Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Unfortunate Plight of Nannies

I was at an indoor playground today, and noticed that about two thirds of the caregivers were nannies. This made me think about how lucky I am to be able to participate in my daughter's play-time like this on a daily basis. Then I remembered reading this article that discussed the lives of the actual nannies, and how many of them come to Canada to try and make better lives for their children, leaving these children in the Philippines with relatives while they get things set up. Some of them don't see their children for years. My inlaws have a caregiver who hasn't seen her eight-year-old son in three years. Whenever I visit my inlaws with my daughter in tow, I always feel a pang of guilt when we all dote on Pumpkin, while this caregiver longingly wishes that she could be having time like this with her son. I cannot begin to comprehend her anguish. Then I think back to the nannies in the indoor playground, and have to wonder how the world came to be set up this way. North American families tend to need two working parents to afford their lives, so they go to work, leaving their children with nannies who have painfully given up being with their own children. By caring for the North American kids, they are hoping to gain the opportunity to reunite with their own kids in Canada. In the meantime, the kids who were left in the Philippines don't get the chance to bond with their mothers, and the reunion isn't always the touching event that the mothers have been working toward for years and years. A change in the law could shorten the time that these women are separated from their families, but leaving children behind must be incredibly difficult, no matter what the duration. I don't know what the best solution is. I just know that it's an awful situation to be in, and am thankful not to be in it.


b*babbler said...

A terrific post, and a fantastic reminder.

Mr Babbler and I were discussing this just the other day.

On an odd note, I've been asked on more than one occasion who's daughter Peanut is, as though I'm the nanny. Ahem.

Jozet at Halushki said...

I just read about this, and it's horribly sad.

I know that hiring the nannies heps them help their families, but...I don't think I could do it. I think I'd get too wrapped up in their situation, trying to do everything in my power to get them back with their own children.

Which maybe, is what needs to happen on an individual basis, turning into a grassroots campaign.

How to change the world?

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

Yes, it is horrible. Yes, it is heartbreaking.

My current nanny is not married, and does not have children. She has several siblings, and she is helping send them to university, so they can have a better chance when they are older.

Then again, she has a university degree as well.

The Philippines is a very difficult country to live in. Imagine how hard life must be there that leaving your children behind and working somewhere else is preferable. Because for many of the nannies here, it is.

It is a very sad situation.