My housemate and I have something in common. We choose a house or an outfit or perhaps even friends, based on chemistry. We call it “seeing something and it speaks to you”. A house could be the perfect size, with a beautiful compound, located in a great neighbourhood, but if I enter it and I don’t feel that almost magnetic pull - that ‘this is it’ moment - I will not choose it. Silly? Perhaps, but we are who we are.
Well, it seems that the ‘chemistry’ thing is now creeping into everything. For instance, now that I am a mother, choosing people who run the house also falls in this category. I don’t care how great the resume is, how hardworking a nanny is, if I don’t feel the “chemistry” between us, and later, with Kwezi, then there is no future for her in our home.
When I had just had Kwezi, we employed a nanny and house help who was good at her job. She was clean, a good cook and was not lazy. You would have thought that with that combination, we would have retained her, and perhaps we would have, but the moment we detected some psychological or mental health issues, the contract had to be terminated. Please don’t get me wrong, or think that I am insensitive towards mentally ill people. Absolutely not, but let’s be honest, leaving a new-born, or even a toddler, with someone whose mental health seems to be questionable is also not right.
Today, I am struggling with a new challenge. I have a great nanny, she likes children, is respectful, but her love for her phone and television soaps is worrying. I get worried when someone seems to be talking on her phone almost all the time, regardless of what she is doing. When you hire a nanny, you want to be sure that they are not distracted because toddlers are unpredictable and need one hundred per cent “surveillance’. How is one supposed to be alert when they seem to be giggling into their phone all the time?
Besides the phone, I have to deal with the way she seems to get carried away by the Mexican television shows; commonly known as Telemundo. While I understand that no man is perfect, it’s really rare to find an employee who has the full package. I have learnt how to compromise. If the nanny is not as fast or doesn’t have initiative, I may live with that. I, however, fail to compromise on attention span and cleanliness because these directly affect the one person that she is hired to serve. Being quick to dismiss is not a solution, so I am now in the first phase of showing her how wrong her deeds are, and if she really values her job, she will change and if she doesn’t, I will go back to the tiring drawing board where I have to find her replacement. I hope it doesn’t come down to that.