Today, in the Wall Street Journal, a West L.A. doyenne named Suzanne Sirof single-handedly offers the best reason ever given for forcibly confiscating money from the well-to-do, even in a time of economic slowdown, and simply handing it to their household help:
Alba Monterrosa, 31, showed up with a reference letter depicting the El Salvadoran immigrant as “honest, hard-working, loving, responsible and a pleasure to be around,” as well as exceptional with children.
The family that hired her on a full-time basis in 2004 is now using her only sporadically, when Addie, 5, and Alexa, 3, are sick or when their mother, Suzanne Sirof, is under the weather.
Ms. Monterrosa, a single mother of two who earned $600 a week, says she is desperate for work because she is falling behind on her car insurance and rent payments. Her mother, a housekeeper, has also seen her work days curtailed.
“I can’t afford to buy my own children shoes,” Ms. Monterrosa says, wringing her hands. Weekend excursions to Denny’s and Chuck E. Cheese’s with the two teenagers are a thing of the past, she adds.
A stay-at-home mother whose husband is a litigation attorney, Mrs. Sirof says that Ms. Monterrosa was a “second mom to my kids.” Ms. Monterrosa was there when she suffered a bout of depression and when she went on spa trips or outings to get Botox and Juvéderm injections, says Mrs. Sirof.
But a few months ago, the family decided they couldn’t afford Ms. Monterrosa anymore and let her go.
Mrs. Sirof’s daughters took the separation badly. They inquired incessantly about “Vita,” as they called her. Normally a lively child, daughter Addie became sad and withdrawn. A doctor Mrs. Sirof consulted suggested renewed contact with Ms. Monterrosa.
“I try to have Alba come once a week,” says Mrs. Sirof. She says she feels “horrible” about laying off Ms. Monterrosa. But there are some perks she isn’t willing to give up. “Nothing deters me from my Botox treatments.”
Nothing deters her from her Botox treatments.