Tuesday, January 17, 2023
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The irony

A typical Ethiopian family in the past and present would feature a working father and a stay-at-home mother. Moms who stay at home with their children have a full-time job caring for the family and all of the household’s needs.

And despite the fact that the father may have a modest level of education, I think that was the case for the majority of families.

As a result, kids had more opportunities to connect with their mothers. At least for the majority of the individuals I know, father-child relationships were, from what I recall, a little wobbly. But that’s just what I think.

Perhaps fathers back then believed that keeping their distance from their kids was the only way they could earn the respect they deserved and that they would see you as less valuable if you became friends with them. The upside of these kinds of families is that the children at least had their mothers to form relationships with.

I wanted to discuss the changes that moms’ employment has brought to the family rather than the increase in the degree of attachment between children and their parents. I want to talk especially about how dependent we are on housemaids as mothers.

With the passage of time, it has become increasingly difficult to support oneself with just one source of income. But mothers entering the workforce isn’t just a result of life becoming increasingly expensive.

It’s also because fewer women today opt to be stay-at-home mothers. Instead of the past, when women were mostly dependent on the income produced by their husbands, they wish to create their own income and achieve financial independence.

The necessity for a career and the independence that come with education for women have also considerably increased our dependency on domestic help as mothers.

Women are unable to support their families while working outside the home. They must leave the house and leave their kids in the care of maids and nannies, whom, in most cases, they hardly know.

I occasionally even question how much confidence we place in our housekeepers or nannies when entrusting them with our own children. We don’t verify their health or conduct any background checks; we do nothing.

They are brought to our homes by brokers we have never met before. We make copies of their identification—which, by the way, may be entirely fake—and have their guarantors sign a document that is not recognized by the law.

The day after we hire them, we leave our kids with them so we can go to work. How much more reliable is that now? But do we have a choice?

Not at all, no, and I may not have everyone’s support on this, so I’m going to say it nonetheless.

Our darling children are the ones we are investing in, not the housekeepers; therefore, we have the choice to treat them well and figuratively invest in them.

Some people even refuse to provide their housemaids access to meals. They lock up food items like cooking oil, Berbere, butter, etc. to guard against unexpected costs brought on by excessive or selfish use.

But why can’t we trust the help with food that can be readily replaced with money if we have trusted them with our children, who, by the way, are irreplaceable?

Some individuals contest the existence of housekeepers as sentient beings. They communicate with the workers in a way that they would never want their superiors to. While ignoring the reality that the help may like to even sample the food that their bosses are eating, they forbid the help.

However, they have high requirements for the nanny or housekeeper to meet when it comes to caring for their kids, while offering the bare minimum while expecting the highest standards.

It’s ironic, isn’t it?

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