Responsibilities...where and when do you draw lines...

@vandana7 (64881)
India
January 21, 2013 2:52am CST
So my maid had four kids, one died ..of cancer. Left with two sons and one daughter, she was literally forced to bring up the daughter's daughter by the daughter ...simply because she couldnt afford adequate dowry. Ok..so you would thinks sons would be any better...the elder one has left her home..doesnt pay any maintenance..and instead, comes once in a while to yell at her, after all she used his dowry monies to arrange for his marriage. She wants to earn enough to repay him back every rupee she used up for function hall, meals, clothes for bride and bride's family, clothes for herself, her children, her husband, and grand children. If wishes were horses, she would like to wear a gold chain of about 20 gms or so before her husband passes away. Now...the second son is a drunkard. He rarely goes out for work. Here, this 56 year old lady with a wide range of health problems, struggles to make two ends meet, and there her son drinks regularly and comes home. I have asked her to stay with me, and told her that let her kids go their way. But she is the typical mother - the format created by local movies. Still my maid says she wants to get her son married. She feels that once he gets married, he will realize his responsibilities. I think he would not. A boy who does not have love in his heart for his mother, is hardly likely to love his wife as much. But my maid brushes off my apprehensions, as something I dont know. What would be your call on this...is she still responsible for her kids? And when would you be ok to say no to your kids, and no to your parents.
3 people like this
11 responses
• United States
21 Jan 13
This is a sad story. It seems that everyone has maids over there. That, in itself, amazes me. We do our own housework. I don't understand this dowry. It seems like a real burden to have children. I don't feel like the adult kids should expect that their poor mother owes them money. Let them get out and get a job and work themselves through university like people here do. We don't expect our parents to foot the bill on everything. If they are rich, maybe parents plan for that. But the average parents cannot foot the bill. When getting married the first time, the girl's parents usually pay for the wedding, but if they are not affluent, they can't pay that.
@jkct02 (2859)
• Malaysia
21 Jan 13
The maids themselves do not have maids I think. :)
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
21 Jan 13
PQ...labor is very cheap out here. For approximately 3000 INR - which is about 65 USD, the woman would sweep, mop, cook, do dusting, dry clothes, fold clothes, wash vessels, etc. If we dont employ them, who will...they will starve! The government has no way to ensure the survival of such people who are uneducated, and exist helplessly. There are many who dont use the services of maids. But I think those who can afford that much should employ because this class of people who is surviving in approximately 65 to 100 is truly pushed to the corners. If she comes here, she gets breakfast, which helps her survive the day. If she remains at home, she starves. Luckily she can manage to survive in about 4500 or so that she earns. Cost of living is low, and there are food varieties that these people can eat for surviving. It is better than eating rats...there are communities in Bihar and Jharkhand that are so poor that they catch mice and eat. When I learnt of it, I cried. My maid dotes on me. She feels looked after and cared. It does stretch budget, and we do have to work for that. But we are educated, and we can, but they cant earn because they are not educated. Right? Where do they go...
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
21 Jan 13
And dowry is given by girl's parents to the bridegroom's family. The object was to pay for maintenance of the girl, or may be to give the girl's share out of her parent's earnings. Whatever it was, it has become something that boys demand...shamelessly. Girls too pay because they dont want to work. In a way it is understandable. Working has its hazards out here. But not working because they are lazy and then taking their parent's hard earned monies is rotten.
@hora_fugit (5442)
• India
21 Jan 13
I thought the idea 'everything will get straight once he/she gets married' had become a thing of past! So, will he become responsible? More likely not. Only one more person will get added to earn for his drinking habit and be subjected to his yellings... is that any good for the one who marries him? No. I don't think you can say no to your parents, like this much was my responsibility, I did that now you fend for yourself. To kids you can do that, though helping them get started is better... no, required. This son is grown up enough to find his own way, no need to be helped by his mother. What do the other two men in the family do? Sorry I did not understand the line about daughter's daughter by daughter... Also, why does she need to repay? Did she borrow money from his elder son? Seems it was spent on him only!
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
21 Jan 13
She brought up her grand daughter...the daughter of daughter. The daughter did not take up the responsibility of her daughter till this year. My maid was so fed up with that responsibility that she tried to push the girl on me, and I had to be very firm on that one. :) But I guess, she has accepted that I was not interested. Well whatever came in, she spent on mangalsutra, and costly sarees for the incoming daughter in law. She also bought clothes for other family members. Son's contention is ...she should have borrowed for marriage hall, and all those clothes, instead of using up the monies that his wife brought in as dowry.
@prashu228 (25811)
• India
22 Jan 13
yes vandana I too didn't understand why should she repay the money after all the money is used for the boys marriage . I think she don't have that much knowledge to ask her son about this.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
22 Jan 13
Yes...she is very traditional...and very self respecting. So she has this need to clear her name...
@rambansal (576)
• India
21 Jan 13
If the children are not well educated and mannered, parents are to be blamed in the first place. But since parents too are problematic and too busy with problems of survival, they shouldn't be blamed as per our social norms. Still, they are responsible for giving birth they can't afford to up-bring well, hence, are culprits working against the whole humanity apart from being against their own children. A person in my village has 7 sons from his handicapped wife, and keep on asking for governmental aids for the poor and incapable but forgets his poverty and incapability of his wife while producing children. Mostly, Muslims are producing children like this to become burdens on society. Another Muslim has 6 daughters and two sons from his beautiful wife and keeps on looking for aids from the government. A third one has 54 members in his family of 4 generations. We are severely burdened with overpopulation, and the population rise is aimed at establishing community rule over the country through so-called democracy.
@prashu228 (25811)
• India
22 Jan 13
hi I thought as per the government rule everyone is having only two children these days. Atleast as far as i saw it is like that. But now i came to know that all are not following the rule. I was just wondering when people of India are following the rule (only two children) why is the population increasing so much ohh then this is the reason .
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
22 Jan 13
Rambansalji...I have had experience of dealing with some good muslims in my lifetime. One was a former tenant ..he stopped with two kids and one wife...though his law and his religion allowed him to have more. He was also rich enough to afford more than one wife, and more than two children since he worked in Syndicate bank as loan manager. Then I came across a new tenant who is not as well educated, and is really hardworking guy, and extremely honest at least with me. He too has only two kids, and one wife, and a full stop after that. Our family friend has a muslim driver since last 25 odd years. The guy is so nice...Pathan. He has only one son, and only one wife. His wife has been on bed for almost 20 years, and this guy has done everything during the period like cooking, cleaning, bathing her, and all that. That is a lady I can envy. And I also know of many Hindus who have equal number if not more children. Lets not make this Hindu Muslim thing but "breed if you can feed" thing, shall we?
@Kalyni2011 (3503)
• India
22 Jan 13
I am with Santosh my elder son in Hyderabad, the present maid servant Ranga is 50+, she was telling me her story, which is very similar to what you have shared here.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
22 Jan 13
As educated people, we have equipped our kids adequately so that they dont depend upon us. But uneducated ones are still following the age old tradition...endless motherhood. Somewhere it has to stop...she is also a woman, and she also has a right to live.
@Angelpink (4023)
• Philippines
22 Jan 13
Motherhood is a lifetime profession , a 24 hour responsibilities for life. No time outs and no sick leave . Motherhood is not only next to divinity , in itself is a divine thing. That is why mothers should be a ray of values , at an early life of kids , good values must be instilled in the minds so when they grow up , they would turn to be a loving , responsible person. Children at an early stage must have been given 200% affection and love because later in life when they will try to walk in their own road , they will show nothing but the things being shown and given to them by mothers. Some bad guys if you will trace their history , they have no home and mother who have wrapped them with loved and affection. I salute your helper but there is something she forgot to teach her kids at an early life , the value of self reliance and independence . Even in an older age she still works and adult kids still is dependent in her ? The right thing is , in her age she could have stop working as a helper , maybe have small business of her own . Being a helper is not easy , it is a very tedious job . It must have been the adults who should be working then give a little support to the moms. Hope one day these adults will realize things and starts to work and sweat before it is too late.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
24 Jan 13
Lifetime profession but confined only to her child, and not to the next generation? If this guy continues to be like this, then his children would also suffer isn't it? How can the mother forget her grandchildren - whether conceived or not as yet? If realization had to dawn, it would have by this time...the guy is in early thirties for god's sake..and he is the youngest boy. I have, with great difficulty, managed to make her daughter work. My next challenge is to send this guy to work, and stop him from drinking. I hope my maid does not get him married in the interim.
@MaylaJay (350)
21 Jan 13
Some countries say that she is still responsible for her kids. If she was in America and had more choices, I'd say she could dump her kids as obviously they have dumped her. In some countries, she just wouldn't have the options to do this.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
25 Jan 13
I gave her the option...I asked her to leave...she is not willing. She wants her son married, and she wants to stay with him. I told her she is better off in our homes, she saves on rent, and power and water and food. For fraction of second, she does sway...then when she sees her son, she is back to where she was. She needs to draw a line. If she does that, he will become responsible.
@jkct02 (2859)
• Malaysia
21 Jan 13
Motherly love is the greatest! In the case of your maid, she may seem foolish and pitiful to us, but in her heart, she is willing to do what she can for her useless sons. I am sure she does all that with love for her two sons although her sons do not seem to love their mother as much. It saddens me to think that the life of a woman can be that painful. At her age, she should be enjoying the filial piety of her sons and daughters, and yet she still has to work hard and worry for them. The dowry system in your country... it is a headache for me to try to understand that in this age of our world. I am not looking down on tradition. But I feel those practices should have been a thing of the past. Those acts bring a lot of pains - anybody there doing something to change that?
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
25 Jan 13
Oh pls..look down on our dowry tradition...we are pained by it...and dont know how to surface from it. I agree she is foolish..
@thesids (22358)
• Bhubaneswar, India
21 Jan 13
Three things get involved here - 1. She is a mother (Biggest of all factors) 2. She is a typical Indian with the typical Indian Mentality (this complicates the matter) 3. She is not that rich where she can keep herself hooked on to the FB or the kitty parties and forget completely about the family and other things. Legally, she is not responsible to the kid anymore as they are all adults but owing to the #1 and #2 I mention above, she cannot run away from those assumed and expected duties. Sad, but I guess we all would do the same - I have doubts if anyone with an Indian heart and a mother would ever write against this thought.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
25 Jan 13
I would not..lol. :) I mean..if my son was not becoming responsible..I would have only one sentence to tell him, its your life, you earn for your food, clothing, shelter, and medicines. Out you go. Sometimes harsh medicines work better than love.
• India
21 Jan 13
Most maids are like that, so i am not surprised to hear this story; why only maid servant's kids, many highly qualified men behave their mother this way; the wife is every thing for them, parents are worst than dogs. Yes she had high expectations but that is gone.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
25 Jan 13
Luckily no...the other maid that my neighbors recruited is leaving on the first. So she would continue with them. :) As to her son...I hope no girl is stupid enough to marry him.
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
21 Jan 13
Many maids have such stories Vandana! I too have come across such drunkard fathers and sons exploiting the women of the house to the hilt...These women not only slog their lives out they also have an outdated sense of family, marriage and children. I know one young girl who is a personification of sacrifice [imagines herself to be the heroine of “Anthuleni Katha”] and all the members of her family make full use of her. It is sad but in your servant’s case, she is old and would be even less selfish than a modern youngster. What you say is right. Why should the second son be married at all? His wife will only come in and get beaten up in the process. If some educated girl comes in, she is sure to leave him. She will not listen to you; then she would get some sense in her head.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
24 Jan 13
She is weird...its common sense...I am taking pains to repeat the same line every day...if the son doesnt love his mother, he cant love his wife and kids. I am hoping she will reflect upon it whenever she gets a few moments of her own. I am also trying to scare her saying that the bride who comes in without knowing the drawbacks would not work, and in the process she would have to fend for the son, his wife, and his children. This one is making her think. But the society is so bad Kala. Every once in a while, she is asked, when she will get her son married? It may be a way to ridicule her, or genuine query because of traditional approach. Whatever it is, it has made my maid very stubborn about finding a bride for her son, and unfortunately, no girl's father is willing to give away his daughter in such a marriage. Lets see how things pan out.
@pomwango (1355)
• Kenya
21 Jan 13
unfortunately the role of a mother is a hard job,so hard and at times taken for granted sadly a mum will never give up despite her children's bad behaviour towards her.such a man even if he marries if he cant respect the woman who gave birth to him will never respect a wife.let her try and talk to him to change but encourage her to let him make his own choices,she should not sacrifice too much of herself.
@vandana7 (64881)
• India
24 Jan 13
She has ben talking to him since ages but not punishing him. In some ways, I hold her responsible. If she refuses to feed him, or fend for him, where will he go? She can close the door of her home, isn't it? But she doesnt. I think motherhood is not about loving blindly. It is also about ensuring that future generations are not inconvenienced. Obviously, if this guy marries, his children will suffer. My maid cant live long enough to fend for them!!! Right?