Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Here I Go Again

I thought I already had a pretty good picture of how lots of families in HK live. But after interviewing a few more helpers recently, I've gotten an even better inside view of their lives. I'd like to say it all sounds pretty messed up, but if its starting to be the norm around here, who am I to judge? Or shall I again?

One helper told me she pretty much lived with her employers' 2 daughters for the past 8 years, acting as their surrogate mother. The 3 of them lived in an apartment while the parents lived in a separate building nearby. The only time the parents come over is during dinner time. The helper is being let go because one of the daughter is going to Australia for college and the other one is old enough to take care of herself.

The other helper I interviewed said she took care of her employer's daughter since birth. Although her employers didn't allow her to sleep in the same room as their daughter, she wasn't allowed to go to bed herself until the daughter had fallen asleep. She had to do everything from changing the daughter into her pajama's, to brushing her teeth to getting into bed. All things a parent could easily do after getting home from work. The helper worked for her employers for 7 years and was suddenly terminated halfway through her final contract because the employers were getting jealous of how close the daughter was getting to the helper. I called the employer as well and she said they let the helper go because their daughter was beginning to get very disrespectful towards the helper. Either ways, it doesn't look good on the employers part.

And in addition to these helpers as a window into these families lives, I also heard something else from a close friend. She went to visit my ex-friend and informed me that whenever my ex-friend's fulltime helper goes on her day off, they have a part-timer who comes in to take over. Supposedly they needed the part-timer because ex-friend has to often work on Sundays. Sheesh, can't they survive for even one day without a helper? I pity their baby. Here I thought since they are parents now, they would realize where their priority lies and I guess we all know where it lies now!

I also met a lady a few months ago that came to my place since she drove a visiting friend over. That lady brought along her 2 year old and during our conversations, I asked her if they were planning on having a second child. Her answer was quick and abrupt. She said for goodness no since this first one was an accident. She didn't even want to have a child to begin with. As the evening went on, she was praising me for how well Boy Wonder behaved and everything I did, she told her helper to take note. Although she was full of praises, one statement she made showed her true feelings. I was reading boy wonder a book and after we were done, she said how wonderful my son loves to listen to stories. She then continued to say, too bad she doesn't have the patience for such low IQ activities.

I have nothing against women that want to persue a career. But I do have something against those who want a career and then decide to have a child then pass the child on to a helper to raise. It sucks, but if we want it all, we can't be lazy. What's wrong with brushing your child's teeth at night and then send them off to bed even if you're dead tired from a long day of work? Why work on Sundays? What is so earth shattering that it cannot wait till Monday to be taken care of? If even your husband is that busy to justify hiring a part-timer while your full-timer is away, then how did you even find the time to create a child? Is there really that little to say and share with your teenage children that you have to live in separate apartments? All these questions I would like to ask these parents. And deep down I really hope they have the answers that would shut me up.

1 comment:

ragamuffin girl said...

I've aways respected couples/women who never want to have kids. They're honest enough to admit they can't or don't want to be moms. What I don't understand is deciding to have a kid, then passing the respnsibility of raising that kid to someone else, someone not even remotely related to the child. And if the kid was an accident, then pass the kid on to someone who cares -- not a helper, but a childless couple with all that love to give. No wonder so many youths are screwed up. I'm not a perfect mom myself, and it is a constant challenge dealing with my child, but he is mine to love, to raise, to mother.