Feeling awkward around "the help"? You're not alone.

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By Teri Karush Rogers  |
May 2, 2011 - 1:43PM

Upstairs/downstairs angst is fueling a discussion on in which most commenters say they're uncomfortable hanging around their apartments while their housekeepers clean.  And it's not the dust or the noise.

"I absolutely HATE having help in the house (cleaning lady, baby-sitter, etc) I feel tense and like I am holding my breath until they leave," says one woman. "I am a [stay at home mom] and live in a moderate size apartment, maybe space is the issue? I don't know anyone else that feels this way, everyone seems to like having help. Maybe because I never grew up with hired help in my home?"

She's most definitely not alone: Most commenters said that when the cleaning lady arrives, they go.  Many confessed to feeling awkward around their babysitters or nannies too.

  • "[I]f you didn't grow up with hired help around the house, I think it's totally natural to find it awkward. When it comes to domestic workers, there are so many grey areas. It's a job but at the same time, they're supposed to feel 'at home,' you're their boss but you're also supposed to treat them like part of the family. Very complicated, really."
  • "I get so uncomfortable. I feel like I need to entertain my cleaning lady - like chat her up, and it drives me nuts. With the sitter I have once a week I only see her when she gets there and when I get back from my errands but I feel like she is judging how I am with DB. which she is not. Its just how I feel, I get really self conscious."
  • "It's awkward, I really like my housekeeper but I don't want to be in the same room with her while she's cleaning. I feel like i should get up and help or something." 
  • "I think I'm just a really private person and need my personal space. I also don't trust the [housekeepers] enough to leave them alone so it's just super awkward."


Teri Rogers Headshot - Floral

Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

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