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Learning to let go – Trusting your helper

Posted on 12 September 2013 by Kristrun

We want to be great parents. We want to be there for our children every step of the way. Still, for many of us who are living away IMG_1641from home, employing a domestic helper is an inevitability. Hong Kong is just not set up to provide child-care by any other method, and we have no family network around us to help out. Added to this is the common situation of a husband often away traveling with work.

So it is during pregnancy that many of us contemplate this for the first time, and it can be a very strange notion – this idea of a complete stranger sharing your home and personal space. Most women, wisely, employ a helper well before the baby arrives as common sense will tell you that it is best to do his a) whilst you have time and b) so that you can get to know each other before the whirlwind of a newborn comes about.

Your baby comes home, and you hold her close to you and never want to let go. You are appreciative of the fact that your helper is doing the laundry and the cooking, but the idea of her helping with the baby – such an obvious thing before – suddenly seems unfathomable. Indeed, nobody is able to take care of her the way you can.

This is true. But it does not mean your way is the only way. Daddy’s way or helper’s way may not be exactly the same, but it can still work well.

The important thing is to make sure the fundamentals are in place and that your helper knows what you want and what you think is important. They need to know why as well as how. Training is essential. What job do you know offers no training to the chosen candidate? And there are few jobs more important than taking care of a baby.

Arrange for first aid training in Toronto before the baby is born. First aid and CPR, it goes without saying, but baby-care courses are also important. These ladies who have such an important role in our lives may have had a hugely different life-experience to us and the most basic things can differ widely – sleeping, bathing, eating, playing, stimulation, hygiene, priorities in case of an emergency – the list goes on and on.

Some mothers will go it alone, and prefer to do it all themselves, and that is wonderful. But, choosing to accept help is also fine. Neither is the better mother. Indeed, having help enables a lot of women to be better mothers! And of course, for those of us returning to work, there is no other real choice.

It is so important that, as the dust settles, and routines are established, that you find a little time to take a break. Be it for exercise, a hobby, a relaxing bath, or to catch up with a friend. This, for many of us, inevitably means leaving our baby with our helper. Let her do it in small steps – she also needs to get to know your child and to learn his cues and ways. Take a shower, leaving baby with helper. Catch up with emails. Then leave the house for a short time. Build it up, so that all three of you feel confident and comfortable. Your helper needs time to hone these skills.

Letting go is not a sign of weakness. As is often said, it takes a village to raise a child and it just so happens that our helpers are a large part of that village for many of us. Equip them with the knowledge, skill and confidence to do this safely and well. It will then be a positive experience for all.

 

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