What I have learnt this year

Four days from now, we shall be celebrating a new year. Many times, we are quick to plan for the new year and see how to make the most of it.

But I have learnt that before I can do that, I need to assess how the year before went, if I achieved the goals I set out, and what mistakes I made and why I did so. With that knowledge, I am in a better position to figure out how to plan for the coming year.

This year, I have gotten better at treating the maid as an employee. Before, I was bad at it. I paid them what I thought was fair. I found it hard to manage those who were doing things I did not like. I was late with payments, mostly because I forgot. But I have improved with time. We hired a new maid a little past halfway this year and I have been as professional as I can with her.

She was given a month’s probation, which she passed. We negotiated her salary and came to a compromise we both liked. I told her she would get an increase within a certain period of time if she did her work well and improved in the weak areas, a promise I intend to keep. I pay for her medical bills. She is allowed a day off. I also give her a little airtime every month. When she falters, we have a talk and she lets me know how she intends to improve or to deal with a weakness. She is also encouraged to tell me what she finds hard to do or where she is uncomfortable with something.

So far so good. Will she stay for as long as I hope she will? I hope so! Might she get worse or wake up one morning and decide to leave? She might. But that should not stop me from treating her professionally. After all, we all know maids are not the only employees who act unprofessionally.

I have also learnt how to get better at mothering. I now tell the girls all the day’s activities in aance. Doing so allows them to know what to expect and not to be shocked when I suddenly go away for a weekend or come back much later than they thought I would. It makes them trust me more.

I listen to them more, not just their words but the tone and pitch in which they speak. And now I can tell better when they have made a genuine mistake or when they have intended to do something naughty. I also now try and squeeze my day to get more time with them. So when I am going to the supermarket, a wedding service or taking a walk to the neighbours’, I go along with them. It gives me the opportunity to see them interact with people, learn about their dislikes and likes and to just bond with them. I have also learnt that there is a fine line between strict and mean. And I try to toe it.

In my marriage, I have learnt that each year brings something new. This year, I allowed myself to sit back and see what my faults are in the relationship, where I am being selfish, where I am looking at the trees and not the forest. It’s been the toughest lesson, but the best yet. I talk less and listen more. I fume less and try to understand where Mr is coming from.

All this has pushed me to a higher level. It has made me stop being comfortable with what we had – which was good – in order to get to a better place. And Mr himself has been the better for it. You see, the nicer you are to someone, the nicer they are back to you.

2014 has been a year of learning. Let’s see what 2015 will bring. A happy one to all of you!

­— fluffca@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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