Today at most homes the wife also works besides the husband due to various reasons. But when a child comes into their life, it becomes difficult for the woman of the house to take care of her career with the presence of the child. This is where the quintessential child caretaker or the baby sitter steps in. But this ground needs to be carefully tread, as mention the two women who were asked regarding this aspect of life.
Sometime back a working mother in Bangalore found that when she returned home in the evening from office her infant used to be frightened of even her touch. She decided that something happened during the day that made her child so frightful. Thus started her sting operation of her child’s caretaker. She left a hidden CC TV camera in the bedroom, where the child usually would be. When she returned home that evening and checked out the footage in it, to her horror she found that her child was being abused by the caretaker! The baby used to get frequently beaten up and not given food properly.
Given this scenario, we spoke to two ladies having helps for their children. Parul Budhkar, Delhi is currently a freelance journalist, while Nidhi Ramachandran, Mumbai is the co-founder of a technology company.
Initially Parul hired this caretaker around 7 years ago for cooking, since she was working full time with IBN 7 news channel. 3 and half years back she decided to let go of her job.
Why? Both realized the importance of caretaker early and also knew the risks involved. Parul says, “After having a son in 2008, my mother started staying with me for a few months. But it was very difficult for her to manage everything. So I hired a caretaker (from morning to evening), though I already had one but not for my son. But I had to increase her responsibilities to take care of my kid also as my mother is a heart patient. When my son was one year old and Mummy had gone back to her place, my son became fully dependent on the caretaker.”
Nidhi on the other hand says, “Children are meant to be brought up by villages. Since I live in a nuclear family it was important for me to be financially and socially independent. This is not possible without a great help for your children.”
Experience: Both have had diverse experiences with caretakers. Parul reminisces, “Well… There were lot of apprehensions regarding a caretaker. Earlier my brother-in-law, his wife and their 8 month daughter were also staying with us. For their daughter we hired 2-3 maids and had mixed experiences. But thankfully my personal experience is good so far. My five and half year old son and 15 month old daughter are very much attached to the maid emotionally. And she is also very caring for them. That’s why even after I left my job, she is still with me.”
While Nidhi says, “I have a fantastic support system of help/caregivers/nannies but it wasn’t so easy when I first started looking for help. The help I found was either too bossy with me, too friendly with other helps in the neighbourhood, too lazy or just not interested in the kids. I now have a caregiver, who my children treat as part of the family (she is usually a part of all ‘my family’ drawings by them).”
Trustworthy? Having a child caretaker is all about trust. Sometimes and particularly in these situations it takes time to trust someone. Parul recalls, “The most important thing is a child only understands love. If a child is not comfortable with anyone he/she will never want to be with that person. My son used to enjoy the maid’s company a lot. He always prefers to stay with her even when I am at home. Whenever I used to scold the maid, my son would start fighting with me. He was just a year old then. Now he is five and half year old but still loves to spend time with my maid. And now my 15 months old daughter also crazy about her!!! When the maid is at home she always ignores me!!! So I don’t have any reason not to trust this maid.”
Nidhi recollects, “I was home for several months to watch how this person was with my children. I also would leave the house for short periods and turn up unannounced to check on her. My mother was also a great help in establishing trust.”
This article was first published in Eve’s Times and has been republished here with the permission of the editor, Swati Amar.