In The Absence Of A Village

Being a modern parent is tough. In an era where we’ve lost our village, it makes parenting especially challenging and stressful at times. 

We have no village.

My village is my husband. That’s it. We have no family close by and so we have to lean in and prop each other up throughout our journey in parenting. There is no granny close by to babysit, no granny sleepovers at the weekends. This also means, there are no date nights and weekend lie-ins either. It’s hard and it takes its toll. It’s made harder by our individual work demands. And was seriously starting to take its toll.

I travel a fair amount for work. And I LOVE it. But it puts a huge amount of pressure on my husband when I’m away because he single-handedly has to manage our children and their schedules. Which on its own is not a problem, except it also means that he gets to work late each morning and has to leave early each afternoon. 

So we decided to do what we’ve done throughout our parenting journey.

In the absence of a village…. employ one!

We already count a team of people as part of our motley crewed village. There’s Eva, our Nanny, who our children adore and who I couldn’t cope without. There’s Sipho from Cool (Kids’) Cabs who handles all of my girl’s transport needs, safely and reliably and in a way that makes me know, they are as safe with her in the car as they would be with me. If not safer. And now we have Tamaryn!

We employed an Au Pair

I feel so fortunate to have found Tamaryn. She’s working as a part-time Au Pair for us during the week when we both need to work late or one of us is travelling. She’s has worked as an Au Pair for just over a year, so came with great experience and references and currently, she’s studying to be a Grade R – Grade 2 teacher. Which is perfect. She pulls in there in the afternoons, ensures Ava’s homework is done properly and that she understands her work and then she spends the rest of the time playing board games and doing creative crafts with the girls, which she tidies up before she leaves! AMAZING! 

She was still at our house when I arrived home from Durban on Thursday evening and she’d spent time creating Mother’s Day gifts with the girls for me. She’s become a gift in such a short space of time, Ava and Hannah are crazy about her and on Thursday, they phoned my husband to tell him not to come home early so Tamaryn could stay with them longer!

Unconventional Villages.

I guess that’s been the biggest realization out of all of this for me, realizing that while we don’t have a traditional village supporting and propping us up through our parenting journey, but we have a village none the less. An unconventional village but one I know I can always count on. 

Have you considered using an Au Pair to assist with your kids?

One of the reasons I resisted the Au Pair idea for so long is because I thought it would be so much more expensive than it actually is. And I can’t describe the relief I feel now that that additional element of pressure has been released. My girls are my everything and knowing that they’re safe, they’re happy and they’re being cared for in my absence as lifted my spirits. 

5 Comments

    • Sharon

      May 14, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      I was extremely fortunate, I asked on our community Whatsapp Group and got quite a few referrals there. Turns out Tamaryn lives in the complex just up the road from us. But I do know there are also a number of agencies you can use for this kind of thing too.

      Reply
  • Jeannette

    May 14, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    We had an Au Pair when I was working full time and she was amazing. If I had to leave early, she was there, no issues. She is a special person that I still spend time with even 3 years afterwards.

    Reply
    • Sharon

      May 14, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      That’s amazing. Our nanny is incredible, but she lives far away and I don’t feel right asking her to stay late. Also Tamaryn can help Ava with homework which is life changing!

      Reply

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