House-Help Chronicles

Somehow, it is inevitable that this blog would have a series dedicated exclusively to house helps and all the lessons i’ve learnt employing them. With a job that affords me just about enough time to come home, eat and hit the sack until the next morning, having a help is not even topic for debate. Did i say a help? Make that TWO helps in my case, one in charge of the kids’ welfare and the other to take of general housecleaning. And having two helps saves me a lot of headache and embarrassment. What sort of story would i have concocted for the office after that help of mine ran away, if i didn’t have a backup in my nanny?
My house-help ran away weeks ago; i mentioned it in my last post. Last week {Thursday to be precise} i got a replacement from Enugu. This post is all about the replacement and the lesson i learnt from her!
Thursday 20/10
4:10pm- I called this 20-something year old help to ask her whereabouts to determine when to go pick her up. She said she had no idea. I asked that she find out from the bus conductor or driver or whoever could give her the information. She returned, few minutes later, with, “We are in Benin”. Great.
6:05pm- I called her again. She picks and says they are in Ojodu Berger.
 “Progress”, i thought.
 “Thank You Jesus”, i said.
Then i told her to stop at Ojota to which she replied, “Be coming out now. Come and wait there. I’ve told you we are in Berger. Just come out and wait in Ojota”.
To be totally honest, i’m still smarting from Precious’ absconding, the help that ran away. It pained me more because she waited until i paid her salary and as i left for the neighbourhood market the next day to get foodstuff, she took off...literally...slippers in hand. And so, when Madame New House-help said i should stand in Ojota, name card in hand i suppose, and wait for her, i got pissed again. Whats with me and these girls with attitude?
6:29pm- She flashes my phone; i called back. She said they were in Ojota and i said, “Good. Now ask for the bus coming to Maryland Junction. Its about 5-10 minutes drive and it won’t cost more than N50”. She started whining, “You know i don’t know anywhere. You were supposed to be waiting for me in Ojota”. I told her not to worry; she cant miss the Mr Biggs by Mobil Gas Station in Maryland Junction. No way. Also told her i would be waiting right there for her. Tihehe...small victory i know but i’d rather show her right off the bat who was BOSS...ME!
7:02pm- 30 calls later...23 of which she ignored out rightly, 5 cut off...we meet ourselves for the first time ever.
I usually give my new employees pep talks but i decided to skip hers that night. She was tired from that long ass journey. Pep talk can wait until the next day. I gave her food and told her to go rest.
Friday 21/10
9:07am- PHCN just brought the light. I was in the bathroom trying to load the kids’ dirty laundry into the washing machine. New Help was cleaning the loo. She met me, mop and bucket in hand, in the bathroom and started “mopping” the bath floor. Then she asked, “Which bucket am i supposed to use and mop this floor?” to which the nanny replied, “Haba, the one you are using right now”.
New Help: Hian. Don’t you people have that normal mop bucket? Because my hand cannot touch this mop.
I heard that statement and my ears perked up. I slowly backtracked and asked her: What did you just say?
New Help: My hand cannot touch the mop head to squeeze off the water. It irritates my skin.
Me: How did you clean the toilet?
New Help: I just hold the mop until the water stops dripping and i use it. Theres no way i’m touching that mop. You people should try and buy the mop bucket.
Me: Can you see my hand? Is it scaly or itchy? Can you look at Happy’s {nanny} hands? Are they scaly or itchy?
She answered, “All hands are not the same!”
I gave her the pep talk then...but it was not the initially prepared talk. I gave her a different, more aggressive, not-ready-to-take-shit version of the pep talk and it seemed to sober her up a bit.
5:27pm- I came home from my day’s waka and met with her to give her the chore list. Before i gave her the list, i asked,
“Have you done this sort of work before and where?”
“You won’t know the place so there’s no point telling you”, she replied.
“What?” I was shocked. My goodness!      
“Its my Aunty’s place and we were three and...”
“Whatever”, i cut her off and read out her chores. After i was done, i asked her if she had anything to say. She started:
1.     I don’t like working and working and somebody cannot rest in between work.
2.     I don’t like someone sending me on an errand when i’m already working on something for them.
3.     I don’t like being disturbed by kids while i'm cleaning.
4.     I don’t like children scattering places i’ve already cleaned.
5.     Ulcer is real. I don’t want anybody starving me o. I need my food 3x a day.
6.     When can i watch TV?
I was dumbfounded!! What??? When i recovered, i asked just that one question, “That money i sent to your agent for your transport, is any still remaining?”
I need a help not a liability. I need someone that would reduce my stress level to the barest minimum not someone that would increase it ten fold. And i certainly do not need any ugly ass entity with attitude, schlepping drama around my household. Enough was enough!
Tuesday 25/10
6:05am- I woke up and told her to pack. This relationship is cursed from the get-go. I helped her pack the electric iron and plate and cup and cutlery into her bag! Who packs their own plate and cutlery to a job like this?
In the four days she was with me, it has been one drama or the other. Just yesterday, a friend of mine that we all went to visit walked her out of her house. My friend says she thinks her problem goes beyond attitude. She senses a dark spirit around her. Oh boy!
I know the lesson these few days thought me. I will never second-guess my first instincts.  

Random Ish


I took my annual leave off work a couple of weeks ago. I sooooo looked forward to those 15 days of pure bliss. I made plans. I was going to just lounge and lounge and lounge. Travelling was out of the question. With the kids, i knew i would be more stressed out than rested. I just wanted to be able to wake up late, well later than the usual 4:30pm wake-up time, prep my kids for school, pack their lunch boxes, drop ’em off at school, come home and catch up on tv programmes or blogs until its time to pick them up from school. God in His infinite wisdom granted my wish, in abundance sef *sigh*
Few weeks before my leave, my househelp absconded! Strike one. Five days to the kain long awaited period of much-needed rest, my nanny left to go see her children for one whoooooole week. Strike two. And I, Hazel A a.k.a @Zitera a.k.a 21stCenturyCareerMom, was left in charge of my two beautiful, almost well-behaved munchkins. Easy piece of chocolate-gateaux-with-cookies-and-cream cake!
Mehn, ignorance is indeed bliss. I can authoritatively tell you that being a fulltime homemaker especially with kids thrown in for good measure is anything but easy. Dear Lord, i had a total, nearly-overwhelming culture shock! Cooking, doing dishes every five minutes {i kid not...I had no idea the rugrats utilized that much tableware and cutlery}, sweeping, mopping up, doing laundry, resolving toy-sharing scuffles between my duo! WOW! I know i multitask easily...which woman doesn’t...but that week’s multi-tasking was on a kentro level.
I needed help but seeing as none was forthcoming, i harnessed the four year old resource i have...Chets. When he is in a good mood, he can be really helpful. And he’s always in a good mood when i promise to give him my iPhone or to do his homework with him. Other than that, i’m flying solo. He always always has an excuse for not doing whats asked of him. Always!!!
Me: Booboo, please get me drinking water. Mummy is choking!
Chets: Muuuummy, but you are not coughing.
Me: Pleeaaaaaseeeeee *cough cough*
Chets: Ok
He’ll get a tall glass cup with prolly about 100ml of water in it.
Me: Chets, this water is too small. Get me BIG!
Chets: Mummy i can’t. Because you’ll wee-wee on your bed if i get you more. I don’t want Daddy to ‘not be’ happy with you.
Me: My baby {i have to butter him up first}, please tidy up the sitting room.
If he’s with the iPhone, the sitting room is tidied in two seconds flat. If he is in his ‘because’ mood,
Chets: Muuuummmmy, i can’t because my hands are getting smaller. Look, look *he’ll thrust his supposedly shrinking hands in my face* See, i told you my hands are getting smaller!
Me: CHETANNA!!! Stop writing on my wall.
Chets: But i’m not writing on the wall, Mummy. I’m only painting on the wall!! Huhuhuhu...this girl sef!*
Where most mothers have ‘why’ babies, the ones that are perpetually questioning everything you ask of them, i birthed a very ‘because’-orientated precocious child. Quite frustrating. I used to think my hubby was strong willed until i met my son....and daughter Zi. And they both seem to have inexhaustible wells of energy; getting them to sleep at the end of the day is an arduous task
I survived that week sha but with such body pain i was quite convinced i sleep-ran a marathon. I survive but with a long face and a cantankerous disposition i’m surprised my husband didn’t suggest a short visit to my father’s house. Frankly, I would‘ve bollocked myself if i actually hired me.
Wearing heels and klunking off to a career is the easier option, in my opinion. You don’t have to deal with the drama at the home front and believe me, there are plenty of them dramas. I’ve got a newfound respect for housewives and women devoted to their kids and nannies, for that matter. Theirs is a labour of love; their wages hugs and kisses and ‘Mummy, i love you’ and foot rubs from any understanding hubby. I’ll take the ‘Mummy, i love you’ over being called an aunty by any kid of mine, any time...any day!
I resume work in a few days but i've thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed this time with my kids! School runs, home works, bath times....wouldnt trade ‘em for anything. It was hard but it was totally worth it. My kids rock my world, totally!
There. Thats what i've been up to these past weeks. Its been so hectic blogging and catching up on other blog kinda took a backseat. However, something really good happened within this period...I GOT MY READING MOJO BACK!!!! I cant remember the last time i read a book which is really crazy considering that i was once a devourer of books. Between RIM and PHCN, yours' truly was forced to go register at a bookclub. Best N500 i've spent in recent times! I'm on my 7th...Mini Shopaholic by Sophia Kinsella. The Lord is good....

Oh, lest i forget, happy birthday once again Sisi_Yemmie. Hope you had fun today! And many thanks to The Relentless Builder for yet another Versatile Blogger award. I promise, i’ll get to that post soon-ish!

In Her Shoes, What Would You Do?

The easiest time in the life of a mother is the nine months it took to incubate the child. Once that baby pops from the womb, life as you know it pops out of with it! In that second, you transition from a seemingly sane woman to a mad woman who screams at innocent urchins that had done nothing wrong, nothing except frustrate your every effort at some me-time with their attention-demanding antics. You scream, you beg, you shout, you cajole, you bribe, you punish but mostly you worry! You are worried: Am i raising this child right? Have i taught her enough to facilitate her growing into a young responsible God-fearing adult that would do my heart proud? You worry and you pray that God guide their every footstep.
What am i going on about? Here’s what. My neighbour’s niece just moved in with her. Her own mother threw her out of the house. The good niece is 16 years old and heavily pregnant!! Her mother couldn’t bear the “shame” and sent her packing. She is not faring any better in her aunt’s house but at least, there’s a roof over her head and food in her belly...aside of the foetus growing in there, that is. I also know this good Christian lady; one minute, her young daughter was preggers; the next minute, she wasn't!
If you were a mother and your teenager daughter comes up to you and says, “Maman, i’m pregnant!”, what would you do???? Welcome her with open arms? Hustle her off to the nearest doctor? Cry and wail out, “Why me?” Or generally beat the crap and the baby out of her? What would you do?
Its a tough situation to be in! Its a tough call any way you wanna look at it. I promise, i don’t ever want this in my cup. However, faith without works is babash and God really helps those that help themselves. So for me, sex education on her first ever period or earlier sef. I would pull the God-says-thou-shall-not-fornicate card but look how many of us that actually deterred from doing! I won’t even touch the you-get-pregnant-if-a-man-just-touches-you card. Didn’t work then; certainly not in this tech era that kids are so much wiser. So, i’ll embellish the truth a teeny weeny bit and feed her that version and hopes it keeps her till she’s 21. Why 21? Because, at that age she’s would be old enough to make informed decisions plus hopefully, her Prince Charming would come get her off my hands by then. Hehehehe...just kidding!
My version of the truth would probably go along these lines:
“Uloaku mama ya, you know i love you right? And i would never never lead you astray? So, now you are 10 years old and since you are my best friend, i wanna let you in on a secret. You see Chets’ twi {thats what my son calls his kini} you always used to grab when you were really little and both of you would laugh...yes i noticed...well, that twi is not as meek as it looks. Dont be is heavy artillery. Thank God you stopped playing with it a long time ago. Do not for any reason even touch it, not your brother’s or any other person that carries one around, until you are 21. You know why? Because if you as much as look at it before 21, your entire body will become bloated. Thats the sort of damage the twi can wreck. I reckon you still want to be a model when you grow up? You still do? Thats great. So tell me, what kinda model will you be with a bloated body? And thats not all. Your skin would become rumpled and you know how ugly you would look with a rumpled skin? *embellish, embellish and more embellishment*
Who am i kidding? If God doesn’t watch a city, in vain do the watchers watch! *sigh* If my teenage daughter tells me she’s pregnant, i have no idea what i would do. And that, my people is the honest truth. What would you do??
PS: I just finished watching Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story {again} and all i can say is WOW, God is truly, truly, truly-truly, truuuuuuuly, TRULY amazeballs!!!!! I do not acknowledge this enough!
PPS: Mucho gracias to Toinlicious and Coy-Introvert for the Versatile Blogger award. I’m so stoked. Will get to it as soon as i can! Thanx-a-sweet-bunch!
PPPS: XOXO to everyone that reads, follows and comments on this blog. I genuinely appreciate your visits. Mmwwaaaah.....x