Monday, March 09, 2009

Kids and maids

This post, about maids looking after kids, has been simmering in my mind for a very, very long time now. I didn't want to sound judgemental or righteous, nor did I want to comment on a trend that has almost been accepted as a way of life, whatever be the reason. But I feel very strongly about this and as such things go, strong feelings ought to be purged, or else!

I know perfectly well all the reasons that people employ maids. Just because I could easily chuck my hated job to look after my baby, it doesn't mean that I am insensitive to all those mothers who care so much about their career. Just because I have hard-headedly decided to do everything on my own around the house, it doesn't mean that I find it easy and fun. It doesn't mean that I have very often wished that there was someone who would just watch my child as I caught forty winks, or someone who would engage her as I sat back and sipped tea and read the newspaper, and a million such small things. But so far, I have been able to manage, mainly due to S~, who gets back from work and looks after Puttachi for a while, while I put my feet up, and who helps me with the housework even after a long day, so that I can get to do the things I like after Puttachi goes to bed, and hence feel normal after an insane day. I know that not everybody has these luxuries, and I am thankful for them. But that will not stop me from expressing my concerns.

It was in my township that I first noticed a maid looking after two young girls, because both the husband and wife went out to work. The maid in question was terribly young herself, certainly not more than 12. And she was extremely dirty. Unwashed face, snot pouring out of her nose, uncombed hair, dirty hands - the works. And she looked after these two kids, daughters of my father's colleague, by which reasoning the girls were like us. I don't want to go into details, but even to my young mind, that concept put me off, and probably scarred me for life.

That of course, must have been an extreme case. The maids I see now are older, much smarter, very clean and neat. Yet, I fail to understand how a maid can fit into a mother's shoes, even temporarily.

I don't know how it works inside the house - the mother-maid-child relationship, because I can't say that I have seen any such cases up close. My experiences are only those on the outside.

Case 1: When both mother and maid are around: In malls or in the market or in the park, the mother glides through, impeccably dressed, smiling a gracious smile out of a perfectly lipsticked mouth, every hair in place, every crease in her dress perfectly aligned, while behind her comes a huffing and a puffing maid, carrying a child, the child's bag, and shopping bags if any. [I have seen two maids too, sometimes]. Then there are those maids who sit on a different table at a restaurant, feeding the children and themselves, while at the next table sit the child's parents, "enjoying" a "relaxed" meal. If the child cries, it is the maid's problem. But if an acquaintance is sighted, then the child is picked up and shown off to gushes and gurgles, and then agian deposited with the maid to do the dirty work. And then there are those maids at a park, who engage the child in play while the mother just sits there and does nothing. I have seen other moms who go for a walk when the said maid is engaging the said child, and I approve of that. Makes the best use of the situation. Then there are those moms like these in LAK's post.

Case 2: When only the maid is around: The best place to watch this phenomenon unfold is the park. Elsewhere, it could be a one-off situation. But in the park, you know that it is not so. My pet example is this old maid who brings a three-four year old boy everyday. She is undoubtedly sincere. She carries the boy all the way, and brings along a big bag too, full of toys and a waterbottle and a change of clothes. Every day, her routine is the same. She puts the boy on the swing for five minutes, takes him to the slide for five minutes, and so on until a round of all the playthings is done, after which she puts him on the sand and gives him his implements to play. If there is any slip in schedule, for example, if the boy doesn't want to play the merry go round, he gets a rain of curses on his small head, and he is forced to comply. If he dilly-dallies on top of the slide, examining the rods, for example, or looking up at the sky to see an aeroplane, this old lady shouts at him not to waste time and to slide down immediately. Every single day, these two arrive at the park, and not once have I seen a smile on either one's face. Ok, forget the old maid who might have problems of her own. But a three year old boy without a smile? No smile on the slide, no smile on the swing, no interest in anything, always staring off into space with a vacant look. It pains me to look at him, it breaks my heart. I tried to engage him in conversation once, using all the broken Tamil I knew, but he just wouldn't respond. I let Puttachi loose upon him, but he just looked through her. I had to give up. I wonder what extreme necessity it is that makes the boy's parents/caregivers not be there for him.

I also remember two little boys in the park I used to go to previously. Each boy had a maid for himself. The younger of the boys, about a year old, wet his pants and the maid just let it be. Wet and stinking. Another time, she made him pee right there in the kids play area, where other kids play in the sand. She also tried making him walk barefoot on the sand, and the other maid scolded her. "What if he cuts his foot or something! Their mother just goes kwa-kwa-kwa for everything. She is a witch, she is ruthless, she has no heart. If he gets hurt, we will get it properly." Now, the older boy was old enough to understand all that was being said about his mother. I looked at his face - there was no expression. Was all that so common that it didn't affect the boy anymore? What on earth will he think about his mother?

This is just one aspect. I have seen other maids who truly enjoy being with their wards. They laugh, talk and sing, and they obviously have fun with them. And that's great. But yet. Yet I feel that with the mother around, the child would have got a more wholesome experience. But then, that's just my opinion.

Having said all this, I am fully aware that I am not in a position to judge anybody. I do not approve of how maids are being employed to care for their children. Their role is becoming increasingly greater, gradually replacing the mother more and more. And that is what troubles me. While a maid as a help and a temporary companion is understandable, the fact that a child has to spend a majority of its time with someone who is not an immediate member of the family - it troubles me. While it might actually work out beautifully if there is a great maid, my guess is that such people are very rare.

I've got it all out - well, almost, so that should give me a peaceful night.


Collection Of Stars said...

Shruthi, I belong to your category. I quit my job to be with my child :)
I was working till she was 2.5 years. I would leave her with my mom when I was at work and we had a maid come in to take her to the park in the evenings. The maid was a middle aged lady and she took really good care of my daughter.
I then decided to quit my job (the reasons being to spend time with my daughter and also giving my mother a much needed breather) and stopped the maid completely. One week down the line, what the other moms at the park had to say was an eye-opener for me. They said that when my daughter would accompany my maid to the park, she would not interact with any of the kids; the maid would carry her all the time and the only thing she would play was in the sand. But with just one week of going with me to the park, my daughter had started talking to everybody and playing the swing, slide and everything else also. They said that my daughter looked visibly happy and much more relaxed than they have ever seen her.
From the maid's perspective, I kind of understand; she was responsible for my child and she did not want to take any chances. So, just having a maid who takes good care of the child is not sufficient. There is much more a child needs for a holistic development than just being fed, changed and taken to the park. In my perspective, only a parent can provide this.
It scares me to see people leaving their children alone at home with maids. I did rather they left them at a good day care. But then, they must be having their own reasons I guess.
Sorry for the long comment.

LAK said...

Your post got me worked up all over again! Thanx for the link.I know we must be sounding self-righteous, and far be it for me to judge anybody, but I think someone should look deeper into what the kids in such situations feel.
Yet, I also know of so many kids who have been brought up with minimal contact with parents, yet have gone on to achieve street-smartness, self-sufficiency, and success in academics, etc. I mean there is no outer indication of any "trauma"they may have felt. I guess it boils down to: are the parents ok with leaving the kids with servants? Some can and some can't! Given the choice again, I'd probably do the same thing, ie give up a career to look after the kids..

anoop said...

though you have used the post for emotional catharsis, its a worthwhile effort which might awaken the thousands of mums and dads. Not that they are not aware of it, sub-consciously; they might have got used to accepting things are fine. well. kudos.

rajk said...

This reminds me of a story one of my friends told me once of what she witnessed at a playground.
A child was playing and fell down and hurt himself. Naturally, he started crying...the maid, ostensibly in an effort to get him to stop crying said, "Are you going to stop crying or should I call the police to come get you?"
My friend was shocked, to say the least.
P.S: I am not judging the maid here. Who knows what she was going through that day...

praneshachar said...

wonderful unbiased account of the maids employed by parents who have their own reasons. yes your career compulsions etc., are ok but give them enough time when u r there but so many do that many dont. after their career it is their w\own world of club social work etc. etc., in kannada ther is a saying "mane geddu maru gellu" first you must win hearts at house then from public.
more disgusting is those who dont go for work but very busy in their kitty parties etc. etc., and ignore their child totally. here comes the problem there is every chance the child get spoiled.
There are very good maids who take care of the wards very well they keep themselves neat and tidy and all and have lot of mercy for the child.
THERE are othere quite opposite eat whatever good foods kept for the child beat the child and leave him alone and enjoy luxury of sleeping on the cushions when she is alone in the house ( no. cases the house is left on maid)
yes all can not have same luxuries or comforts but give some time for your child daily so that child will crave for you, if you dont then child slowly starts disliking and develops hatredness. one should be very careful in these aspects
yes it is very difficult to get a good maid or a very good child care but certainly quite few are there one should be lucky if they get one such.
shruthi you have done a great job keep up and I only say puttachi is very very fortunate to have such a lovely parents, grand parents great garand parents what not yes host of admirers ,mava atte uncle aunty .....................
have a great day and look forward for continuous posts.


Shruthi said...

COS, thank you so much for that personal example! Wow!

LAK, exactly. I have also heard of well-turned out people who have been brought up entirely by maids/helps. I guess a lot of factors go into it. A subject for research indeed :)

Anoop, I hope so!

Rajk, that's very common! And also saying, "come down from the slide, I will give you chocolate, biscuit.." I've seen it all!

Praneshachar, thank you!

Mama - Mia said...

oh well. i am working mom and leave my child with the maid. for one i dont have an option of quitting. and no its not for career.

i have made sure that i dont take up extra resposiilities at work, so its not career for sure.

but yes, its important for me to work! and i do.

i guess it also helps that I have a working mom and have no emotional scars to show for her not being around few hours a day.

i have always believed if i grew up fine so will cubby!

my mom epitomized quality time much before it beacme a much used buzz word! :)

yet, i am not for taking maids everywhere. i never do. shopping, eating out, movies, trips... no maid for me. i can take care of my child, thank you!



Anonymous said...

There has to be a balance between completely handing off kids to maids to raise and totally keeping them away.. A part time one who entertains the kid while the mom gets some breathing time may not be so bad? besides, its easy to pass judgments without understanding the circumstances.. Many women find it mind numbing to stay home all day and spoil their kids!

Mangala said...

You put your time at the park to good use, Shruthi, very insightful observations! I appreciate the clarity in your thinking and writing. It's a crying shame that more and more kids seem to be getting this kind of a raw deal these days. I meet a little boy in the park now and then who has gotten palmed off on his long suffering grandparents while his parents are out working, and it always seems to me that he is an orphan even though he has parents...

Would I rather be a paid button-pushing drudge or a potential kingmaker whose imagination , creativity and heart are expanding everyday? No contest!

Shruthi said...

Abha, thank you so much. I was hoping for a perspective from moms like you. Ultimately, it boils down to what we are comfortable with, isn't it?

Anon, "A part time one who entertains the kid while the mom gets some breathing time may not be so bad? " -- absolutely, that's what I said I frequently wish.
"besides, its easy to pass judgments without understanding the circumstances." - that's what I said right in the beginning.
"Many women find it mind numbing to stay home all day" - that's true, especially if they don't have any other hobbies or interests to sustain their brain cells ;)
"and spoil their kids" - now I take umbrage to this. Staying at home, or for that matter, not, has absolutely no relationship to whether a kid is spoiled or not. I would suggest that you do a bit of reading/research on it.

Mangala, leaving kids on grandparents is yet another aspect, which I have written about in brief here -
And yup, that's a no-brainer! :D

Veena Shivanna said...

Shruthi, Quite an insightful post.

I am not sure if you have written in particular to the "maids" or any person other than the mother.
Well, I observe lot of things you mentioned even when the grand parents or others take care(some times even mothers might loose their patience at times).
I may agree to most of your points said above, but do you think the solution to this is the only one which you have asked for?
Probably I feel its the mother's mere responsibility to evaluate the availble options, also see that the person is properly instructed(told/taught) and transitioned to the role of care taker, may be she can have some overlap during her leave period to have things well set.
Also I think maids do carry the emotional factor with them, they do miss the child and they don't do just their 'job' but involve themselves in the child rearing... Working mothers would surely wait to spend more time when available, atleast she would opt to care the kid herself mostly, for eg., in parks, in weddings, in parties etc., but of course she would need some person when she is driving her car isn't it??

I understood from the post that, woman who could afford to quit their jobs at these times is a kind of luxury.. but many a times I feel If I resign from my job I would terribly miss my job and I don't think its just the matter of affordibility or luxury but its a kind of affection too and not just the money factor or the aspirations! probably I am trying to be more optimist to prove my point this way.. Just my experience.!

M S Raghunandan said...

i have heard from people who live abroad, that easy availabiliy of manual labour for every other chore in this country is a boon. i ocnsider that a bane. if only we are forced to do everything ourselves, i stress on 'everything', we would definitely live more sensibly and this world would be a better place.
thought provoking writing.

Anonymous said...

Shruthi, I quit my job to take care of my daughter. As long as I was at my mothers's place during the first few months she was ok. But when I joined my husband and had to take care of her all alone,she became increasingly dependent on me. She would not make eye contact with anybody.She would not talk or smile at anyone. She would not even play with my husband for few mins. Thats when I had to go for a maid.

Now she interacts with everyone and loves kids. She is more outgoing than she was before.

Even after employing the maid I'm still a stay at home mom. So I make sure that I continue to spend more time with my daughter.


Mama - Mia said...

@ Veena - you BINGOed on the perfect answer! at least for me! :)

our maid ADORES my son and my child is happy with her. and at the same time i know she cannpt replace the parents. when we are it home its our time all the way!

and i like wrking and really dunno why I should be answerable for that!

just because i work does NOT mean that my child is not well taken care of.

at the end of the day, its alla bout situations and perspectives!

and @ Shruthi - that you could quite and have an alternate career going because of your skills is indeed a luxury most of us cant afford! :)

as for doing al the housework etc on your own, its each individuals call. i dont enjoy it, so id rather my maid does it! :)

if that makes me a bad homemaker or mother, i really dont care! :D



Shruthi said...

Veena, I know what you are talking about. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have absolutely no idea what I would have done had I liked my job. I think I would have been in that dilemma that millions face. That way, I should be thankful that I didn't like my job :)
Btw, I think a car seat is less expensive than employing a maid ;) [Ok that was a terrible joke].
No, when I was talking about luxuries, I was NOT talking about the economic aspect. I was talking about the luxury of having a supportive husband/family, who made your life easier, and the luxury of being able to quit without a second thought about getting bored. Why talk about these times, at any time, a double income is great - but the fact that I could leave a full-time job, and still NOT GET BORED - that is what I call a luxury. And just in case you are interested, I think that the reason I am not getting bored is because I am able to follow up on my hobbies and interests - it keeps me alive.
And also, I have not mentioned any solution. Have I? Have I mentioned that the solution is "no maids"? I know that there is no solution, or rather, there is no "right solution". The correct solution is that which suits each mother/family.
And Veena, I have spoken only about maids here.

Raghu mama, that is something worth thinking about. But right now, all I can think of is, "I can't do it all myself!"

Rashmi, thanks for your perspective. I guess that goes to show that not only are all maids different, but all children are different too. I am glad its working out for you!

Abha, exactly. That's the luxury I was talking about.
And I hope my post didn't imply that all kids taken care of by maids are suffering, and that all moms who work are bad homemakers :D
I guess at the end of it all, it depends on the individual/family.
And baap re, no, I don't do all the housework myself. A maid comes in to do the sweeping and mopping work. The cooking, yes, I do, coz I enjoy it. And that's one more thing - I get so worked up if my maid doesn't come in on time or doesn't do the work properly, I almost feel like asking her to leave and doing it all myself. So I always find myself fascinated by how people GET good maids, and KEEP them.
Btw, I am glad that your arrangement is working out for you.
Oh, and one more thing, I also believe that a happy mom is better than a disgruntled mom, so if you are happy and working, it is better for your child than if you are unhappy and at home.

Veena Shivanna said...


Sorry If I sounded rude in my previous comment. probably your this sentence made me think that way --
"Yet I feel that with the mother around, the child would have got a more wholesome experience"

There are certain things which is definitely possible for a working mother to do which others perceive it as not. As you said, thats a choice and in particular to what it suits. and ofcourse I certainly don't endorse the idea of completely delegating the child caring to others(just not maids)
I can spend 24 hrs at office, driving in heavy traffic, etc., etc, not get tired but the work at home, all cooking etc, is one marathon thing. probably for me, home means its complete relaxation!

Veena Shivanna said...

and shruthi, the car seat works well only for the shorter distance :-)

Shruthi said...

Veena, I did not for a moment feel that you sounded rude. You were vehement, and that is natural, because what I said was different from what you believe!
I still stand by that statement that kids in general, will have a more wholesome time with their mothers than with their maids. And it is totally understandable if you don't agree with me. We are entitled to our opinions :)
And this statement "I can spend 24 hrs at office, driving in heavy traffic, etc., etc, not get tired but the work at home, all cooking etc, is one marathon thing." - is such a perfect example of how much it is all in the mind, right? It boils down to interest, I guess!

Veena Shivanna said...

Shruthi, How can I not agree.?
but if people say, maid cannot replace mother then I would infact question back asking, why should they? Nobody in the world can replace her. Maids are options to raise the kids thats it and as you mentioned somewhere in our older post, Grandparents may not be taken for granted to completely delegate it, they may have thier own routines, preferences and etc. One more reason I find comfortable with maids is, they are accountable/answerable to what ever happens during my absense! and they taking us/child for granted is quite rare.

About the second part of your Question, I don't know if that was just interest or something more. One reason is what I gave already.. when I come home I certainly switch back to the mode of 'relaxing' and in no way convince myself to do all that..
One more reason would be, the way I have been from child hood, never ever interested in house chores, cooking but would independently manage rest of the world.

sri said...

Hi Shruthi,

I totally agree with your take on the relationship between maids and kids. I visit a park with my son close to my home everyday, and I have come across the same kind of experiences that you have mentioned every single day. But not everyone can paint such a lovely picture thru words like you.

I am a happy mom spending the whole day with my son. I don't regret having studied a BE and an MBA, having spent sleepless nights to write those exams, having worked for a couple of years, and then having to sacrifice a dream offer from a dream company.

I certainly feel kids will blossom when they are with moms, than with maids. Having seen the amount of trauma that maids give to every house that they are employed in, me and my hubby have opted not to have a maid. And I quit my job 'coz we didn't want to leave our kid in a creche. I cook and also do all the household chores. It requires hell lotsa energy to do all this, and run behind the little fella... But the satisfaction that I get just being around for my son cannot be explained.

Thanks for the post.


The good life said...

You know Shruthi, I totally agree with what you are saying, infact I feel very sad when I see kids in my extended family go through this and I feel strongly sometimes.."I wish I could just bring them home and take care of them"
anyways I digress.
This is my theory.
You know most women/girls of our generation have been brought up with the aim of going to work,getting out of the house, be equal to men. They were encouraged to dream, dream big, achieve etc.
so we did, got ourselves jobs and now we are in this situation of
"how to bring up kids while you work as well"
many women struggle with the dilemma
Many women dont give up their jobs just because of fear, pure fear of being left behind in career, pure fear of being able to not have enough for a "luxurious" life
(Although many do no realise that a life independant of servants is a much more luxurious life)

Even though we were encouraged to dream big, we were probably not encouraged enough to think for yourself, do what "you" want to do.hence everyone wants to have kids, everyone wants to pursue career.
and the attitude is....chalta hai chalne do(its working why change)

Anonymous said...

I just bumped into this blog and I read some very interesting take on parenting....Sociologists in the West are surprised by the growing trend in US that highly educated women who went to Ivy league universities, and who are driven by career and opportunities are giving up their lucrative careers to stay back home to raise children. Hmm...interesting development. Is 'Women's liberation', 'feminist movement taking a different turn in the 21st. century?...going back to good old days? Or is it just a result of biological impulse? I wonder!!!....Any comments guys? By the way, the act of parenting has nothing to do with being a father or mother. Father's contribution is limited to a tiny sperm and mother's, an egg. Other than that, there is nothing inherently linked to our progeny in terms of 'parental love' as opposed to 'maids love'. We have simply found a way to rationalize our 'emotional guilt' that we have which is the result of our cultural upbringing and nothing else....It really doesn't make any difference to the child...a child will be very happy with a person who cares, be it a biological mom or a maid, or that matter a loving pet. Just my one cent contribution to this lively debate. By the way, I live in the West....So, my understanding of the culture in which you guys live is very limited...

praneshachar said...

shruthi and veena
what both of you have expressed is true account and I look at these without any bias if u look at yes for certain reasons maid is a necessity for a working woman it is not a luxury even if u hv elders around in the house. kids of today are very very naughty and restless and it will be a difficult task for grand parents particulary if they are aged. for those grand parents who are very fit and healty this may not be a issue but how mothers look at them is a matter of individual opinions.
as sri.raghunandan said manual labout is avialble in plenty though not very cheap as earlier people are looking around for a maid or a place where kid can be left. good discussion for verious corners mothers who have left jobs mothers who have stikced to their jobs not just for money others like me who are just observers so in toto it is a very thoughtprovoking post and very good responses and interactions. kudos to all and specially to shruthi and veena

Poppins said...

Interesting post this. I can't help be judgmental about nannies and babies, but.. but. I work too, for many many reasons, and if I didn't have the luxury of a caring and available grandparent, what would i have done?

There are no clear answers. What I'd like to say is that, if you have a nanny for when no parent/trusted relative is around so be it. But I'm perplexed by families who travel everywhere with a nanny and child. If you as a parent feel stifled sometimes by having a child 24 X 7 think of the nanny !

Veena said...

Hi Shruthi,
Very interesting post indeed!
I think , having maids doesn’t make you less responsible for your child; In fact you have more on your shoulders!
I too, quit my job to be with my kids..I employed a maid immediately after my kids were born, who worked for us till the kids were about 3 yrs old..
Now, this maid was of a totally different kind..She gelled well with the kids..She told them stories, taught them songs, and entertained them very well. The kids too, would literally jump at the sight of her coming towards our house every day…And , when the clock chimed six, signaling the maid’s time to go home, the kids would break into a wail..I used to have a tough time managing them after she would leave. I sometimes wondered, what was her inherent quality that made my kids so attached towards her? I don’t know…Somewhere deep inside, I also had this tinge of jealousy creeping in…the thought that I cannot amuse the kids in ways that she did…
Anyways, now that we’ve moved to a different locality, my kids have much more friends than ever before…They are happy that I wait for them everyday, when they come back from school…their faces bloom when they see me and this is something I really cherish because I didn’t have the comfort of having my mom by my side, when I needed her the most!

And as you and many others have said, Finally it all boils down to having a beautiful relationship with your children!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shruti!!! I have been reading your blog now for a bit and cannot tell how happy it makes me feel. I was introdused to it of course by Revati, with the first one being your letter to Puttachi. All I want to say is one can really enjoy motherhood when one wants it really bad!! One has to want only motherhood. Then there are no conflicts no excuses no circumstances etc..... This is a time which never comes back in a womans life, so am really happy and extremely proud to know you are doing what you are. Loads of love hugs and blessings to all of you!!
Aditi a

Sanjay M said...

this post rocks Shruthi... reminds me of the receny movie Jodhaa Akbar where Akbar (Hritik Roshan) who had been brought up by a maid for a while ends up getting more attached to her and respecting her more than his own mother :)

More later...

mommyof2 said...

very interesting blog.. can't stop reading.. will come back later to read more:-)

Anonymous said...

you all banyak songeh..

Usha said...

Hi Shruthi,

I have been following your blog recently. This topic has been creating disturbance a lot of times since I started working. I stayed at home till my son was 6 months. And in these six months, I was doing all things for him but had very little time to spend with, since my in-laws used to take care of him and I used to do the cooking , bathing him and all the other chores. When i started working I used to come back from office and used to spend some 2 hours with him in the evening and morning the same chores, cook, bathe him , give him breakfast and leave to office. Now he is 1 and half year old. I get up @ 4, cook and finish his jobs and leave to office @ 10.00 and come back by 6.30 p.m and spend quality 3 hours with him. Now he stays with a maid who take care of him very well and with my parents when I am off to office. Though he is happy @ home and he manages without me during my office hours, still when ever i hear about topic like this or when i read this blog, it makes me feel guilty and makes me to think will a full time homemaker mom is the best thing for the kid or me juggling like this is also equivalent.


Suresh Sathyanarayana said...

Ma'am, I totally agree with your views... and indeed agree to the regret that you have expressed in order for it to be negative. The point of saying it to be just an opinion and that you wouldnt like to force this on the society....
After all we live in a society and it has to pick up the ingredients of well being from any one and everyone who could deliver. Also agree that it is indeed very difficult for a working woman to juggle between two things. But i still would vouch for the fact that maid is not an option for upbringing the child.
My own mother was a working woman and my elder brother and myself grew up to say quite a bit on our own. This is catering to one fact that affordability of a maid almost 20 odd years back just to raise kids was rare. Also in retrospection I would just like to mention that the deprivation of our parents at times made them to be more valued than the deprivation itself. Ofcourse, It were those days that my mother could not quit her job to raise us catering to the financial conditions of common middle class fraternity was not as robust as it is today.
Also I observed this one thing in particular near a friends house. There was this particular maid taking care of a kid carrying the kid into the slums that she lived. Now I am really not comparing the social standards of living and stuff. But this kid being of 4-5 years of age may be bound to get influenced by certain things that it sees. In one such scenario, we are quite aware that the possibilities of socially degradeable activities prevailing more in slums.
Hence I totally concur with your views and would go a step beyond and would say that may be both the parents can share the weight of bringing up the child rather than surrendering the child to a person for whom raising is just another job.

- -