The thought of leaving your child in the hands of domestic fills you with many unanswered questions. With nuclear family being the norm and both parents working, day care and maids have become a necessity. Choosing a day care or maid is not easy as it sounds.
If you are living in a nuclear family, one question will always keep bothering you- “How can I look after my child whilst I am at work?”
This is a tough one, because whoever it is looking after your child, she will not meet with your expectations. You are trying to replace yourself and it is unlikely that any other person will match up to your requirements. You need to be realistic. Day cares and maids are the options which working mothers can prefer.
Leaving Child at Creche/ Day Care
One of your choices would be to leave your child at a creche. The advantage of this is that your child will be looked after by able, trained persons, accustomed to children and their various needs. It may however cost you more than the salary of one maid.
Tips for Choosing a Day Care Facility
When identifying a day care facility, you should look for one that best suits your needs.
1. Choose a Day Care According to Your Schedule
Some of the questions you should ask yourself are these: Are your hours fixed? Do you often work late? There are some facilities that expect you to fetch your child at a particular time exactly, no extensions permitted. Then there are some which will look after your child longer, in case you are late, for an extra charge.
2. Day Care Should Be At a Convenient Location
Choose a centre that is on your way to work and back. It could be close to either, your place of work or to the home, especially the latter, if your husband is going to be doing the dropping and fetching occasionally.
3. Check the Hygiene Level and Available Facilities
Check what kind of food is being served, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, healthy or not, how and where it is cooked, whether you could provide meals cooked in your own home.
Find out who will be looking after the children, whether such persons are qualified, the number of care givers and the total number of children. Try and meet the person who will actually be looking after the children. Does the centre have facilities to look after a sick child and keep him apart from other children? What is their plan of action in case of emergencies? Do not be self conscious or afraid to ask too many questions.
Once you have chosen your day care, you will need to provide information to the facility which must include your full name and address, all contact numbers, details of the child such as age, allergies, if any, medical supplements and any other instructions, preferably written ones. You could let them know about your child food timings and bedtime routines, but it is more likely that your child will have to adapt to the routines of the centre rather than the other way around.
When you pick your child up from the day care centre, you should ask them for feedback on the day, such as your child’s meals, sleep and behaviour.
Leaving Child with Maid
You could also leave your child to a maid that you trust. The advantage of this is that your child continues to stay in the security of his home environment for the duration of your absence. In the case of domestics, it is always advisable to leave a child with not just the one person, but at least two, lest the only domestic falls ill, goes off on leave, needs to leave the house in an emergency, needs to sleep, is on the phone, is answering nature’s call, is in a bad temper and a host of other reasons. It may cost you more to have the 2, but in the long run it will give you peace of mind and that is worth all the money in the world!
Tips for Interviewing Maids
We have to interview maids to look after our home and children when we are at work.
Here is a list of questions we should ask or information we might require?
It sometimes seems that only those of us with good karma have been blessed with maids that never leave. The rest of us find ourselves repeatedly interviewing strangers at our doorstep, to whom we will partly delegate the most important job in our world. Some of the questions you must ask a prospective maid are set out below.
1) Her full name, age, local and village addresses. Do not employ someone below the age of 16, preferably 18 years. Try and have the address verified.
2) Addresses of her closest relatives in the local area.
3) References of the people they have worked for before. If possible, you must try and speak with her previous employers.
4) The reason for leaving her earlier job, to be corroborated with the previous employer.
5) What kind of work she did earlier. Be very clear about the kind of work she will be expected to do at your house. Let her know that she may have to chip in with extra work outside the priview of her specific job.
6) Any physical problems she might have. Is she physically able to do what will be expected of her?
7) The salary she expects. The salary she got at her previous job (expect some exaggeration).
8) What she expects from you over and above her salary; eg; clothes, soaps, detergents. A big Diwali bonus?
9) How much leave she will take and when.
10) Ask for her photograph to register her at the nearest police station.
These questions are by no means exhaustive. Other questions might occur to you during the course of your interview. Ask as many as you need to and some of them twice (because discrepancies have been known to occur!) so that you have some degree of comfort with whom you are allowing into your home.
Get a Helping Hand for Supervision
Whether you choose a creche or a domestic to look after your child, you should try and get a friend or a relative or a kindly neighbour to pay a surprise visit to your child from time to time to ensure that all is well. Do not let your domestics get the feeling that they are not being supervised. When you get back in the evening, ask a million questions. If your child is old enough, you can later corroborate the answers away from the presence of the domestic.If you can afford to, you should feel free to install security cameras in your home to record the goings on in your absence.
No matter what your work hours, you are still your child’s essential caregiver — the most consistent source of love and support in her life. Under your care and guidance, along with the help of your well-chosen caregivers, your baby will flourish and grow into a happy, healthy child.