Working mothers think that a full time nanny for their child means they have to do nothing. They will pile us up with so much work that there is no time to look after the baby. The baby is then neglected by both the mother and nanny.
Children are very sensitive and recognise neglect. They get very cranky. A nanny obviously cannot substitute a mother. In the house where I work, the child is with me the whole day, but when it gets dark, he starts to cry for his mother. He does not stop till his mother picks him up and cuddles him.
But my mistress is a mobile phone addict—the child’s life has to revolve around her telephone calls. She will start to feed the baby, then a call will come and that is the end of the child’s meal. She will abruptly transfer the child to my lap and walk away. The child starts crying loudly and refuses to eat after that.
I feel like giving her a tight slap and telling her to look after the child. Someone in the building suggested that I stay absent from work for at least two days every fortnight, so the mother will be forced to look after the child. The first time I did it, she did not bathe the child for two days.
I get many job offers from other women living in the housing society. But every nanny develops an attachment to the child she looks after. It is difficult to quit the job.
Most families compromise on the quantity of food given to the nanny. For breakfast I get two slices of bread with tea, for lunch it is one chappati, one small bowl of dal or vegetables and one small bowl of rice. I get a cup of tea in the evening. I feel hungry, but what can I do?
When the child grows older, he/she realises that the nanny is not family. You can see the change in the child’s attitude.
(This 60-year-old lady has been working as a nanny for the last 24 years)
As told to Haima Deshpande