So. If you’ve read my blog before, you may also have read that I’m in a bit of an interesting setup.
I live with a dad and his twin boys, and we live in his parents home. In the home, there are also 3-5 women working, doing the cleaning, ironing etc, as well as a chef 6 days per week and various chauffeurs that the dad and grandparents have.
My position is a bit unique because, while I’m still an employee, like the other employees, I have more privileges: I have my own bedroom in the main area of the house. My bed is made for me, and my bathroom is cleaned and bedroom vacuumed. My meals are also made for me and I can eat in the regular dining area vs eating at the bar stool in the kitchen. I also work regular hours (aka about 40 hours per week) vs the rest of the employees who work about 100 hours per week (more for the women that are with the babies overnight. They literally work almost 24 hours per day seeing as they are with the babies and the babies wake up once or twice a night still…each. 😦
However, I do my own laundry, in a little room just outside of the apartment by a urinal and the heater. I have to wake someone up in the kitchen in order to let me in if I come home later than 10-10:30pm. I have set hours that I’m able to eat and very little choice in what I do eat. And infrequently I’m at the whim of if the grandma or dad is in a bad mood and may speak a bit harshly.
But more likely, it’s the people who work here who are snapped at. For instance, this morning, there was a miscommunication re: what time the kids would eat breakfast. I have been away for just over a week, and I’d heard their food schedule had changed. So, I asked one of the women what the schedule is now. I knew that they eat breakfast at 8am when they have school. But then they told me that this morning it would be 9am. I questioned it, because I thought it was odd it’d be at different times, but I also know that they receive instructions, so I went with it. Until the dad found out and was upset that they hadn’t been given their food at 8am. With a stern voice, he told one of the women (the one that is particularly skittish and is snapped at the most) that they should have eaten at 8am. What he didn’t seem to take into consideration was the fact that his mom may have already given her instructions that differed from his.
This happens a lot.
And instead of checking in with each other, the grandma and the dad get angry at the women working there. I find it so incredibly frustrating and sad. The same goes with all of the staff that works there. I’ve seen the grandma and the dad get mad at them over the smallest things.
And the staff take it. I hypothesize it’s because they rely so much on their income that they won’t speak back or defend themselves.
For me, it’s also hard because I met the dad in a context of everybody that we both mutually know are constantly raving about how compassionate he is and how I can learn so much from him.
Which, is true. And not true. He is still very much a human being. I am slowly working to become more at ease around him. He is a formidable person, in some ways. In social contexts, he comes across as confident and kind.
In the home context, he can be fairly strict. Getting annoyed with the workers. In my perception, needing to be in control…even with things like, today the babies were learning by this ledge and he kept saying, “Careful. Careful!!!” I then told him how I’m holding them and that I’m aware. Part of me even wonders if he has a hidden camera that watches and listens all day. It wouldn’t surprise me.
As a side note, I can’t even imagine having been raised in the lifestyle that he had. Even know, everything is done for him at home…he leaves his clothing lying around and on the floor and the women go into his room and pick it up, wash it, iron it etc and put it away. Meals are made and brought to his room at whatever time he chooses. He has chauffeurs that stay up until all hours of the night, then go and sleep in a room with like 20 other chauffeurs on this less than a single-size width bench and are expected to be up and ready (and looking sharp…in suits generally) a few hours later sometimes. It’s crazy to me, in some ways.
But, that’s how he’s been raised. He was use to having everything he wanted, when he wanted it. I think that entitlement has helped him succeed in many ways because he probably rarely doubts that he’ll get what he wants.
All to say that…the staff are very much aware that I’m an employee. I’m not a member of the family. And so, just now I’m starting to see even more things which would seem like they’re annoyed that they even have to do things for me.
And I’m not sure what to do. I’m thinking that maybe I’ve been a bit too open and friendly with them, so thereby acting like we are “the same” in some ways, but I realize that I’m not. There is a clear class system here and I’m on a different “level” than them. I can see where there are things that I can do differently for sure.
This is the first time in my life that I’ve experienced this type of dynamic like this. On such a personal level and every day.
I’m going to think about it some more. xo