I am setting off to Hajj tomorrow and am excited, nervous and grateful beyond belief to have the opportunity to perform this pilgrimage for the first time. So I will not be updating my site for the next week.
Before I go, a reader of my blog gave me a great subject to write about when he eloquently left a few comments after some of my entries. His entries were so beautifully written that I had to trash two of them because the level of maturity in them would have been too much for this site. (one of the entries consisted of two words… oink oink… I’ll let you readers find out which one of them it was lol).
Anyway, needless to say, I am being sarcastic. This reader suggested that because I and all other Saudi mothers (according to him) have help in our homes we are not good mothers anymore. He also went on to say that we should go back to the way our grandparents were and actually care for our children ourselves instead of letting the maids, nannies and drivers do the parenting for us. And that if we were to suddenly disappeared, the millions of little Saudi children would be none the wiser because we do not actually play any role in their lives.
I started thinking of his points and decided to discuss them here and ask you mothers out there who read my blog to please join and tell me your thoughts. Do you think having someone help, wether it be a nanny, maid, driver or cook make you a worse mother? When I lived abroad the idea of getting help is a must for all the western mothers I knew. Be it for reasons of work, for practicality, or for peace of mind. When it’s one person caring for 3 children and a husband and doing laundry and cooking and cleaning the house they all agree that having help makes them better parents and spouses since they are happier, less stressed and less tired at the end of the day. All the mothers in the neighborhood I lived in had some sort of childcare help or help at home regardless of how much money they made. This could be help from their mothers or mothers in law coming over a few times a week, or having a “nanny share” where two families employ one nanny to care for their kids and split the cost. Some of them send their kids to day care, some are just relived to have a play date where they can send their kids to their neighbors for a few hours.
I know there are people who do not pay attention to their children, who see them for a few minutes a day and let the nanny do everything from homework to bed time to taking care of them when they are sick. These people my darling readers would be just as neglectful if they did not have help. And these people are not the majority unless you are suggesting there is something fundamentally wrong with all Saudi women. Then that is another subject that can be discussed somewhere far away from here.
I have help and have had help since my children were born and I am a better mother for it. And every mother I know and have met would tell you that they would welcome any help they can get any time they can get it. A mother does not have to do every single thing for her child from laundry to cooking to dressing every day of their life to be a good mother. And any mother who does not care for their child when they need them would not turn into a loving caring mother if the nanny suddenly disappeared.
The reader suggested that things were different in the generations of our grandmothers. They certainly were! Take me back to those days and I wouldn’t need a nanny. I would be surrounded by my sisters, my sisters in law, my mother in law, even my eldest children would all be helping me to raise this child. I would live in a community that would not think twice of taking my children in and raising them as their own if anything were to happen to me. I would have had an army of mothers to help and I would have helped them. So he is correct in saying it was different then.
He also doesn’t take into account that mothers work now. What are they meant to do when they work? not work? If you are a working father you are not expected to come home and cook dinner and give the baby a bath and wash the clothes and clean the house. Of course not! you have worked all day! you poor thing. But with working mothers they are still expected to keep their other job of being a mother and a wife. So when you are a mother and a wife come and talk to me about not needing help and being a proper family.
The average salary for a Filipino or Malaysian nanny or maid here in Saudi is low and almost everyone can afford to employ someone. I have heard from expats who have said they employ people here for that reason and that if it were the same back home they would not hesitate. So in conclusion readers, it is a shame his life experiences seem to have been tough on him, and maybe his experiences taught him that having help at home breaks up the traditional family. But I would love to know what you think? Please do leave comments and answer the poll I am truly interested in what you all think about this.