Social media was on a roll again in the recent past over yet another house help who decided to quench her thirst with a young one. It took courage to finish watching that clip. This was after another house help, mistreated and tortured an innocent child and almost killed the child after what I would call a bad temper run and an opportunity to vent… We all know how mad we got after that video… and then an older one in some kind of a shoddy bathroom where the characters looked like children – an unbelievable sick child game.
This reminded me of my ‘nice’ childhood with various sitters. Most house helps, nannies, baby sitter, Mboches, aunties etc are ladies (superior gender for this career) who are put in charge of the house and mostly children when their parents are not at home. The job description has been changing as the days go by. I know many people were like “How does one do this?” “How evil could this house help be…” and blah blah blah. This is just one scenario that came public. We all know of people, house helps have been doing this for ages. It is just that the digital age has come to the rescue. To expose them.
I haven’t had any drama with house helps. From experience (assumed) I know that if you treat a house help well, they will treat you well. It is probably the only thing about child – nanny relationship I know. Respect Observed. Not all baby sitters are in it for the direct financial benefit. I am trying to use the term sitter/ nanny to mean someone taking care of the child. This starts from the family itself. Like those few times I was left to watch my small sister, when I was younger. One time she really cried. I tried all the faces I could make, sung all the songs I could, made all the funny noises I could, took her to see the animals outside, aarrrghhh!!! This not working, I got mad, put her down on the couch and then watched her cry herself hoarse. Due to the relationship we had, I felt really bad, picked her up and outside again, somehow she stopped crying. Later she would be smiling like an angel and I would forget all that. Another time I almost cried myself. So at no point would the frustration of a crying sister get to me. A sitter would treat the situation differently depending.
The sitters you are related to. This could be a real aunt or a cousin, a niece. At one point we have stayed with relatives to check on their young ones. This can be either for the exposure, an ‘extended visit’ or a direct ‘come check on my child and I will do something for you’ kind of relationship. Ie, post form four, post college and yet to figure out life. This could be sponsorship to school, a business in the offing or even a permanent job as a nanny. This nanny is just as responsible as the sister/ brother ‘nanny’. However, it depends on the relationship. If the mother of the child mistreats the relative badly, there is a probability of venting on the child. If they are treated well the child will be treated well.
The other kind of a nanny which I think* is the most common is the referral nanny. Here is where you get a lady from upcountry who has been referred to you by a friend or a family member or a relative of a friend etc. As you have noted we are diluting the bond here. They come in all ages, sizes and character. Due to the referral bond and not wanting to disappoint anyone on the chain, and considering most of them come from backgrounds that need the money, they work out fine. Most of the time that is. The only problem with this lot is that once it gets to the ‘more informed’ world, those with cheap characters tend to change due to influence and the like. Again depending on how you treat them, they treat your child that way. Most of our childhood nannies were at this category. Majority were okay. Back then, the only issues were performance and efficiency related issues.
The last type is the agency sourced house help. This one I wouldn’t try.
Back to house helps behaving badly. Before the house helps took on children, there was this tendency of the men of the house jumping into bed with them (Still happens). Lust, wives neglecting essential duties and leaving it to the house helps… (& I mean, cooking for the husband 24/7, fixing baths, blah blah) I cannot be the referee to that. Someone built the idea of bringing in the ‘not so attractive’ house helps into the scene, so that hubbys don’t build fantasies with them. Now this is my theory. Starve these women and they will find a way. Imagine watching Mexican and Philippine telenovelas all day, then at night,the humphs & Mumphs from your bosses bedroom cannot let you sleep, and during your rare off days nobody wants to talk to you… I have heard women are amazing controllers of urges but poke a hole in that balloon and you cannot stop the nuclear cloud that erupts. Results… What you saw et al.
Scouts camps, handaki digs, truth and dares, doctor sessions among many other social and recreation gatherings since I was intelligent enough to understand these things have enlightened me a lot. I am not mentioning names, but a good number of men and boys lost their virginity to their nannies. In some rare occasions, their nannies lost their virginities to the boys under their care. This depends on how exposed one was. Well, at some point in life, every man thinks bed excursions are the epitome of manhood and that is why it was major to have something with the house help. Let me bring in some debatable point. The bonding that comes with serving someone and being with them most of the time. Feeding you, washing you, clothing you. Depending on how big/ small your mind is, and how self-controlled you are, will determine how one deals with these urges. My theory remember. So, when a man approaches a house help under his wife’s roof… smh. When a house help falls for that and under the roof of a married couple… nkt. When a house help develops feelings for the young one they attending… smh. When that same person decides to defile a child in such a manner… sick & disgusting. Do I have a solution? I don’t know. I haven’t tried my ideas out.
Everyone needs to be respected, adult to infant. I hope the house help you will be referred to, will treat your family well. The greatest fear parents have; The child’s safety. You never know, but depending on how you treat them, you might have a clue.