While domestic help is relatively easy to find in Mexico, I have a hard time keeping nannies since I only work part-time. Many of them leave when they find full-time work. It was just last week that I was speaking casually to a good male friend of mine who works at a local restaurant, as a beach waiter. When I found out the terrible salary that he makes, I told him to come work for me and he can make more money and be more comfortable. He already knows my daughter well, he is a dad to 3 girls and a boy, so he has plenty of experience and I trust him in my home. The very next day after this conversation, my nanny sent me a message that due to a medical issue with her child, she would not be able to work the entire week. I am a single mom with my sole income to support my daughter, so canceling a week of work is not an option. So, I put it out there to my friend and asked him if he could be my manny for the week. And he said yes.
This was a surprise in itself since Mexican men have the reputation of a “machismo” culture and there are still a lot of men who would look down on working in a domestic situation, but we decided to give it a try. After all, I was desperate as a single mom in a foreign country with no relatives around. My expectations were really low, I just asked him to keep her alive, but wow did I end up impressed by the end of the week.
For 4 days, we did this experiment and each day was filled with some kind of surprise. On the first day – he came to me while I was working holding her at arm’s length because she had a dirty diaper. I thought he was expecting me to stop working and to change her diaper but he was just asking where the diapers and wipes were. Then, you wouldn’t believe my shock when I finished work and slumped off to the kitchen to find food for dinner. It was immaculate. He cleaned! He took out the trash without asking! And then he made me dinner! Even my houseguest commented on what a great job he had done in comparison to my previous female nannies.
On day 2, I made him a special dinner to genuinely thank him for impressing me so much with his hard work and how well he takes care of my daughter. Again, once she was in bed, he was cleaning up and keeping himself busy. My bedroom was cleaned and he even organized my clothes. I was beginning to feel spoiled but there was more to come.
On day 3, he decided that he would also like to take care of my garden. I have been in this house for four months now and I have never bothered to do anything with the garden. It was very overgrown and looked terrible. I also don’t have a green thumb so the potted plants were pretty sorry looking. He went and bought the tools necessary and got to work. It became late so he decided to finish the next day.
On day 4, I walk into my bedroom and see that they are both napping. I guess taking care of a toddler again was a bit tiring for him.
But he woke up in order to finish the garden before I even started working. My favorite moment that day was when I asked him to make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and to cut it into squares and triangles. I should have specified four pieces but in the end, she ate most of the sandwich so his way worked just fine.
Overall, the manny experiment was a great success. Unfortunately, he is moving on to a new job and won’t be available to be with me permanently, but it has opened my eyes to the possibility of hiring male employees. In addition to babysitting, I received a chef, a cleaner, a gardener and a handyman all in one!