Sunday, July 10, 2005

Maids and Mommies

This Shabbos, I was at the playground watching the adorable kids in the bungalow colony. At a nearby picnic table, there was a group of 9 Latina maids. We're very multi-cultural there...There are about 4 groups of maids that socialize with their own nationalities.

Anyway, it's fascinating how completely Mexican looking women can have white, Jewish looking children. With Yarmulkes no less. Oh, wait! You mean they're not theirs?? Last week, a maid was on the swing with her "charge" (is there another way of saying it? They're not her kids...?) and she was singing some Spanish song with him and he was humming along--he either knew it, or was still learning it.

Another maid was showing off how much Spanish she taught her 6 year old whatever..."Count to 15..."

Then another kid was about the same age talking to her maid, "Me sit. You push. Ana! You no listen me!" So she responded, "Okay, baby! I comin'."

Then yesterday all the maids were at the picnic table, so I don't know whose charges were whose. But one kid did not get the swing he wanted or something, and he started viloently hitting a maid (I'm not sure if it was his or someone elses because they were taking care of others charges.) Her response? "I give you tickles..." Those kids are unbelievably spoiled because the parents don't teach their kids anything-they're scared of disciplining their children because of all the hoopla in society. The maids are afraid of their job security. So if the kid wants something, he's got it.

Then a--gasp--mother came with her children. We struck up conversation and I shared my thoughts on what was going on. She told me that she grew up with a live-in, but understands that the disdvantages outweigh the benefits (mostly religion-related) and that she works hard with her 3 children aged 3 and under. She proceeded to tell me this story that I made her swear(not literally) that it is true:

There was a little 3-year-old boy whose maid put him into bed, and he unfortunately went into a coma. The doctors said he needed something familiar. So they called in his mother, (Okay, this is massively predictable, but I'll continue for the slow people) and she sang her songs. Nothin. She spoke to him. Nothin. She hummed. Got nothin. They began to get nervous, and they said they must try something else. The maid walked in and sang her Polish hymn...and the kid began to stir.

She promised it's true. I certainly don't make these things up. This is what society has come to. For more on this, check out "Cleaning Ladies Part 1-Raising Our Children"...It's in the archives...October, November or something.


At 7/10/2005 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the mothers so busy with in the bungalow colony that they can't push their own kids on the swings??
I happen to not know much about the ways of the "upper class" i.e: having maids or owning a summer home, but the friends of my family who I guess are from the "poor" side of town and rent 3 room bungalows for the summer sometimes have a Mother's Helper--a frum girl looking to earn some money who can watch the babies for two hours so the mothers can get in some swimming or something like that.....
Maybe I'm in a different league.

At 7/10/2005 11:06 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

That's what I had for a few summers when my brother was a baby. A 16 year old Bais Yaakov girl. And she took him out while my mother cleaned the house! (Not SHOPPED)

At 7/10/2005 4:01 PM, Blogger Karl said...

I'm sure during work time, these people have nmaidsa to look after the kids because they are so busy etc. But when it comes to vacation time, surely it if dont spend the time together during the year then this would be a good time to do it. To get someone to take the kids out while the parent/s (/mother) does her own thing is selfish, and if the mother is cleaning - just stupid (sorry Michelle) - get a cleaner to clean while you can spend time with the kids. I have never understood those "family" vacations where the parents never see the kids.

At 7/11/2005 9:34 AM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Welcome to Lakewood, rikki. Everyone on my block has a Mexican maid or live-in. I have always wondered about the Kasrus, when you leave your entire kitchen in the trust of a Shiksha.
I ate by someone, Pesach. The family was by a bar-Mitzva all day, but they said we should come over anyway.
When my brother and I arrived, there was only a Mexican lady and a six month old baby. She served us the entire Seuda. But, I just didn't feel comfortable leaving the house with the baby all alone with her.

At 7/11/2005 10:07 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

You better not be talking about the same Lakewood I'm thinking of. Boy has that place become the epitome what it used to be the antithesis of. Ideally, Lakewood was supposed to be all about Torah...all the mothers June Cleaverish (L'Havdil) and whatever....GRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!! I was actually planning an actual post about this, so thanks the extra back-up info...and look for my complete HJO!

At 7/11/2005 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle-your response to Semgirl's comment came right out of my mouth!
To semgirl: I also sometimes wonder about the kashrus in homes in which a Mexican is the balebusta.
Then, what happens when the kids grow up? Do they expect to never have to pick anything off the floor of their own homes? To never have to dry any dishes or turn on a vaccuum cleaner?
Certainly today's mothers weren't raised that way.

At 7/11/2005 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, to give these ladies some credit-they do follow Mrs. Cleaver in one respect. Remember how she constantly was dressed up wearing her high heels, pearls etc. Remember her serving dinner with an apron over her perfectly pressed short dress? Well, these ladies certainly follow her lead in the dressing department!

At 7/11/2005 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

June--that was Mrs. Cleaver's first name--thanks, Michelle!

At 7/12/2005 11:40 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Good one! :-) The only difference is, June Cleaver was actually B'Tznius! These people are wearing caked on makeup, short skirts, and stilletos.
That's only the few who actually serve their children. The others are out shopping while their maid does everything.

At 7/20/2005 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's kind of insulting--to say you didn't feel comfortable to leave the house with the baby and and the Mexican. The family does. Do you think the Mexican will eat the baby?

At 7/20/2005 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's kind of insulting--to say you didn't feel comfortable to leave the house with the baby and and the Mexican. The family does. Do you think the Mexican will eat the baby?

At 7/21/2005 12:01 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I don't think the person thought the Mexican woman would eat her children, but I think it's a more religious thing. If it's not that, it's any foreign woman who is not frum, because they are not family, and they don't know what they will do to their children. There are terrible stories of what Nannies have done to their charges when the parents were away. hence the invention of the Nannycam.

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