Said with a knowing smirk, like they know something I don’t know.
This was the number one question asked of me when I told people we were moving to Israel. It was followed up with this nugget, ‘You know, you wont have a maid? You are going to have to do everything yourself!’
Its no secret that in South Africa a lot of people employ a maid/housekeeper/nanny/domestic worker.
I grew up with Ousie Paulina. She looked after the house, cooked meals, bathed me, dressed me and disciplined me. She also taught me to clear the table, wash dishes, make my bed and clean up after myself. She was my second mother growing up. She still works for my mom. I think she may decide to retire this year (although she says this every year and its yet to happen).
When we fell pregnant with Aaron we decided that we would like to employ a full time nanny/house keeper (we had previously had a lady come in twice a week to help with ironing and big cleaning). Having Aletta as part of our household was a privilege. She adores both my kids and they love her right back. In addition to helping me with the kids she also cleaned and helped prepare meals.
So, back to the question above.
It seriously annoys me. Did these people think I’m a spoiled princess? That I sat on my arse all day doing nothing? Did they think I was incapable of looking after myself? The tone of the question also set my teeth on edge, as if we had randomly decided to pack up and move our entire lives without making an informed decision.
Its not like I woke up one morning and hopped a plane to Israel and then said ‘Now what?’ This move took careful deliberation and planning. There were lots of pros and cons debated. We spent hours and days and weeks discussing why this would be a good move for us and our kids. Funnily enough the fact that we wouldn’t have a maid was never on our pro/con list.
Paul and I are both quite proficient cooks, what I cant make (rice), Paul can and vice versa. We both know how to run a load of washing. We are both quite capable of sweeping, mopping and vacuuming as well as changing linen and gasp looking after our children. In fact the only thing I’m not really any good at is ironing (I just cannot get it right) but guess what? Paul can iron.
Oh, and my kids? Well, even before we arrived in Israel, Aaron and Faith made their own beds and cleared their dishes from the table. They helped mop floors and wash dishes and Aletta helped teach them basic cooking and baking. My children were not spoiled or pampered then and they are not now.
When people asked me how we would cope, I would resist rolling my eyes and rather answered with ‘Just like everyone else.’