The Other Woman.
Is it realistic to be a stay-at-home mom in this wonderful but over-priced country of ours? I don’t think so. Few ‘normal’ women have the luxury of being supported by a patriarchal (or matriarchal) provider. Most of us have to contribute to the bringing home of bacon in some way. No, this is not a rant about having to juggle work, social, love and baby. We all know it’s a challenge and I’m sure deep down we all resent those who make it look effortless. This is in fact a reflection on ‘the other woman’ in my children’s lives.
After the first three crucial and chaotic months at home with baby or in my case babies, Reality once again comes crashing through the door, screaming and shouting so that it cannot be ignored. Maternity leave and pay are abysmal so it’s time to get back to the working world. Your job is still there. That’s one thing at least. But who is going to look after the bambinos now that you’re down the salt mines again? Some are fortunate enough to have grandparents who jump at the idea and who will give up their identities as people to become caretakers of infants. For others, enter the nanny.
I was lucky enough to have a nanny recommended by a family member. A number of my friends have struggled to find someone to look after their most precious possessions. And that’s what it all comes down to. Who do you trust to take care of, nurture and stimulate your kids so that they become the wonderful, talented, exceptional human beings that your children are bound to be?
The beginning was hard. I’m a control freak at the best of times so you can imagine how hard it’s been to relinquish control to someone. I still can’t think about it too much without going a little stir-fry crazy! What if they fall over or eat something bad or get a finger stuck in the door or choke on a piece of fruit. No, no, no…can’t think about it. But here you are again Reality. Poking your big ugly head around the corner to remind me that I have to work or else we won’t be able to feed, house and educate the precious progeny. Leave the kids at home and go!
Nine months down the line and I have to say that we’ve been very lucky to have Thembi. She has become such a major part of our lives. The boys adore her and they really light up when she arrives in the morning. She may have some quirky ideas about childrearing, like sticking a piece of newspaper on a forehead for hiccups, but she’s solid. She has diligently worked with them every day to learn how to sit, then crawl and then walk. She teaches them words in English and Xhosa. She reads to them and takes them out every day. But most importantly she adores the boys and showers them with love and attention. And she firmly believes that they’re the easiest, prettiest and cleverest kids on the block. What child would not thrive with such admiration? Without her juggling work, social, love and baby would be impossible. She’s the other woman who makes up the holy trinity of this family and like each of us she’s invaluable!