If you overhear a random conversation between two or more young people who live in Lagos, the odds are high that you’ll hear one of them express the disgust at someone’s actions with the title of this post. The first time I heard someone say “like seriously” I thought why can’t it be un seriously too?
Today’s post is about something that has bothered me for a long time and somehow I haven’t been able to write about it. Last week I saw this post on Ofili’s blog, yesterday I opened the treasure trove that is naija mum’s blog and saw a post about how she rescued a little girl from a life of drudgery and I heard a terrible story of a runaway maid early this year and it almost broke my heart to hear the things she went through that prompted her to escape.
I grew up with housemaids and until I was sixteen we always had at least one person helping out with chores. There was no “servant” vibe in the house, we ate the same food, our clothes were bought at the same stores and my mother would have skinned us if we disrespected them. She even treated them better! An offence that would have earned my brothers and I punishment would be almost overlooked in their own case. So I don’t understand why anyone would treat their maids like they weren’t born by women or their mothers didn’t suffer labour pains to have them.
How can you order your maid to sleep on a cold floor in the harmattan of eastern Nigeria while there’s a bed that can take your children and her, just because you don’t want her to “mix up” with your kids. The same children she bathes, feeds and caters for? Like seriously, who does that? How can you give her worn out soup to eat for a week while your children are given fresh soup daily. Or the clothes you buy for her, a grade above rags while “ruff n tumble” is where you get your children’s play clothes. How can your children go to schools that charge millions in fees and your maid goes to that “public school” where the teachers rarely come to class and yoruba is the lingua franca.
Yet you expect them to take premium care of your children, to move heaven and earth for you and still be happy- like seriously, who does that? And when they don’t behave? you hit them like recalcitrant goats. Then you tell the world how ungrateful they are despite all you’ve done for them. I wonder how you sleep at night.
When I was seventeen, we- my parents, brothers and I went to see a family that is kinda related to us. That day I didn’t really feel like talking so I kept to myself while my family interacted with theirs. We had no idea that the one of their daughters who was about four years old at the time was watching me. She couldn’t hold it in anymore, she told my mum “that one there (me) is your housemaid”. My mother was shocked because she couldn’t imagine how the little girl could come to that conclusion. Mommy gently asked her why she thought I was a maid, her answer was simple and profound “that one has not been talking”. As young as she was, she already knew maids were dumb and didn’t interact with people. Sad innit?
You can treat your maids with kindness and get the best from them, it doesn’t matter if they are Beninoise or from your husband’s village. It can be done and when you do it you’ll get the best from them, and if you don’t then you keep working at it. My mother showed me that treating them like your own children is possible and the blessings are immense, she’s still reaping the fruits of her kindness today.
Awesome people are born in January and I’m surrounded by them. From Ikenna to my mother and her brother and sister, to the awesome Mama didi and of course the beautiful Tosyne. Today’s her birthday we’re grateful to God for giving us all a wonderful person like her. Happy birthday babes, may the Lord bless you and keep you, may his blessings and mercies forever rest upon you in Jesus name.