I know. Silly that two days worth of Brazilian experience would involve fighting about a nanny. I agree. But this is all about cultural immersion. Right?
The fighting is really one sided, meaning I’m not fighting, I’m just laughing. But what’s not funny is the way some Brazilians regard their help. As objects they own. No kidding. See “The Help.”
Not only did I receive an email last night, Day 88 of my Brazilian Challenge, that outlined how and why the baba (Brazilian term for nanny) was the other party’s property, but the mother in question has no regard for the baba whatsoever. The baba needs money, which is why she is working the extra days with us. However, my sister-in-law would rather see her lose this gig that lose the fight over one hour of the baba’s time. One hour that she was not receiving from the baba anyway before we hired her. (The baba lives far away, so the SIL figures she can get extra time out of her if she is coming from just down the street, our building, than if she is coming on a bus three hours away.)
I don’t want to generalize, but some of the Brazilian priorities are mind-boggling. There are quite a few Brazilian women I know who treat their help like crap and then they totally fall apart when they quit or suddenly get “sick.”
But they probably learned this behavior from their own mothers.