Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 43, Tuesday March 30, 2004






Baby-sitting: A growing concept

Sonia Sarwar has a very difficult time looking after her toddler. The two-year-old kid simply hates to be in any kind of public gathering. This little boy has always enjoyed being at home or at least, in a home-like setting. It's for this toddler that Sonia has quit meeting her friends and getting together with her cousins and aunts.

She can't leave him home at the mercy of the housemaid because the maids, she often feels are not just trustworthy enough. With all the incidents she reads in newspapers of housemaids murdering their mistresses and stealing small children gives a chill down her spine. There is no way she can leave her little Saif to the hands of a woman who has been working at her home for no more than 8 months.

Yes, Sonia does love to be with her child, play with him, bathe him, dress him and feed him. However, there are moments when she wants to be all by herself with her friends, close relatives or alone with her husband. Sonia can't remember the last time she and her hubby went out for a dinner. She missed the last picnic arranged by her ex college's alumni association; she has not chatted over a cuppa with her friends since time immemorial. These days she feels so exhausted; there is simply no room for respite. All the sweetness of being a full-time mother seems to be lessening...

The above story is probably a reflection of your life as well. From the day a woman is blessed with a child, she is often deprived of all the fun and lighter sides of life. Becoming a mother is tough, and the scenario gets even worse if you are a working mother. Wouldn't it be simply wonderful if you had someone at home to take care of your little one, someone reliable, educated and, most importantly, motherly? Sadly, since the concept of the joint family is becoming almost out of date in our culture, today a home is comprised of parents and a child or two. Had it been in one of the western countries and you were faced with the same above dilemma, then you could just drop your child at a baby sitter for an hour or two and relish some fun-filled hours with your hubby or your friends.

At the same time, your child would have been gifted with a second home. In Bangladesh too, baby-sitting has bright prospects; all that is required is a little change in attitude. Many educated young women and housewives of our society can definitely take up the job of baby-sitting. The hard fact is that there is a growing need for babysitters in many well-to-do families of Bangladesh.

While we prepared this article, we failed to find and talk to women, who want to baby-sit to add some extra earnings to their family income. However, we talked to R.Khan, an educated middle aged woman, who believes that baby-sitting is a prospective job for our local women and she is very much willing to baby-sit little children (aged within 2 to 5 years) at her home. Her residence is in Uttara and any willing parents, who are longing for a moment of respite in life, can drop their child at Mrs.Khan’s care. Her address is House # 39, Road # 3, Sector # 5, Uttara. Ph # 8918730( call after 3p.m.). The added bonus here is that she has an experience 33 years of handling kids of this age, she can also ready your child for school, give them pre-school training while you leave them with her. She is available after 3pm and will keep your child till 8pm, according to your need.

In the countries of the West, it's often the high school goers, who baby sit to raise their pocket money, tuition fees and other miscellaneous expenses of their day to day life. Many young women of our country are working in dress boutiques, general stores and fast food outlets. Today young girls are choosing professions that were merely unimaginable some 15 or even 10 years back.

Baby-sitting could also win an enviable rank in the list of jobs that young girls opt to do today. If you feel that your baby sitter is reliable enough, then you could also just ring her up and ask her to come over to your place and stay with your child for a few hours. This would prevent the hassle of getting your child ready and dropping him/her at the baby sitters' place.

Remember, though that baby-sitting is totally different from the idea of a day-care centre. At a day-care centre, you leave your child with the centre for a major portion of the day, say, from morning till noon. However, a baby sitter will look after your child for an hour, 2 hours or so. Say for instance, you can leave your child to the baby sitter and go out with your hubby for a dinner at a hotel, or to a wedding reception or to a kitty party or even to the kitchen market for your monthly grocery shopping. If you have been looking forward to involving yourself in a part time job, then you can take up that job too if you have a baby sitter to look after your child for a few hours. All you have to do is prepare your kid with his food, clothes, diapers and other necessities.

If every area had baby sitters of its own then more and more women could join the workforce and contribute to the society. At the same time, many women could earn some hard cash by caring for the little children at absolutely no cost.

Both the economy and the society would be benefited if our women come up and accept this job like any other profession.

If any one of you out there is willing to take up baby sitting as a profession, you can contact Star Lifestyle; in our subsequent issues, we will print your names and addresses for the benefit of those who are eager to acquire your service. However, it would be entirely up to the parents to judge the eligibility and trustworthiness of these young girls or women.

By Wara Karim

Reader's Chit
Pet story

I would love to own a pet again but my nomadic existence just will not permit it. How will I, at a moment's notice, be able to fly off to New Delhi in response to family exigencies? Do I have the energy to be the sole care giver of a dog or cat? Besides, losing a pet to death is as painful as the loss of a loved one, which I discovered in my early adolescence.

I have been an animal lover since as long as I can remember. As a young schoolgirl in Delhi I had two catsTessie (a beautiful Cheshire Cat) and Blackie (an all black cat of uncertain pedigree)from Assam in Northeast India. Yet my favourite pet was my cocker-spaniel dog Sooty. An all black dog, except for a small white patch on his neck, he became an integral part of my life. Walking Sooty, feeding and brushing his glossy black coat became part of my routine. My pet was very popular with my friends and I often wondered whether they came to see him or me.

Then there were birds and puppies that I would bring home and look after. When I was about nine I joined the Society for Prevention for Cruelty against Animals (SPCA) which ran a shelter for stray animals. I still have memories of Crystal Rogers, the dynamic British woman who steered the SPCA in Delhi. Every month I would get newsletters from them with an account of their activities and I would call on them sometimes to take away stray animals near my house.

I went to boarding school in the Shimla Hills when I was 10. I was sad to leave my dog and family but I was steeped in the imaginative stories of Malory Towersmidnight feasts, pranks on teachers and close friendshipsso vividly brought to life by Enid Blyton. Every time I came home from school, Sooty would give me a warm welcome and I would spend my holidays looking after him.

Then, at the age of 13, I spent my winter holidays with an aunt and cousin in Delhi since my parents were out of station. It was while my mother and father were abroad that my beloved Sooty died. It was a turbulent time since I went back to school still grieving over the death of my dog. For reasons, which I could not understand then, I was alone in my sorrow and nothing would fill the void that I then experienced in my life. I remember the tears rolling down my cheeks in the school chapel as the girls and boys sang the hymn, "Lead, Kindly Light", particularly at words at the end: "And with the morn those Angel faces smile, which I have loved long since, and lost awhile."

After that, there were no more animals at home. I had to content myself with the pets of friends and familya pet parrot called Ricky who liked to be stroked on the neck and would call his own name, a Dalmatian and a greyhound. Now and then when I see an animal in my friends' homes, I am tempted to buy a cocker spaniel again, but I have to contend with the opposition I face from my family. Maybe in more congenial climes my dream will become a reality.

By Kavita Charanji



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