Working mothers seek safe options

Working mothers seek safe options


“It is difficult to entrust your baby to anyone else’s care. It is scary,” said Alka Chawla, who like many other mothers, is considering hiring a maid to babysit her 18-month son, while she’s at work.

With more women entering the workforce now, hiring maids to look after the baby, while the parents are at work is common in upper middle class households.
“The maid is alone the whole day in your house and with your child who cannot express himself fully yet. How can you trust a stranger with both your child and possessions?” questioned Alka.

Even hiring a maid through a reputed employment agency is not always fool-proof. When contacted, a representative from an employment agency in the City, claimed that the agency ensures background checks before recommending a maid for employment, but refused to divulge any more details about it. This indicates that an extensive, formalised structure is not in place.

Apart from safety concerns, there are other issues about the kind of intellectual stimulation that a child gets.
“Unlike in Western countries, where it is possible to hire trained baby sitters or nannies, maids in India, come from the lower strata of society, who are not trained. This means that the value systems of the maid could be different from that of theirs,” said Priya Vaidyanath, another young mother.

Creches at workplace
An alternative to hiring a maid, which is now a popular option, is a crèche or organised play group. Such crèches these days come with facilities such as pick-ups and drops and playgrounds etc.

“Parents find it more comfortable to leave their children in the hands of trained professionals. In a day care, there are more people who are answerable, compared to a situation where it is only the maid who is accountable,” observed Nirmala Krishnakumar who runs “Nirale”, a crèche located in Koramangala.
The corporate sector too is embracing the idea of having crèches in office premises. Many reputed firms in the City now, such as Wipro, Infosys, HP, Yahoo and Texas Instruments offer crèche facilities.

“Employers have become more sensitive to the needs of a young mother, and offer not just crèches in the workplace, but also flexible working hours and the option of working from home. This comes as a blessing, especially to those of us who don’t have the support of an elderly family member to look after the child,” says Sheela Karthikeyan, a mother and a software professional.

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