Monday, 11 January 2016

Reclaiming My Son

Wow is this about to get very personal.

In my part of the world, it's actually quite common to hire household help for whom we provide room and board in exchange for their services in cooking, cleaning, and general household maintenance. The labour isn't exactly cheap and it wasn't until just two years ago that the government saw fit to mandate proper laws on the matter. Plus, depending on their pay scale, it is our burden to bear if they fall ill and require extra medical attention and other such unexpected expenses.

The worst part of it all is that it's not the easiest thing to find, reliable helpers.

The word itself. Helper. "Helper". In local parlance, katulong. They'r meant to take care of the household duties while the owner of the house goes out to work. This may or may not include caring for pets, children, even elderly parents or relatives. (Again, pay scale will depend on the expected regular duties but there is a minimum pay to be given.)

Apparently, this is, in all attempts at "political correctness", no longer an acceptable term. No longer are they to be known as katulong or helpers per se, but as kasambahay or people who live with us in our home. There is no longer a definition in their title as to what exactly the nature of their stay would be and I see that as part of the problem.

But what does this have to do with reclaiming my son? No, it's not some kind of dramatic "Oh my god, they almost took him from us" or anything of the sort. Believe me, I'd be writing this from jail if that kind of thing were to happen.

See, in the past year, prior to giving birth to our second child, we made the choice to leave our older child at home while we dealt with business matters. Mainly because he was at the age that it was nearly impossible for us to focus on work matters while handling him, plus we would typically have a car full of people during these business meetings. Basically, our son was non-essential to our dealings and we chose to leave him with people we thought we could trust to help us with his upbringing.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Listen people, and listen well. Do not regret the way I do that we had to leave him. We did not screen the nanny properly. We now have discipline issues we need to correct that involves the nanny's wrong use of such discipline techniques as countdowns and trade-offs. Also, we have no idea how severely she may have used force such as pinching or butt smacking.

Why do we not confront her? We have no evidence beyond what I can read in my son's now unruly behaviour and frankly, it does get difficult to tell at this age (3) and given how spirited he is. Plus we have other more private reasons that I choose not to discuss on a public blog.

So this is just me being a mom who is reminding herself and anyone else who may be in the same situation to choose and choose well. Sometimes we cannot help it. I understand that. But when that happens, we also need to be prepared and equipped to correct such behaviour.

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