Ever since we've come to the Middle East, everywhere I turn all I see is the Madam walking ahead toting a Gucci (or Fendi or whatever) and a Filipino/Indian sub-continent/sub-Saharan woman walking a few steps behind either pushing the stroller or carrying the child or leading the child by hand.
And while madam riffles through the many shop racks, the poor nanny has to keep the child entertained (really which child loves shopping expeditions).
Once we enter the compound - you can see the nanny has a nice uniform (or maybe not) and she basically trails the child hauling all paraphernalia. Tennis rackets, balls, swimming gear, towels, even food containers. Sometimes you see the child riding their bikes and the nannies running after them - just to stuff a morsel in their mouths.
I still remember the shock I was in - the first day I took sonny to the Recreation Center. All around me - were nannies of various shapes, sizes and colors. Where the hell are the moms, I thought. The few moms that I did manage to meet - told me - moms were at the coffee shop - having their 'meet your friend' time. Now if you had a full time maid (and most people here do) - its just easier to make a a schedule where the maid takes the child out in the evening while you - well - you have coffee with your friends. However, I do know of moms - who pay freelance maids 20 SR an hour to take their kids to the park. Pick your jaw off the floor - for many maids have asked me too - if I needed this service.
Of course I politely declined. I didnt need a maid. I had me. Full time nanny to sonny. Housekeeper to hubby. Cook for both. Teacher. Playmate (to both ;) )
And then a few days ago - a kid asked me - where was sonny's mom? Taken off guard, I said - well I am his mom. She refused to believe me. Why not, I asked? You're with him all the time - how can you be his mom? And I dont see you chatting with the other moms. O I said - sonny likes to play here - so we're here. The other moms are inside the cafe - sonny cant play there. She gave me one incredulous look. Where's his dad, she asked me - still not convinced. O he's at work, I said. When will he be back? Soon. Good, she said. The I'll ask him. O be my guest honey.
So I decided to put down the reasons, why I qualify to be categorised as sonny's nanny.
1. I feed him, bathe him, clothe him, diaper him. Have you seen a mom do that?
2. I'm with him all the time. Ok, helicopter moms do that too.
3. When we step out to play - I let him decide the agenda. If he wants swings, we go to the swings, if he wants play indoors - indoors it is. If he wants to head home - we head home. Mommys dont let kids decide the agenda. They have their own agenda. The have to meet friend A at such place and friend B at another place. And the kid has to go with mommy. If not - nanny could you take him where he wants to go?
4. When sonny is tired, and wraps his chubby arms around my knees - I pick him up and we walk home. We talk and I point out flowers and sing songs. Have you ever seen a mommy do that? Only nannies do these weird things.
5. Since all mommies are conferencing at the coffee shop - I only have other nannies to hello hi to. Mommies only talk to other mommies. Only nannies talk to other nannies.
6. When we see other kids - I encourage sonny to say hi to them (he being an exquisite wall flower). Mommies are usually busy talking to notice other kids. Only nannies have the time for such frivolous stuff.
7. If we do manage to run into another mommy - and I do manage to start a conversation, sonny invariably runs off. Fearing for his safety - I run after him, conversation dropped forthwith. Have you ever seen a mommy do that? They have nannies to run after their kids.
8. Mommies have serious hobbies, passions. They take tennis lessons in the morning, gym in the afternoon, golf in the evenings. I am so busy keeping pace with sonny - I have no time to indulge in hobbies. I manage to read a book in 10 days - and I thank the Lord for it.
9. I carry most of sonny's stuff - and he pushes his stroller on his own. Which mommy in her right mind would carry all the stuff herself?
10. I havent taken a single day off in the last 2 years. I am up for 'Best Employee' award.
So you see - the kid was right. Who in their right mind would think I was sonny's mom?
Hubby of course believes, I need to dress a lil more trendily - show some skin, wear a few spaghetti straps, maybe shorts some times - just to differentiate from the chastely dressed nannies. Get my hair colored. Nails done. Dress up like I have all the time in the world. Bah!!!!
P.S.: Moms here are predominantly of European descent. Eastern and Western. Some Arabs too. A sprinkling of Asian moms.