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Two years ago, there was a story that broke about a woman who had her three boys kidnapped by her hired help. The story that made the news was that she had seen an advert placement on OLX for hired help, she called the number, met up with the person over the weekend and she was impressed with her. That informed her decision to leave her with her kids because she had to resume work on Monday. I don’t know the particular day of the week the kids were kidnapped, but it wasn’t too long, as a matter of fact, I think it was just days after. I don’t think there was anyone who heard that story that didn’t feel the pain. For me, even though it was a very tragic story, it became more real when I discovered that this woman was my colleague, who worked in another branch of the bank I worked at that time. I really cannot explain how I felt. I was pregnant at that time and could not imagine someone going away with my baby, not even one but three. Thank God for security officials, the story ended well. The kids were found and Lagos state government stepped in to make sure that the kids recovered fully. Following their being found, I started hearing people, both men and women, proposing all sorts of opinions that could help prevent such things from happening. Things like “She should just sit down at home and focus on her family”, or “She should just enroll her children in an after-school or daycare till she closes from work”. There were others like she should bring her mother/mother in-law/sibling to stay with her kids. These things may have been said in good intentions but I don’t think that really settles the issue. Let me start from she sitting at home. What if she was a single/widowed mother? Would sitting at home still be appropriate? What if her income was the sole income for the family or made up a greater percentage? What if she was the CEO of her company and was employing about 100 people? What if she knew she had to work because she had suffered before or seen people suffer and didn’t want that experience for her or the kids? To the second point on enrolling the children in daycare/after school activities. If it was one child, it would have made some sense financially, but four kids? That might end up taking up her whole salary and some soft loan. What about the effect it would have on kids to leave home by 5:30-6:00am in the morning and not get back until 8pm? What if she didn’t have any family member to help her out? People have their lives to live and not everybody thrives well around kids. Having said all these, the truth is, having a maid may still be one of the cheapest options for a woman who wants to keep her home and maintain that work-life balance. So for a woman like the one I referenced in the story above, who wants to still try to keep everything together at home while still working, but is traumatized by what has happened in the past, I’ll share a few suggestions that can be of help. Maybe you have not being a direct victim, but you have people all around you that have had bad maid experiences and that has caused fear to creep into your heart, you will benefit from these suggestions to. 1. GIVE YOURSELF TIME If you need to cry, by all means cry. If you need to stay in bed all day sulking, please do. If the bad experience involved your kids and you will feel better by sleeping in their room for the next one week or them in yours, so you can have your eyes on them all through the day and night, please go ahead. I always say, there is no superwoman/mother award anywhere. If anything goes wrong again, those people who you are trying so hard to please will be the first ones to throw stones at you. There is no point showing up to work after two days thinking you have everything under control. Take your annual leave and spend time by yourself to think things through. Give yourself time to recover. 2. ANALYSE THE SITUATION Take your mind on a journey to how everything started. How you hired, who you hired from? Could you have been more careful? Were there additional documents you could have asked for; something as simple as a passport photograph, guarantor or BVN number? Did you miss some signs? We usually start to see that there were signals after the deed has been done. Could you have kept your monies or expensive jewellery in a more secure place? Could you have asked neighbors to be on the lookout for you? Could you have given your kids specific instructions on boundaries or how to raise an alarm? Maybe you should have been doing medical test every 6 months instead of assuming everything was fine. There are so many questions you should ask yourself during this period. 3. TAKE YOUR SHARE OF THE BLAME BUT LET IT SPUR YOU TO DO BETTER Many times, when we have these experiences, we start to feel very guilty. The feeling of guilt is bad. Channel that guilt into something profitable. Start to think of ways to do better the next time you are going to hire. You may decide to go for a more reputable maid agency; which may cost you more but will put your mind at rest. Guilt can make you take irrational decisions. You start to think of resigning or home schooling your kids which may not be beneficial for you or the kids. Get your emotions out of the way. 4. SPREAD YOUR OPTIONS Getting a live-in maid may be a cheaper and readily available option, but if you look more closely, you may find out you are surrounded by others. Have you considered getting a live-out maid? Someone who comes in like 3-4 days a week? Have you considered that your kids stay over in a family friend’s house till you get back; at least they are in a home environment. Have you talked to one of your neighbors who hasn’t gotten a job yet to help out? If you have older kids, who are in their pre-teen years, is it possible you start to teach them how they can be at home by themselves and not open the door to visitors, until they have called you and gotten a confirmation? These are just a few options. I know you can come up with quite a few others if you give it enough attention. If you have been a victim of a maid tragedy, I’ll say to you that “This too shall pass”. Don’t let that experience stop you from getting the help you need. Housekeeping is not easy at all, and there are still so many sides of you that you have to bless the world with. Getting help is necessary. Lastly, we many times hear that “Nigerian maids are bad” or “Maids are necessary evils”. But why is it that many of these tragedies do not happen in developed countries? It is because controls have been put in place. We all have our parts to play. We have to make sure we have and are fully played/playing ours, so that we stifle the bad maids out of the system. If you need to consult with me on your experience and how to move on, you can reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org About Writer Oreoluwa Sonola is a self described Maid Whisperer. She runs MAIDforME, an outfit where she creates resources that provide solutions to the everyday issues maid employers face. Her resources are also guaranteed to improve employer-maid relationships and train maids till they are transformed and they thrive. Her resources can be found on her website www.maidformee.com and on Instagram and twitter @maidformee. She can be reached by email on email@example.com
Everyday, we are faced with decisions of whether or not to hire a maid or whether or not we even need them in the first place. But love them or hate them, maids may have become a necessity for every home. It is becoming increasingly evident that whether now or in the future, especially if you are thinking of being productive, there will come a time when you have to hire a maid. I many times try to avoid the argument that says it is because our generation have become lazy or overly ambitious, or that we as women have neglected caring for the home to pursue other things, that is why we settle for maids, because I may not agree with that thought pattern. Even ancient history bears witness to the fact that the concept of maids/maidens didn’t start today. Women were given maids when they got married to escort them to their homes and assist them.They weren’t even given just one, but sometimes, two or more. Most of these women were housewives, yet they had maids. I see getting help as a necessary part of life whether on the home front, at work or in business. That is why CEOs have personal assistants; because besides not being able to do everything by yourself, you limit your potential to be fruitful, make progress or move forward without delegating some tasks. Having said that, It will also be fair to mention that not every phase of one’s life may require having a maid. Wisdom is knowing when the time is appropriate. But after you have decided hiring is necessary, you are most likely going to be faced with two options; To get a live-in maid or get a live-out maid. LIVE-IN MAID For those who may not be familiar with the term, a live-in maid means a maid who will be living in your house. As would be expected, along with the maid’s accommodation, the employer will be responsible for feeding, medicals, security and sometimes, other personal needs like clothing and education and so on. If an employer is considering proximity, having someone readily available, someone who they can monitor and someone who can bond with their kids or travel with, a live-in maid would be their best option. The major advantage of having a live-in maid is you are sure of constant availability, even though there should be working time frames agreed upon in your contract. But the risk of your maid not showing up on the morning you may need her the most is low. For training, they are also easier to train as they as constantly aware of what their employers expect from them. Hiring a live-in maid is common in this part of the world, and even though they have their advantages, employers need to be adequately prepared to take on such a responsibility. There is the financial responsibility; have you counted the cost of having an adult coming to leave with you; increase in the amount of food cooked, school fees (if you are going to send her to school), medical services if she falls ill, clothes, salary which must not be delayed?. Have you made provision for where she will be sleeping, having her bath and a private place where she can change her clothes? These are just some out of the many things to consider. There are also environmental factors such as relationship with the neighbors and other domestic staff in your home and so on. I have also written on how to prepare the kids for the new maid which is very important. One word that characterizes having a live-in maid is PREDICTABILITY. LIVE-OUT A live-out maid as you may have rightly guessed is someone who has been hired to come in from her home to do housekeeping and all it entails. This person either comes in everyday or every other day depending on the agreement. Families have started considering this option because for them, it lowers the risk of having a maid with the wrong intention living with them and getting familiar with everything that goes on in their homes. The advantage of having a live-out maid is affordability. This option is cheaper because you have no obligation whatsoever to feed, provide medicals and educate. They are also easier to hire and readily available. However some cons to consider are Security: you don’t know where your maid is coming from or returning to. You are also not sure who she is pointing to your home or what she brings into your home everyday. It is almost impossible to search her every time she comes in. Health is also something to consider.While a live-in maid can be monitored in her feeding and who she interacts with, it is not the same with a live-out maid; sexual relationships, the environment where she lives and so on. Ease of Theft: If a live-out maid decides to steal, it will be easy to conceal it and hard to recover on your part because she has the opportunity to take it out. To be proud of whatever choice you decide to go with eventually, consider which kind of maid will fit into the housekeeping gap you have presently. For instance, if you run a business and maybe work from home or you are a stay-at-home-mom, you may not need a live-in since you have the opportunity of staying at home with your kids. All you may need is someone who comes to clean and keep the kids company during the day, while you work. For working/career women, you may consider a live-in since you need someone who can also be available to assist when you come back home tired. It is not advisable to hire just because every other person is going with the option. For someone, maybe you do not need to do away with the idea of having a maid entirely, you may just need to change your maid type. Hope this guides you in your decision making. Please drop a comment to let me know what you think. Love, Your Maid Whisperer. Curated from maidformee.com About Writer: Oreoluwa Sonola is a self described Maid Whisperer. She runs MAIDforME, an outfit where she creates resources that provide solutions to the everyday issues maid employers face. Her resources are also guaranteed to improve employer-maid relationships and train maids till they are transformed and they thrive. Her resources can be found on her website www.maidformee.com and on Instagram and twitter @maidformee. She can be reached by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
By Modupe Awe Life is a journey. We begin this journey the moment we are born. We are not at liberty to choose our family neither can we decide the day and time of our birth. We do not get to pick what religion we want to be born into, neither can we choose the socio-economic class we prefer. As babies, we rely solely on our parents / guardians to take care of us and attend to our needs. We can do nothing when it comes to fending for ourselves. As we grow older, we begin to take on more responsibility for ourselves and those around us. Sometimes we get to choose who and what require our time and energy. There are a few times when we aren’t granted that luxury. There is a special group of people who fall into this category, we call them Mothers. Growing up, my mom was who I looked up to for everything. I saw her as my shield, my provider; ‘MOM’ meant all I couldn’t do for myself will be done by her. She probably had a choice whether or not to take care of me, she just did regardless. I recall when I was in Uni, she would stop by and surprise me at school. Those moments were special. One incidence that proved how much of a mommy’s girl I was am, was the day I had to travel to Abia State, Nigeria for Orientation (NYSC). I practically cried, not being able to phantom I was going away possibly for one year in a foreign state (thank God I was redeployed!). The months leading up to my wedding got me thinking hard. How was I going to leave my mom? Who was going to take care of me and vice versa? Who was I going to gist with? How was I going to sleep without her by my side? (I did sleep on her bed till the night before my wedding BTW). Thankfully I had my baby nine months after, which meant she had to come live with us for a while! After all, her baby had just had a baby! I recall how much she did for me during this period. Even though she couldn’t stop me from falling into Post-Partum Psychosis, I cannot imagine how I would have coped without her. She assumed her role as a mother and grand-mother and did/ still does so to the best of her abilities. This has made me realize that the work of a mom never ends (at least not until death). A mom is a superhero – I know this because mine is. Just as we do not get to choose our families, mothers do not get to choose their children but they love in spite of and their love keeps us going. This is dedicated to all Mothers and Mothers-to-be. We appreciate and love you! You are so special, awarded with the hardest task of all – raising a generation. Happy Mother’s Day!!! May your days be filled with Joy, Love and Peace. About Writer: Modupe Awe is a Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Writer, Blogger, Adwoman, Social Media Manager, basically a bag of talents. She finds joy in building her home and working in the Ad industry in Nigeria. She blogs at www.chronologiebymo.com Find her on Instagram - @chronologiebymo where she posts quotes that inspire and motivate. Three Generations! My mom, my baby and I
By Modupe Awe Motherhood has taught me a lot. I have learned to love, learned to share, learned to care, learned to sacrifice, learned to cry, learned to forgive. I recall the months leading up to the delivery of my daughter, I pondered on what kind of mom I’d be. The permissive type? The strict type? So many of my friends had always told me about how strict of a mom I’d be. This kind of got into my head as I took pride in values and culture. So I hoped in the Lord that he’ll show me the way. I thought of my husband, thankfully he compliments me. Surely he will be the softer side of me in this journey. Reality hit the first few hours I spent with my little one. All the strictness in me melted. My baby was over 4kg and look every inch adorable. In the blood and pain I was left to tend to her even in the early hours of her stay on earth. I admit, it was not love at first sight. The love I feel grew deeper by the minute. Now I find myself being the permissive type, throwing all my guards away for my 2nd true love. Allowing my husband take the strict role seemed like the best thing to do. She has captivated my heart so badly that I find myself doing the opposite of what I’ll usually do. Now she’s 2+ and ever so active. I already find myself praying for her husband. How quirky is that? I never imagined how sprung I’d be on her. Looking for a suitable preschool for September has been a spiritual warfare. Never have I been so finicky, trying to ensure I get something right. One thing I can state plainly that I do understand is I can never do this without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thinking back to the days when she was tiny and had a flu, who gave me the courage to handle her? Deciding to drop her off at the crèche when she was barely four months, who gave me the strength? As much love as I feel for this child of mine, I have come to realize that God loves her even more. He has designed her path for the best and I, the vessel unto honor to help her get to her destination. Here is to all the mothers and mothers to be out there, you are not alone. No one knows how it feels unless they walk in your shoes. No one understands unless they’ve been there. We can only try to be each other’s cheer leaders! Cheers! About the Writer Modupe Awe is a Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Writer, Blogger, Adwoman, Social Media Manager, basically a bag of talents. She finds joy in building her home and working in the Ad industry in Nigeria. She blogs at www.chronologiebymo.wordpress.com Find her on Instagram - @chronologiebymo where she posts quotes that inspire and motivate.
Most mums would happily work part time if it was possible. Since our employment laws have yet to evolve, mums in Nigeria have to choose between working and staying at home. The debate of working mums vs stay at home mums cannot be exhaustively discussed in one blog post. This post is about why mums chose to work. Things have long changed from the way they were decades ago. Many of us do not have families living close to us to help us with childcare like it was in the good old days. These arguments surface whenever there is news about an unfortunate family whose nanny absconded with the children (kidnap for ransom). You find people asking questions such as “why can’t women just stay home and raise their children instead of chasing careers?”, “your career and your children which is more important?” on social media. The school of thought that mums should raise their children themselves and not leave their child/children in a nursey or with a nanny while they dance off to God knows where along with the guilting of working mothers is really absurd. Argument in favour of mums returning to work after maternity leave or mums finding work after having their baby; 1. Returning to work will ensure you keep your job and career. You will be unemployable if you have been absent from the employment scene from the time your first child was born to the time your last child sets off to boarding school. Some people would argue that you can “start business” failing to consider that not everyone is wired for entrepreneurship. 2. Returning to work means that if your husband is no longer able to provide for you for any reason (ill health, loss of business, redundancy, divorce or death) you and your children will not be homeless. 3. Single mothers have to work because they are the sole providers for themselves and their children. 4. By working you will be contributing to your family’s finances. Two sources of income in the present economy will ease a lot of financial strains. 5. When your kids are grown you then have all the years of experience to soar in your career. You will not be beginning a graduate entry role job which is the level you will likely be starting at if you are lucky enough to get a job. 6. Working means that your brain gets a break from nappies and children. You get to interact with other adults. Your children will benefit from a well-rounded mother and husband will benefit from a well-rounded wife. This is not criticizing stay at home mums. Maybe your family is wealthy and you have chosen to stay at home to raise your kids or maybe you’re just from an average family but still put your career on hold to raise your kids, it’s alright. It is your choice. You made the best decision for your family as every family is different. Just as a working mom made the best decision for her family and decided to keep working. To be honest most women would rather stay at home to raise their kids, but the financial risk is too great. It is really hard juggling work and children so working moms need all the encouragement they can get. The secret to a successful, sane working mum is fantastic childcare. Weather you choose to go with a professonal nanny or a nursery/crèche that offers wrap around care.
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