Help you know I need somebody (The Beatles, 1967). As if there isn’t enough to deal with when you have a new baby, one of the biggest decisions that will need to be made shortly after baby arrives is who will care for the little mite when mum goes back to work? Options range from mum giving up work altogether, or at least for the first year. I must say that this option sounded most appealing to me, I imagined getting up after sunrise, turning to my beautiful baby who had slept all night, laying in our pyjamas watching tv until midday, going for a lunch time drive to the park and letting baby feed the ducks, an afternoon nap, and then just enough time for mum to prepare dinner before dad came home with flowers and chocolate. NO. By the third month of maternity leave, I was ready to leave my kid with whoever would have him. I was craving adult conversation, I was exhausted from the eat, poop, sleep routine – sorry did I say sleep, oh there was very little sleep, but the eating and pooping were going full steam ahead. Husband would walk in after a day at the office, to find me still in my pyjamas, nerves frazzled from dealing with baby all day and not a hint of dinner in the kitchen. So yes, that option didn’t work for me. That left us with finding a helper or putting baby into a crèche or day cay facility. I liked the idea of baby being in his own environment, one on one interaction with a Mary Poppins kind of nanny, who could clean, cook, give a spoon full of sugar and not break out into a cold sweat every time she had to change an up-the-back poo diaper. Yes, that sounded awesome, and so the interviews began! Candidate one couldn’t speak a word of English, how would we charade our way through normal day to day conversation, let alone an emergency at home when I was at work? Candidate two clearly had a drinking problem, and no amount of her perfume (and she did try) could mask the smell of brandy on a Monday morning. Candidate three looked like an ex-convict and I just couldn’t take the chance and candidate four was more interested in making her tea and sandwich before she even put her handbag down in the mornings. Two weeks before I was due back at work, we were still without help and then miraculously, we found Eva. Eva and Liam fell inlove with each other from day one. She looked after him like one of her own, and he loved her like a granny. She was also a great housekeeper and although we had minor bumps along the way, she was generally an asset to the family. Until she took us to the CCMA that is; literally days before I was due to give birth to Hannah. Moving on swiftly. My current helper didn’t get much of an interview. I needed a live in helper, and she came with her suitcase to the interview and she has never left. I love how she loves Hannah, so much so, that I am happy to overlook the coffee ring on the dining room table, or the dust settling on the tv unit. She cleans, cooks, looks after not only Hannah but the rest of us as well, and as a mother, I know that this is more than just a day job. Sometimes I see that look of despair in her eyes when I walk through the door at the end of the day, the same look I think I have on a Sunday afternoon, after a weekend spent with both kids. Other times I think she must be upset with me, judging by the overdose of salt in the dinner. And on other occasions I know I must have done something right to see my underwear neatly folded and sorted by colour. My helper is invaluable to me, and I’m not sure that our house would remain standing if it wasn’t for her, cleaning up after us. I’m often asked what I would rescue from a fire in my house and my first thought is always Zoleka, after my children, oh and the husband of course.

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