can have three floors or more, and these can take quite a bit of effort to clean. Some people spend an entire day a week cleaning the whole house up and down, dusting, cleaning the insides of every window, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming the carpets, and mopping, among other tasks. And that doesn’t include all the everyday sweeping and other day-to-day chores that have to be done. There is, therefore, quite a lot of demand for maid service, especially in middle or upper-class households.

The term ‘maid’ technically refers to a female domestic worker, a profession which usually encompasses more than just cleaning, or modern colloquial maid service. In fact, the profession of domestic worker has quite a history. A domestic worker often lived in the home of their employer in a ‘room and board’ type of arrangement, meaning that accommodation and food were part of the worker’s pay. In many large homes, it was, and sometimes still is, common for many domestic workers to be employed at the same time. In these cases there was often a hierarchy among the workers. For example, the servants would be overseen by a butler and/or a housekeeper, several maids would do what is now normally known as maid service (cleaning the home), among other tasks, and a groundskeeper, a cook, and often a governess or nursemaid for the children might also work there. There was a strict code of conduct for servants in many places, and some countries drew up sets of laws dominating employer-servant relationships.

Nowadays, few modern Western homes can afford to hire one, let alone many live-in domestic workers. It is more usual for a family to hire a cleaner to come in once or twice a week to clean the house. But, in some countries where there are large income gaps between rural and urban areas, working as a live-in domestic worker is more common for workers, and more affordable for employers, so maid service is still very common. In the United States, a large percentage of domestic workers are immigrants, and most are female. And while many homes also employ a gardener, a window-washer, or someone who comes and mows the lawn once a week, these positions are not usually related, and there is not necessarily any particular hierarchy or interaction between workers in different areas at all.

There are several reasons one might hire a maid. Obviously, one possible reason is that people may simply not want to clean the house. If people have enough money to hire a cleaner and save themselves the trouble, it is often considered to be quite understandable. Many other households, however, contain two adults who work full-time, and may not have the time to clean the house. Others may contain elderly couples, or people with disabilities, who have trouble doing the kind of manual work that some cleaning can involve. In these cases, it can be quite beneficial to hire somebody for maid service.

On April 15th, 2012, posted in: Uncategorized by

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