September 4, 2004


New domestics make light work of modern lives (FRANK O’DONNELL AND ROSIE MCINTOSH, 9/04/04, The Scotsman)

IT IS 5am and the muffled ringing of a mobile phone rouses Debbie Dubickas from her sleep.

With a six-month-old son, Blu, sleeping in the same room, keeping the phone underneath her pillow is the best way of managing the demands of motherhood with that of her 24/7 work life.

"It was a nursing agency calling me to say that a member of their staff had let them down and could I send someone out to cover for them," she explains later. "Some days we get about 20 calls like this, asking us to fill staff shortages."

The mother-of-five works a 72-hour week managing three businesses and is in the process of setting up a fourth. But she accepts that she cannot balance her work and family life without the help of a small army of staff, including dog-walker, nanny, cleaner and handyman.

But Mrs Dubickas’s reliance on hired help is no longer unusual.

Can't create a demand for low-skilled immigrant workers and then complain about the growth of low-skilled jobs and immigration.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 4, 2004 8:53 AM

U.S. Democrats can and do; it's their mantra on job growth. Hear it at every dinner party.

They also complain about the quality of service these days.

Posted by: genecis at September 4, 2004 11:30 AM

Republicans always worry about 'the servant problem'

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 4, 2004 2:43 PM

Shut it, Harry.

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 4, 2004 2:55 PM

Why? Harry's right.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 4, 2004 6:21 PM


I know you think Democrats are virgins, but no one's more anti-immigrant than blacks and Labor--two key Democratic constituencies. Everyone hates immigrants.

Posted by: oj at September 4, 2004 6:26 PM


On anecdotal evidence alone, the servants at the White House have been treated abysmally by four recent Democratic Presidents (Clinton, Carter, LBJ, and yes, FDR). On the other hand, Reagan, and both Bushes are highly thought of and respected. You might want to revise your comment.

P.S. - I have no knowledge about Nixon and JFK, although I would suspect they treated the help pretty poorly. Ike (I think) did OK, but Mamie was supposedly bad. And from all the stories about how Kerry has lorded over the common folk in MA, we know where he stands ("that SOB made me fall").

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 4, 2004 10:12 PM

I have never understood the need to treat the hired help poorly. You sign the checks, you have all the power in the relationship. What does treating them like crap prove? However, I must say that I see no need for most of us to have servants and that when you need strangers to clean your clothes, cook your food and care for your children and pets that you should reorganize your priorities.

A woman who works 3 jobs and 72 hours, is looking to increase her workload, and has 'a small army of staff' should never have had children or pets. The cost of the lack of parental attention is something we all will have to pay for. In Manhattan, you can see the impact of this yuppie-on-roids lifestyle. Club kids. Wastrels. Major drug problems at every elite private day school. Lesbianism and homosexuality. The 'parents' have the attitude,'We pay you $30000 a year to deal with these problems so you deal with it. We have a cocktail party with Tina Brown to go to.' One of my cousins, who is married to a prominent gynecologist and was herself the classic 60s hippie chick, went into Jewish Orthodoxy(her parents were Reform) in reaction to seeing what her kids were being exposed to at Collegiate, Brearley and Dalton.

Posted by: Bart at September 5, 2004 6:41 AM

jim, I offer no opinion about which group (defined by party) treats its servants better. I just said Republicans always complain about 'the servant problem'

And that's a fact and has been since the party was founded in 1854

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 5, 2004 6:05 PM


A lack of parental attention causes lesbianism ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 6, 2004 4:32 AM

At Brearley, the most academically demanding girls' private day school in NYC, heterosexual girls are made to feel uncomfortable by their carpet-munching fellow students, administrators, and faculty. There are plenty of posters along the line of 'A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.'

Parental attention ends that environment real quick.

Also, when children don't get the attention they legitimately crave, they look for it elsewhere. Sometimes, in all the wrong places.

Posted by: Bart at September 6, 2004 7:16 AM