Nina Prabhu's enduring memory of the neighbourhood babysitters who looked after her in the 1980s while her mother worked is of the kind Portuguese woman with the plastic-covered furniture who spent her days cleaning.
"It's all I really remember, moving from room to room as she cleaned the same jewellery boxes every day," says Prabhu, 29.
"I remember thinking it was very strange, because it's not something I ever saw my mother do."
Prabhu's mother Sue recalls the difficulty she had finding people she trusted to care for Nina and her older brother Neal.
"There was a woman who lived with her father. And the father smoked all day. It was terrible," she says.
"I remember stopping children in the neighbourhood and asking them if they knew of anyone who looked after children," she adds, shaking her head. "Can you imagine?"
Nina, a project planner for a local charity, says she never questioned her mother's decision to work when she was young.
"She always took days off to go on school trips with us," she says. "We always did fun things on the weekends. And we could afford great summer vacations."
- reprinted from the Toronto Star