Shade never thought that Comfort, her domestic help might be struggling with high blood pressure. After all, she looked very healthy and agile when she resumed work in her apartment in Ikoyi a year ago. Everything was ok till the day Comfort felt very dizzy and was experiencing severe heart palpitations.
Comfort was rushed to the hospital and when her vitals were taken, it was about 170/101. When asked how long she had been feeling that way, she complained that since she resumed work with Shade’s family, she had so much work, no provision for any time away for a break and she couldn’t complain because she needed the money.
Shade is a senior executive with a consulting firm and mum to three young boys but Comfort practically runs her home. Comfort gets the kids ready for school, drops them off at school and returns to the house chores. She does the cooking, laundry and cleaning of a 5-bedroom house. After she picks them from school, takes them for piano lessons and swims with them besides supervising their homework and bedtime routine.
Shade spends time with her sons only over the weekends as she’s out to work before they are up in the morning and back home when they are fast asleep in bed. Even over the weekend, Shade keeps up with emails from work and conference calls so Comfort trails them to the different weekend activities. Is it fair to dump all your responsibilities on your maid?
With Comfort’s current health condition, Shade is taking some time off work to review the status at home and is a bit confused whether to send Comfort away, hire an extra hand or even to scale down on her commitments at work to be there for her family. The perceived stability at her home was at the expense of Comfort’s health. Someone needs to do the dirty work. Sending Comfort away at this juncture seems unfair as Shade’s family has stretched Comfort’s health somewhat. At the same time, Shade needs help and not an extra burden to take care of. If you were Shade, what would you do?
Many times, as mums we forget that our nannies are helpers and not substitutes. We are still responsible for our homes. Let’s not wait till it is too late before we consider the impact of the choices we’ve made. The next generation of kids are being raised by nannies and drivers, one wonders what the outcome will be.