So Aishwarya Rai has refused to keep a nanny for her baby! That's quite something, I must say. For when you cannot hire a nanny due to monetary reasons, the decision comes easy. But when you have all the money in the world to hire ten nannies, it sure must be a difficult choice.
Hiring a nanny is a very recent phenomenon in India. Sure we have had dais and masseuses and other such staff since olden days to help new moms to cope but hiring a nanny who specifically will look after the baby and attend to all his needs is a recent phenomenon. With the growing force of working women, hiring a nanny has become more of a necessity than a luxury few could afford some years earlier.
Earlier the baby would happily pass from one member to another in a joint family and one fine day you would realise your baby has grown up. If you were awake at night due to a colicky baby, there would be more than one member who would be awake with you.
This included your mother-in-law, aunts, cousins, sister-in-law, whoever stayed with you and all ready with household remedies to get through it. It was consoling to say the least. For, there isn't a lonelier feeling than being with a non stop crying baby all alone in the dead of the night when everyone else is happily snuggled in their beds.
While I completely endorse being involved with one's baby personally, it surely must be a difficult thing to do for the lesser privileged. For, in an urban city like Mumbai where prices of everything are touching the skies, a single income is no longer enough to sustain a decent lifestyle. So however much a mother wants to be with her baby in the first few years, the pressures of supplementing her husband's income or sometimes even earning the bigger portion of the pie is enough to send the woman back to the workplace in the first few months of the baby's birth.
Isn't there an irony in all this? Earlier the rich could afford a nanny and they hired them to ease the workload of the mother. Today the rich are happy to be involved as they can take a break from work thanks to their healthy bank balance but the middle income group has to hire a nanny so that the mother could go back to work. For the rich the nanny was a luxury, for the lesser privileged the nanny has become a necessity.
I have a personal quote which I wish for every mother. I always say that the day God makes a woman a mother he should also put a good amount of money in her bank account so she can enjoy the baby to the fullest. Spending time with the baby and keeping the kitchen fires burning very often does not go hand in hand or if it does its very tough for the parents especially the mother who is pulled in different directions due to work pressures, guilt, frustration, tiredness and chaos.
So Dear God, here's my little prayer to you. Either make all mothers filthy rich so that they too can refuse to hire nannies or if that's too much we are asking for, then give us good nannies who love our kids as much as we do, if not more. And next time I choose caring for my baby versus the crucial boardroom assignment, at least get it printed on the third page of the leading daily, if not the first.
Till my next post! You can write to me at http://mammamania.in