This is the playground in the compound where we live.
Each day the maintenance guys here clean up any mess, rake the sand and prepare it for the day’s use. I noticed today there are now a row of plastic chairs lined up along the fence. That’s great. I’m sure the chairs are a welcome addition.
However, looking at them also makes me feel somewhat sad.
Who sits in these chairs each night? Mothers of the children playing in the playground? Nope. They’re for the maids who sit here hour upon hour, watching the kids who are without their mothers (or fathers) at the playground.
But notice I used the word ‘watching’.
Where are the mothers? Why are they never with their children in the playground? Why is no-one interacting with the children, but only sitting and watching?
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with the maids having a place to sit. No doubt they have been up since 4 or 5am, washed the family’s car, fed everyone, did the laundry and the ironing, cleaned the house all day. Every day. Well, maybe they get some time each Friday to do what they like.
Our part-time housekeeper was with a family here for 14 years and so had become a part of their family. The family decided to move home a couple of years ago. I don’t know what it’s like for the kids she looked after all those years but I know she still misses them even now, about three years later. I admire our housekeeper. She is kind, works hard, cares for people, her family. I can tell she cared deeply for the children she looked after all those years.
Still, I think for kids, it’s not the same as having your mother and father with you at the playground, looking after you, feeding you, changing you, spending time with you.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel for kids who end up being raised by maids or nannies instead of their mothers (and fathers). What does it say to them about their value when their parents aren’t the ones doing all these things, but rather someone who’s being paid to do so? Who is teaching them their values, their own culture, their sense of family and sense of self?
This is not always the case. There are families here with maids that spend time with their children. But to me it doesn’t appear to be the norm and I wonder what it does not only to a family over time, but how it affects the whole society.
I totally agree and it breaks my heart. I feel sorry for the kids and the parents too. They don’t know what they’re missing. A LOT! Great post. Thanks for the honesty. Its hard to speak up about this here if you have our opinion. People are shocked we don’t have a live-in with 3 kids.
Thanks Wendi! Yes, we’ve often pondered having live-in help during our 10years living here and yet we thought it would be too easy to fall into the somewhat ‘absent parenting’ trap. Kids grow up fast enough and as they say, you never get that time back with them. Now that ours are teenagers they want more space … which is okay too. But I know deep in their hearts they are grateful for these kind of choices we made.
I’ve been at home with our kids when they were little and I have worked when they were somewhat older. So, people could argue that it’s no different than me working and being away from the kids. I think it is different here, though. The caregiving is not always up to what standards we might expect and there are huge differences in language, culture, values, forms of play, learning, etc. that would not be the same as my own family’s expectations. In that way particularly, I think it can be detrimental. But moreso like you said, it just breaks my heart to hardly see much of any family interaction.
By the way, love your blog. Love your pictures! I had to laugh reading it one day, as your husband’s new office is my old one – great views! Take care!
I like what you said, makes sense. Here too some families hardly spend time together, mostly b/c they are overscheduled.
we almost always have eaten supper together all these years and I am told that is rare. how sad!