Friday, April 23, 2010

The Guilt

As I write this Mohammed is cleaning my house. I don't need Mohammed to clean my house. I don't really even want Mohammed to clean my house. This isn't the life I intended to live when we moved to Africa. This journey was supposed to be about seeing how the other half lives and not the rich other half.
Mohammed came with the house and splits his time between housework and gardening. However, he is not employed as a matter of necessity or rather he is. The necessity just isn't mine. Mohammed supports his mother, wife and 5 children on his income. Morocco has a 30% unemployment rate. (And you thought the economy in the states was bad.) Any job is a good job, but working for an American who pays more than the local Moroccans is primo. So I justify the guilt of having someone clean my house for me by knowing that I'm allowing him to feed his family. And I'm sure they are very pro-eating and I hate cleaning. So this is a win-win.
Mohammed is approximately my age and our kids are about the same ages too. I can't help but think how easily our roles could be reversed. What if he was born in the states and allowed every opportunity to have a better life and I was born here in Morocco? What would he be? How would his life be different? And vice versa. I can only ponder this until I learn enough French to ask him myself.
I've always used the phrase "I'm your mom, not your maid" with my kids when they would expect me to clean up after them. I now regret that. Of course at the time I had no idea I would ever have a maid. So what I don't want is my kids to become those overindulged take everything for granted kinda kids. So they are still have the same responsibilities of picking up after themselves and their rooms cleanliness however Mohammed does go over their rooms and remake their beds. Strangely, this has encouraged them to try to make their beds the way Mohammed does (which goes without saying is much neater than they make it). I know this is a phase that is too good to last!
As for me, I have more time to play with the kids, cook, explore, create, learn French, volunteer at school, dance, write, breathe, walk, grocery shop, read, exercise and whatever else. And YES, I feel totally guilty about it, but grateful too. So, anyone have a good book recomendation?

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