Although the web of interdependent relationships between a nanny, a mother and her children sometimes gets complex, a couple in Dubai, Rowena and Tarek Karaman, found a friend in their Filipina nanny.
Rowena recalls how she felt comfortable the first time she met Filipina Ana Fernandez. “I think you get a good gut-feeling as a mother when someone is right for your family. You seem connected on multiple levels,” says Rowena to The Filipino Times.
She believes that their instant connection with the Filipina comes from the fact that Ana is also a mother. The Filipina has a child left back home, who is the same age as Rowena’s daughter named Abla.
Rowena says their experiences as both mothers bind them together, for she knows that the Filipina will look after her daughter as much as she does.
“We talked about her [daughter], which at first I was a bit unsure to talk about because I know it might quite upset being here,” says Rowena.
“She once told me that she wants to spend time with a family whose child is similar age to her own daughter so she knows how to relate with her when she talks to her over the phone, and how to spend time with her when she returns to the Philippines.”
For any mother, her level of satisfaction for the service of her children’s nanny will depend on how they get on, but for the most part, it will depend on how the nanny takes care of her wards. As regards that, Rowena says the Filipina has exceeded beyond their expectations. “Ana is incredible. I am thankful for all the heartwarming things she does for Abla and I am sure that is a trait that comes exactly from the Philippines,” she says.
At the center of the equation is the Filipina’s longing for her own daughter that translates to what she does for Rowena’s family, especially for Abla. In the eyes of her employer, the Filipina doesn’t feel that taking care of Rowena’s daughter is something that she has or need to do. The bottom line is, although rearing someone else’s children is her job, her employer feels that it’s not just a job for the Filipina nanny.
“She is not just doing it because it is her job. She rarely has her phone out when she is with Abla. If she does, she connects with other nannies so Abla could play with other kids in the compound. She always thinks of new ideas when playing with Abla.
She’s very creative. She always makes new arts and crafts and invents new games,” says Rowena.
Rowena appreciates Ana’s efforts, too, in letting her daughter see the world, meet other people, and experience things that a normal child would like to do. Sometimes, Ana takes Abla to the mall, ride the Metro, roam around the city, and even bring Abla with her to Philippine Consul Office in Dubai.
“Freedom of choice and trust is so important. I definitely trust Ana and I think there is mutual respect within the family,” she explains.
She adds that in a span of two years, her daughter can now also speak and pick up some Filipino words. And her daughter’s favorite breakfast? “Abla loves pandesal which Ana buys in a nearby bakery.”
This connection between her daughter Abla and Ana is the main reason that they treat the Filipina as a friend and a part of their family.
“She takes care of the most valuable thing for us, our daughter Abla. Why would I treat someone who takes care of her without respect or without kindness,” Rowena says.
Grateful to the Filipina, the couple offered to finance the education of Ana’s daughter. There was a time when Ana needed Php10,000 for her daughter’s tuition fee, the couple decided to give her Php20,000 so she could use the extra cash to buy her daughter’s requirements at school.
Aside from this, Rowena and Tarek often go out of their way. In September 2016, they took her out to celebrate her birthday. But that’s not all. As their birthday gift to her, they bought her a roundtrip ticket to visit her daughter back home.
Rowena clarifies that the things they do for Ana are not rewards, but are due small gestures that employees must extend to someone who takes care of their children.
“Both my husband and I don’t think we’re doing something special. We would do this to someone we care about. We care a lot about Ana. If she is feeling down, I wanna know why so I can help her. If she is celebrating something, I want to give her time to celebrate. She has a life outside of this family that we also want her to be able to develop,” Rowena explains.