Friday, 27 January 2012

The housekeeper always comes first

Do you have any household help?

I have been blessed to meet our housekeeper 4 years ago. I had to go back to work after my maternity leave when my son was 9 months old. In Quebec, daycare is heavily subsidized, so that we did not need a nanny. Yet I realized we needed more than a cleaning lady coming once a week, as we had previously had. We needed a housekeeper, who would help me share the burden of all house-related responsibilities and could occasionally take care of my son. Anna was a gift from heaven. She has also a daughter the same age as my son, so that sometimes we would arrange for the two of them to come on Saturday mornings. The kids would play, Anna would take care of the house, and I cold squeeze in a bit of extra work.

After we left Montreal last summer, she had to look for a replacement job. Anna ended up being employed full time by one of the local hospitals. When I found out, I have to confess that I panicked. When we go back to Canada this summer, we will have to move back into our house and my son will not be in daycare anymore. How can I make it without Anna?

Meeting with her was thus high priority on my to-do list for this week. It took a lot of effort, because she does not have a cell phone and she does not check her emails regularly (or at all). Yet I made it. I skipped the lunch seminar with an important speaker and I rushed to meet her at the hospital, even risking to be late for my student's defense. Yes, the housekeeper always comes first, especially when she is the best.

Photo: The punching bag fights back.

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