Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nanny Diaries... Not

My mom was a stay-at-home mom. She graduated from a reputable university and is a licensed chemical engineer. She then became my dad's wife at twenty-four. Because she married an OFW seafarer, she had to stay at home with us and take care of us herself. She  had someone to help her, though, for I was practically raised by my Nanay - an elderly nanny who took care of me as if I was her own since I was a week old. She finally retired when I was in my mid-twenties.

Nanay cooked for us, cleaned the house, got me ready for school. My mom helped with school assignments, read to us, supervised everyone and oversaw everything and never missed a school event. Basically, we grew up with two mother figures in our home. My siblings and I never referred to Nanay as the help. She was family and we treated her like so. This is also how I treat the nannies and housekeepers I've had to hire myself now that I'm a grown-up and with a a little family of my own. Alas, nannies nowadays don't stay for years anymore. You'd be lucky if they'd stay with you for a couple of months. When they stay for years, well, count yourself blessed because that's extremely rare.

The Husband and I both have thriving corporate careers. We like the perks that come with working in an office - the health insurance, the benefits, the incentives, the environment. Our little girl comes first, yes, but because we work, we need help. Nannies have to enter our picture, whether we want to or not.

If I can honestly do everything myself, I will, but our schedules do not permit us to NOT have hired help. I'm glad and grateful that, after seven years of having nannies that come and go (one nanny stayed for almost three years and a lot would only stay for several months), I can say that I don't feel debilitated when I find myself without one.

I don't feel attached and I don't get nervous breakdowns when they decide not to be my employee anymore.  I've come to accept the fact that, no matter how well you treat them, they can always find a reason to leave if they want to. My little one has had amazing nannies and I've employed truly efficient house help. On the other hand, did we also have our share of horrific nannies? Yup. I've had ones who liked to complain, who secretly smoked and would then carry my then-baby girl, smelling awful - and to think my girl has asthma!, ones who watched Tagalog soap operas and forget the housework completely... I know that there are worse nannies out there. Yes, I've heard the horror stories, but is it too much to ask for a loyal, competent and honest nanny-slash-housekeeper?

Don't answer that.

At the end of the day, yes, working moms, we need to be do what needs to be done. With or without these nannies.

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