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Meet My Maids
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Getting and maintaining maids are some of the domestic problems most mothers have. My sister is not an exception. She changes maids almost every month, and finding a new one always means trouble. When she is able to get a new one, by the time the maid learns the routine she is again ready to go. I am lucky enough to have two maids who had been with me for years, even before my child Ralph came into this world.

Meet Lanie. She came from Tabugoc, Pandan, Catanduanes, the very place where my husband was raised. She was just 17 when she came to me, a girl so naive, though she worked for a few years in one family in Manila. I taught her how to cook, her primary job then, and how to properly clean the house. During those times, she relied on my instructions, doing only what I asked her to do.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I asked her to be his nanny, and she gladly agreed. I brought her to Manila when I was getting ready for my operation (2nd CS). She was with me in the hospital when I gave birth, up to the time we came out of the hospital, and to the day we went home to the province. She was so thrilled to see the baby, to hold him in her arms, and to learn the basics in taking care of him.

She was very good in her job, and I learned to relax and to go back to work after a few weeks of giving birth. She learned to love my son, treating him as his own brother. She reported to me through the intercom any concern that needed my attention. She saw Ralph's firsts, and she would gladly show me his new developments.

It has been ten years since Lanie arrived, Ralph is now in grade one and turning 7 on September 9. She watches over him even in school. I know she loves Ralph very much, even fighting for him when he is about to be bullied. She is the first to complain when she notices that Ralph is not given enough attention.

Meet my other maid, Gina, Lanie's cousin, now in her 40s. She came as a substitute to her sister, Bing, Raymund's nanny. But since Raymund does not need anymore close supervision when she came, her assignment became cooking and cleaning the house, among other things.

She wakes up at the crack of dawn to prepare the day's first meal, goes to market, cooks for lunch and dinner, and brings the kids' lunch to school. She was not perfect when she started especially when it comes to cooking. But she eventually learned in time. Now she cooks so well and can definitely earn a living with her own carinderia in the future. She has been with me for seven years now.

They came when me and my husband were just starting out as a couple. They have grown with us, became part of my family. They work spontaneously at home, no need for me to tell what needs to be done. They have done so by the time I notice.

I'm sure not everybody will agree with how I treat them- they eat at the same time with us, eat what we eat, comes together with us in family outings and all family activities, including attending the Holy Mass. I will do the same to anybody who comes after them.

They have their day-offs. They are free to watch movie with friends, attend parties, or celebrate birthdays at home. Of course they have their own moods, as they are only human. But when they have learned their lesson, they know how to say sorry.

What I love about them is that they know how to sacrifice their own schedules for the advantage of my family. Six years ago, when I was scheduled for a back operation (discectomy and laminectomy) which coincided with Lanie's schedule to visit her family in Bicol, she decided to postpone without me telling her to. It was something I appreciated, sacrificing her once-a-year vacation so that she can take care of the kids while I was confined in the hospital.

I know that one day they will leave to have a life of their own, especially when they have found Mr. Right. It would be hard to let go, as they have been part of me and my family. But when I tell them so, they would say that they will still take care of my kids' children, laughing at how they would look by then.

There is no secret in making them stay that long. I just let them feel that they belong.

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 7:06 AM  
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About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
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