Thursday, 26 September 2013

The nanny culture in the Middle East

Here are photos of pick-up time at the Bambina's school:

Notice anything unusual? Do you see many parents? Or do you see, when you look closely, a lot of Filipina domestic helpers? In this part of the world, it is not uncommon for the nanny or housemaid to play the principal role in raising a child. Our own housekeeper told me that her first job in Kuwait was working as a nanny for a Kuwaiti couple. She began her employment when the wife was still pregnant with their first child. She told me in her broken Sri Lankan English, "I not understand, ma'am. Baby born. She give me baby. And then I mother. I sleep with baby, eat with baby, stay with baby all the time. She no want baby."

Thanks to Kuwaitiful for originally posting this video for everyone to see. The Saudi Human Rights Commission (now there's a paradox if there ever was one) has released this touching video showing a Saudi mother welcoming her children with open arms when they arrive home from school - only to see the children run into the arms of their nanny.

As expats, we've had the luxury of being able to hire a full time housekeeper in both Madagascar and in Kuwait. In Madagascar, we hired someone full time to work partly as a nanny and housekeeper; yet even then, I made sure that I was always the mother to my kids.  I spent time with my son while our nanny/housekeeper cleaned the house. I also breastfed the Bambino on demand and well into his toddler years, so we had a lot of bonding time together!

In Kuwait, I have always made a point of making sure that I pick up both kids from school. It's not about the transportation. We have a driver. It's about connection. They don't want to see the driver or a nanny or a housemaid. They want to see their mom, and at this stage in their lives, I wouldn't want it any other way.


opu shaon said...

As far as I can see from this post I've understood that in the middle east nanny has been playing really very vital role for the raising of the child and I really appreciate their effort. I hope they will able to keep up their well work for the well being of child. Thanks