Living in Rome
I am angry today. Nothing to do with Rome, or my life here. It is about my daughter. At 18, she is faced with the abuse of authority adults can have with very young people. It infuriates me. She is in her first year of college at Amsterdam University and like all students of her age, she takes sporadic work to earn a bit of money. She started babysitting using a specific phone app, she had regular work mainly at weekends, families loved her and gave her excellent reviews. Everything was going well until she started working for a French lady, Mylene, married to a Dutch man. The lady in question was looking for someone to collect her eight and five-year old children from school twice a week at 2pm and look after them until her return at 6pm. She had found my daughter through the app, however, she asked her to work off the app so she could save up on the commission she had to pay. Not knowing what to do, my daughter accepted. However, after ten days, she realised that the job was far too demanding twice a week for the workload she had at college, the children were unbearably difficult and it was draining her. She would go there in a very happy mood and by the end of the afternoon, she felt completely deflated. On one occasion, the older boy, who is expert at throwing tantrums, locked her out in the garden and she had to spend 45 minutes trying to convince him to open the door. She called me for advice and I suggested that she quit the job if it wasn’t working. It was better for the children not to get used to her and for her to focus on her studies, taking occasional babysitting jobs instead.
When she told the lady in question she was quitting, the lady took it very badly and started insulting her via whatsapp messages in a very selfish way of handling the situation. She didn’t care about my daughter finding it too much and having to study hard to pass her exams, she didn’t care that she was abusing her authority towards a teenager, all she cared about was herself. It shows an impressive lack of maturity for someone who is supposed to be a responsible parent. As a matter of fact, she is struggling with a fast turnover of babysitters and childminders, who never want to stay long in her house. Even the day care centre didn’t work out for her children. That speaks for itself. Giving the responsibility of our children to someone else is not a task to be taken lightly. An 18 year-old girl can be a great babysitter and take care of smaller children for a few hours, playing and talking to them. She should not be given the task of educating children. That is up to the parents and if the parents need to work (like we all do), they hire a grown-up adult with experience and the right level of authority to handle children (particularly difficult ones). To add to her profile, the lady in question didn’t even pay my daughter for the work done. She owes her 40 euros, it is not much but for an 18 year-old student, it is a consequent amount. My daughter needs it to repair a tire and fix the brakes on her bike. The dreaded lady even wrote a bad review on the app, which she didn’t mind using again for that petty purpose. It is inevitable that, as my children grow and go out into the world, they will come across mean people. It makes me sad and angry to think about it as my instinct as a mother is to always protect them, but as they grow, I have to grow as well into my changing role as a mother. Oh baby, it’s a wild world….