Last week, I was at a salon getting my hair done when I experienced a disturbing scene. There was this baby girl who was barely two years old and her hair was being blow dried. The poor baby was in so much pain and agony, she was screaming her lungs out.
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The salonist was so frustrated she kept giving up but the woman who had accompanied the child urged her on: “Mblodry tu mamake alisema lazima a-blowdry-iwe juu hiyo nywele imeshikana” (Go on and blowdry it because her mother said it must be done).
Apparently, the baby was also supposed to have her hair plaited pussycat style, a process that was equally agonising for the child because her scalp was sensitive. Seeing the pain the toddler was in, I on several occasions tried to plead that the child be left alone and brought back another day - but the woman was oblivious of the pain the child was going through. You see, she was busy giggling and chatting on her phone. She insisted, “lazima ashukwe, mama yake alisema.” (Her hair must be done, her mum said so).
The absentee mother ended up being portrayed as heartless but I had a feeling that had she been present to see the horror her baby was going through, she would have stopped the process immediately. But since she had delegated that role to someone else, her baby had to suffer. So this week I will address roles that a career mother, busy as she may be, must never delegate to a househelp:
Taking a toddler to the salon: When my daughter Tasha (now 7 years) was a toddler, I took her to the salon myself for her first visit just to see how she would behave. Luckily for me, baby girl enjoyed the maiden experience. The second time round, I would have assumed that, it would be an easy ride like the first and delegated the role to my househelp Mwende given that I was quite busy like we always are; but knowing that she was a baby, I created time and took her myself.
Those few minutes were horror. Baby was so cranky and in pain, before the salonist finished the first line, I told her to stop. I took baby girl home and cut the hair despite her father’s protests. I mean the pain I saw was too much and it was not worth it.
Bathing an infant: The role of bathing a newborn baby (three months and below) is such a delicate and intimate process; it should be done by the mother or a trusted guardian. Yes, I know we are busy building our careers and we rarely make it home on time, but busy as we may be, this is a duty that is best done by the mother of the child or a trusted relative like the mother-in-law.
Taking water to the bathroom for dear hubby: It has been said enough times in bridal showers so I will not linger on the point. Fellow mamas, do not sell our marital rights to the househelp.
Making the marital bed: Like it or not, your marital bed is your business and the househelp has no business with it. What happens in that bad is so sacred, only the players in that game should spread that bed.
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