Eunice Wambui: Do not be afraid to take in househelps with kids

When asked if they can hire a househelp who needs to bring their child along, most women will answer with a resolute no! This is with good reason as some have tried only for the employer-employee relationship to end very badly.

Horror stories abound like the one that Mrs. Harriet Omari told in an interview. Omari said that she was desperate to go back to work and since the only available girl had a baby, she had no choice but to employ her.

That move would start a horror for her son who was only three months old as the attention of his minder was always divided, with much of it going to her own child. Omari, who is a clinician, said she started noticing that her son’s health was deteriorating every day. He lost weight, started coughing, and was generally pale. She asked a concerned neighbor to watch things for her and the report she got at the end of the week was disheartening.

According to the neighbor, the househelp would just focus on her child, feed him, bathe him and attend to him throughout the day. She did not feed her employer’s son according to the set timetable and only cleaned him when she knew the mum was about to come. They parted ways and Omari swore never to hire a househelp with a child again.

That story certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth and so do those from other women whose opinion we sought. However, is it always like that? Is there an exception? Apparently, there is an exception and this is Eunice Wambui, a former househelp who is nothing but grateful to her employer who took her in when she had nowhere else to go with her baby.

Fresh from high school, Eunice fell in love with her boyfriend and all was well until she got pregnant and the proverbial true colors came out. He abandoned her when the baby came and she went home rejected and dejected only for her father to throw her out as well. She then moved to her auntie’s place.

“I was very broke, having a child to feed with no job, pushed me to look for a job,” said Eunice.

When she met her employer, (she declined to name her to protect her privacy)   she was at the end of the road and Eunice says that she is especially grateful that her employer understood her situation.

“She was a good person, actually she understood me and the fact that I am a breastfeeding mom. I, however, did not take advantage of this and really appreciated the way she used to treat me and my child,” said Eunice

Eunice says that she found two children in that house who were the grandchildren of her employer. Although they were quite young, she did her best with them.

“I never favored anyone; I actually found them when they were too young to do anything for themselves and this includes washing their faces, bathing, eating on their own and so on. By the time I left the house, they could do all these things on their own, ” said Eunice

So how did she manage to look after her young child and the two children, with the firstborn being in class four and the youngest being a nursery school child?

“I used to plan my time wisely. This means that I had to wake up earlier than everybody else and do all the chores that usually take my time during the day. I would make sure that I have washed all the utensils that were used during supper. In the morning, I would wash all the clothes, make breakfast and prepare everything that was needed for the two children to be comfortable. If I was lucky, the baby would sleep for some few more hours and I would give my full attention to the two older kids until they left for school. ”

“Alternatively, I would put her down where I could see her and attend to the older children first. It worked for all of us, ” she said.

Eunice has nothing but kind words for her employer and she says,   “What I can say to my employer is a big thank you, she is the best and may God bless her richly because she never mistreated me and my kid in any way.”
Eunice has since moved on and she even put up a small cosmetics business in her estate but after some time, it went down after ghosts from her past in the person of her baby daddy and his current wife started following her. So bad was the harassment that she attempted suicide. However, after some counseling and her parents bringing her back to their fold, she now feels that she is stable enough to start another business.
Eunice still dreams of having a beauty shop, only this time it should be bigger and better than the one she had. To get there, she has to get a job so that she can raise capital to start her business.
“I am still looking for a job as I am not stable financially. When I get a job I will save enough money to put up a huge wholesale and retail business in Juja town. I also intend to go back to college to get a diploma in Business management,” said Eunice
When asked if she had a message for other moms looking to hire househelps, Eunice said, “I would tell them not to be afraid even if there are more negative stories than the positive ones. It is not everyone who is like that and people have different personalities. Having a child there should not prevent someone from working, they only need to plan their time well and respect their employer. “
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