Three weeks ago, VGood’s English teacher Mrs. M, newly employed by the school this year, was absent for several days. I assumed she resigned, and was even feeling bad because she is a good teacher. She handled her class very well, was approachable, and spoke good English. It was the school’s loss, I thought.
Two weeks ago, my girls and I went to V’s classmate’s birthday party. I saw Mrs. M there. Carrying her two-year old daughter, she said she was just dropping by to say good-bye to her students. Things happened so suddenly. She had just filed her formal resignation that Friday, she said.
Why? What happened? I asked.
Her eyes welled up with tears as, unconsciously, she drew her little girl closer to her. She told us (me and several other school moms) how her teenage son came home unannounced one afternoon and discovered his little sister tied to the stairs by the yaya!
I imagine how horrible it must have been – for the innocent child to have experienced such cruelty, for the brother to have seen it, and for the parents to have received such terrible news while away at work!
Mrs. M took on the service of the yaya when she found out she passed the school’s employment screening and got the job as English teacher. She did not know the yaya very well. I doubt that she knew the yaya at all!
Because she and her husband were both working, the baby and the yaya were always left by themselves at home. Who knows what other horrid things the yaya did to the little girl?
Mrs. M told us she is definitely not going back to work. Not while her baby is still young. No, she isn’t entrusting the care of her child to anybody else again.
This incident made me me think. How many families are going through the same? How many kids suffer abuse from “carers” who are merely strangers getting measly pays?
Why did the incident have to happen for their family to realize that they can actually survive on the salary of just one working parent?
This is one big reason why I left my day job: so I can be with my children and attend to their needs. Our situation then was that there was no extended family support nearby that could help my husband and I take care of the kids while we were both at work. We were left with two choices: entrust the kids to the yaya, or I resign. I understand that, for some families, extended family play a very important role, and they are lucky to have that kind of support system.
In our situation, the clear choice was for me to resign. Living on the salary of just one parent is difficult, but not impossible. We’ve learned to tighten the belt, so to speak. We stick to the necessities, and let go of the luxuries.
Entrusting the most important years of our children to househelp, in my opinion, is not worth the income.