Issues  

Coping with nannies and househelps

househelpThe tales of what working Mums go through with the “necessary evils” called Nannies or if you want, domestic helps are all too familiar so I would not even bother going into details of their shenanigans…no need relieving the bitter experiences with them! The things they do leaves you gob smacked and perhaps wonder if they have an ‘association’ of some sort with certain constitutional policies defining their behavioral pattern as they all seem to kind of act alike!

Just when you think you have heard the worst ever yet another melancholic nanny tale shatters your eardrums and make you swear never to engage one or set a timeline to when you will say, “I AM SO SO DONE WITH HELPS!” It is unfortunate how vulnerable we have become to these girls and they take advantage of our situation and perpetuate all kinds of evil because we really cannot do without them. Yes…most Mothers can survive without a Father in the home…but not without a Nanny! This is not to say there aren’t a few humane ones. However a good number of them leave much to be desired. Since we really cannot get rid of them or institute any character transformation programme as that could be an effort in futility, the best we can do is devise ways to handle or manage them just the way they are! Find below a few tips to help you deal with these domestic helps.

DON’T EXPECT ANYTHING FROM THEM – After dealing with several of them, one sure thing I know they all have in common regardless of age, education and supposed experience is that very few of them ever use their initiative! You still have to tell them most of the things you would expect they know they ought to do! It took me several years to come to terms with this so I was always agitated with these folks and had a really high turnover of domestic helps. But one day I sat down and did some comparative analysis with the so called graduates I employ in my business who still need to “spoon-fed”…even after several months in employment, they still lacked initiative…and were seldom proactive. So I re-evaluated the domestic staff that is not even laying claim to any fancy education and decided to cut them some slacks. And it has helped me manage them better! And there is a constant reminder from my husband that has help me stay sane in my expeditions with them….”If they knew any better…they won’t be working for you!”

NEVER GET TOO FAMILIAR – Be nice to them but never over step the boundaries of professionalism! I have tried the “we are family” ideologies with them but it seldom works. They just don’t get it! They know they are not your family and they aren’t even striving to be one! They can’t and won’t be your friend, so don’t try to make them your gist or gossip partners. They are not interested in acquiring inter personal or relational skills. They are only interested in grabbing what they can from you and moving to the next available home till they quit their career. So skillfully draw the lines of familiarity before it breeds contempt!

DON’T OVER INDULGE THEM – Some of us make them feel indispensable…we make them feel like without them our world will fall apart. Even if you feel that way, please you don’t need to let them know by over indulging them…giving them what is not necessary or exposing them to unnecessary luxuries. This is what leads them to desiring the ones you don’t give resulting in stealing. I am not saying don’t be generous…I am only saying be cautious how you display your generosity. I once had this very nice Nanny who I made a point of duty to shop for anytime I was out of the country. One particular short trip I couldn’t shop for her or anyone at that, upon my return, I got a terrible attitude from her for days. She had apparently seen all I was giving her as an entitlement rather than a token of my appreciation.

DON’T HARBOR MORE THAN YOU REALLY NEED – There is no need keeping too many of them at home. Just the right number you need and assign them specific task. When you have too many of them…they form a colony of laggards and laze around…each person expecting the other to do the job and the job never gets done!

AVOID HAVING THEM ALL FROM THE SAME TRIBE – If you have to hire more than one domestic staff, try as much as you can not to have them all from one tribe to avoid the “parapo” syndrome! Their loyalty would be to one another rather than to you…I mean, this even happens when they are all from different tribes let alone when they are from same!

INVEST IN CAMERAS – Make the sacrifice to do this. Once they know you have a “third eye” even when you are away from home, it keeps them on their toes. It also helps you know what goes on behind your back! Once I saw via my cameras my nanny taking water from the toilet to fill my baby’s sterilizing bucket!

DON’T REVEAL UNNECESSARY INFORMATION – Don’t give your domestic staff information they do not need. Avoid making certain calls or having certain discussions in their presence. They sometimes take it out to the wrong people. These are factors that aid kidnap and robbery.
NEVER OWE THEM – Try as much as you can never to owe them. Pay their salaries as at when due to avoid insults, “see-finish” and certain misbehavior.
AVOID CERTAIN TYPES – You are better off avoiding the loud and talkative type, those whose phones ring constantly like a call center, those in the ministry of watching TV, twerking and wearing tight fitted and seductive clothes, those with excessive make up, those who are very nosy, busy-bodies and inquisitive.

HIRE THROUGH AGENCIES – If you are a very busy Mother…working long hours and probably traveling often, kindly invest in trained, experienced and matured nannies from agencies. This is particularly for the security of your home so that in an event of an eventuality you can trace them through the agency. Many women complain these ones are more expensive and prefer to take little girls across the border and pay stipends. But tell you what? No price is too high to pay for the security and safety of your kids and home. Remember, we spend a lot more on Human Hair, Aso-Ebi, Make-Up and other frivolities monthly. We can make the sacrifice of relinquishing some of these monies to hiring a more capable hand for the well being of our children and to relieve us the stress of dealing with a complete greenhorn whose idiosyncrasies are capable of giving one High Blood Pressure!

I sincerely hope these few tips of mine with God’s grace will help you cope better with domestic helps and maintain your sanity!

Mercy MakindeMercy Makinde is a speaker, writer, coach and entrepreneurship advocate. She owns an online radio Station, Iaspire Radio, Nigeria’s first motivational radio Station; www.iaspireradio.com and a motivational and inspirational blog;www.iaspireblog.com.



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