Brazilian Challenge Day 88: Nanny Battle 2

Worlds apart.

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.

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8 Responses to Brazilian Challenge Day 88: Nanny Battle 2

  1. Corinne says:

    haha! I was just talking to my faxineira today and she was telling me about a woman she works for who stiffed her on the bus money 2 weeks in a row and her pay last week. So she did not risk going to the house this week to get stiffed AGAIN. The woman called the faxineira’s sister 15 times that day looking for her. And this is a gig my faxineira got from another woman who had worked for the woman’s mother and then for her (so the maid was passd down a generation a la Help). I cannot understand why people do not pay decent wages and value their help more, especially now, when it is harder and harder to find someone. I just hope this nanny fight does not create familiar tension for you. Some people can really hold a grudge and it can get really unpleasant if they are part of your extended family.

    • It is insane. Regarding the familiar tension, it was already there because of something else they pulled on my husband’s birthday. Which is funny, she couldn’t call me to apologize for ruining my husband’s birthday party, but she could call me to discuss the nanny. Priorities!! HA!

  2. Blowing it up over 1 hour…how silly. Good luck!

    (FWIW- I think it’s low to take advantage of people who don’t have the power to force you to behave right.)

  3. You could give the nanny this book as a gift
    http://sinergianet.com.br/port/destaques.asp?cod_pagina=96
    It will teach her, in a concise read, how to look after her finances, and how to negociate. I think it is a spectacular book because, beyond simple and yet effective exercises, it touches upon other issues such as self worth and how that plays into how a person handles his/her money, and engages in positive or negative behavior when it comes to honoring agreements.
    Actually it sounds like your SIL could use this info alot more than your nanny: she would probably be a happier person if she did look into why she behaves in such rudimentary fashion, to then deal with it.
    I would think though that this education would make a much bigger difference for someone who works as a nanny since they are in a weaker position to begin with, hence every mistake takes a larger toll.
    There are also some exercises here that i think would be useful for children above age 12.

  4. scrubgrub says:

    Most of the babas in our neighborhood are good with the kids and can read. Some of them are students at the uni as well. But then again, maybe that’s just the babas at the park, and the ones that can’t read never leave the home. Way to take the passive aggressive Brasilian way, hope it works out for you in the end 🙂

    • There I go again, making generalizations. The babas/maids that we employed were/are a bit older. The younger ones probably can. But I get the impression that the ones you can read don’t really want to be babas.

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