In conclusion it seems that a few words are necessary about families who need the services of an employee at night as well as in the day time. There are many mothers who do not wish or who are not able to take care of their children at night, and in consequence it is absolutely necessary to have an attendant. The present custom is to have the nurse or maid sleep in the same room as the baby, or in a room adjoining the children’s bedroom, so as to be within call. But a woman who has worked all day, or even eight hours a day, should not have her sleep disturbed at night by taking care of children. No woman can be fit for her work the next day if she has not been able to secure the average amount of sleep necessary to health.
In many cases it has been proved that when a child does not sleep well at night, the nurse has taken upon herself the responsibility of giving it “soothing syrup” so as to keep it quiet. This is hardly to be wondered at when one considers the strain under which the nurse is kept day and night by taking care of a small child; besides the average nurse is generally ignorant of the harm caused by so-called “soothing syrups.”
If a child be sick, the mother should call in a trained nurse, that is if she can afford it, and when she has several employees, she can usually afford this extra expense. If the child or children be well, and the mother desires some one to attend to them at night, she should engage a woman who has no occupation during the day and who is willing to work at night. She should make a point of choosing one who sews well, so that the services of a seamstress might be combined with the duties of a night nurse. There is always some mending to do in all families and a woman who is clever with her needle might make herself very useful to her employer. Thousands of women sew by artificial light in dressmaking establishments and factories; in all probability just as many women could be found to sew by artificial light in private homes. Perhaps at first the novelty of working at night might deter women from taking a position similar to the one suggested above, but a woman who was really in need of work would not let the unusual hours prevent her from accepting it,
Many men work at night and it is not unlikely that many women would be willing to do it too. Women are not as timid as they were reputed to be in former years; they would neither scream nor faint nowadays at the sight of a little mouse scampering across the floor. Indeed quite recently the newspapers reported that a woman whose husband had just died had accepted the position of a night watchman, and she filled her new role so successfully that on one occasion she managed to seize a burglar and handed him over to a policeman.
This proposition of engaging a woman to work at night is only a suggestion, however, offered to those who find it absolutely necessary to have a domestic employee in their house at night. It remains to be proved if it could be carried out successfully.