I took in my househelp’s child as my own

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 00:00 |
Marion Wanjiru (seated). STANDING FROM LEFT: Lyasera Njeri, Esther Atieno (Marion’s former househelp), Lewis Koech and Carol (Marion’s current househelp. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Marion Wanjiru is a mother of one Lyasera Njeri, but she calls herself a mother of two. Her second child is her former househelp’s son, Lewis Koech, whom she has taken in as her own child. The self-employed interior designer shares her motherhood journey 

Kwach Wakhisi

For Marion Wanjiru Mwangi, motherhood would best be described as the most magical, amazing and incredible feeling. But it’s also tough. “Motherhood is not easy, but it’s great.

Although I became a mother of so many years earlier than I thought, I still count my blessings,” says the 34-year-old.

When Marion first became a mother six years ago, just like any new mum, she was over the moon with each day proving to be a learning experience as she nursed and took care of her child.

As an entrepreneur who needed to fend for her daughter, she needed to have a good support system in terms of a house help who would look after her child while she was away for work.

However, finding a responsible, kind and reliable house help proved to be an uphill task as she kept on hiring and firing.

Her long search came to an end in August 2013 when she was introduced to Esther Atieno by her sister-in-law. 

“Esther joined our family when my daughter Lya was five months old. She was an answered prayer since I had been through so much agony searching for a good nanny after employing five househelps and firing them for vaious reasons in a span of five months,” she says.

Esther, who was 21 years old then, was a gem. “She made my life easier as a mother who had so much in her hands and a business that literally kept me on my toes. And her story was a sad one too.

She had quit school while in Class Six after she got pregnant and never gone back to school and ever since had been toiling doing casual jobs to fend for her son,” she reocunts.

After a few months of Esther being a deligent, hardworking employee, her son Lewis Koech fell sick and Esther was called back home to attend to him.

“I asked her if she wanted to return to Nairobi with her son so that they could be closer to each other and she agreed to it.

A bond between a mother and her child is something to treasure and since I loved being close to Lya, I felt Esther also longed for the same with her son. After her son got better, Esther returned to work with him,” she narrates.

Today, Lewis, 11 is in Class Six in a boarding school while Lya is in Grade Two.

Esther left in December 2017, leaving her son behind to study and search for greener pastures elsewhere, but is still part of their lives and always visits during her off days and holidays when the children break for the holidays,

“Lewis gets along very well with Lya and they adore each other and refer to each other as brother and sister. Of course they experience the normal sibling fights, but they do care for each other,” Marion smiles.

Lewis’ family

“Lewis knows Esther as his biological mother, but he likes to refer to me as mum. He is lucky to have two mums.

We are great friends and I don’t love him any less than Lya. I treat them equally. He is totally my responsibility and his school calls me for anything concerning his education,” she beams.

With Lewis in boarding school, Marion says the challenge she has had in bringing up Lya is time since she works for long hours.

On raising her daughter Lya, Marion says her challenges are the same as those of any other busy mother.

“Sometimes I leave home very early in the morning and return late into the night.

Despite that, we spend much time together on days she is not going to school as I tag along with her to work,” she says.

According to Marion, every mum needs a good support system to hack motherhood.

“The greatest form of support for me has been good and reliable househelps.

They help me remain sane as I don’t have to worry about anything in regards to my home.

I find everything well done and organised. After Esther left, I got another househelp who has been working for me for two years,” she says.

Marion says that motherhood has taught her patience and love, and watching Lewis and Lya grow has been fulfilling.

“I really have no parenting manual, but I cannot tolerate indiscipline. If a child is disciplined, everything else will fall into place.

My other business will be to love the child and be there for him/her in every way,” she says adding, “God has been faithful to us and I pray that we continue experiencing his grace and favour as a family.

I always pray to God to grant me a long life, enough for my children not to need me anymore.”

The gift Marion wishes to give her children is love, friendship and self-confidence.

Her advice to other parents is: “Discipline your children. Don’t watch or entertain bad behaviour. One day you will be glad that you kept them in check.

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