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Whose child is it anyway?
Are you handing over your parenting duties too freely to your helper? Masanda Peter admits she’s done it.
I went out shopping with my son the other day and realised that he did not have his socks on and his feet were cold. Just as I was starting to get irritated that the helper did not put the socks on, I remembered that he is my child at the end of the day. I should have checked that he had his socks on before leaving the house, especially since it was cold. I had played no role, but was ready to blame someone else.

Having a reliable helper is the greatest blessing ever. If you are a busy mother it can reduce the stress levels of having to worry about the child at home.

But just how much we delegate to helpers in our homes? Since we have the helpers do we still play an active role in taking day-to-day care of our children? Yes we drive them to school in the mornings, give them pocket money or read them bedtime stories but when last did you give your child a bath yourself? When last did you prepare lunch even if it’s just once a week?

I am guilty as charged because in the mornings I need to prepare for work while the helper is assisting with getting him ready. But I really want to make an effort of being involved where I can. He is my child and I want him to feel that on all levels. I do not want our interaction to be limited to when he needs to get in the car on his way to school.

Giving him a bath in the evenings, when I am not working late could be a start. Yes, time is limited but I think if I and perhaps other mothers out there make an effort it can be done. I know you pay the helper for that kind of work but it’s important to do this once in a while.

The other day I was sitting next to a lady who was upset because the helper forgot to put in extra nappies for the child. This really got me thinking that we rely so much on our helpers that we also tend to forget that we have a role to play in our children’s’ lives.

There are cases where helpers even share their rooms with small kids and they would be the ones to wake up and night and bottle feed them. I think this should not be a daily occurrence. I really think it is unfair.

As mothers we really needn’t delegate so much that we become passive parents and stop being operational. It’s enough that our kids get to spend time with the helpers during the day but the important role of being a hands-on mother should not be confused. With good planning it can be done.

How much day-to-day childcare do you think is suitable to delegate to other caregivers, and what do you prefer to do yourself?

Read more by Masanda Peter 

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