It’s hard to find a good yaya.
As the statistics of high-skilled women in the workforce increases, towns and provinces become more urbanized, and current maids and caregivers aim to work outside the Philippines, it’s harder to find someone who is responsible, trustworthy and loyal.
If you do find someone, they are often unwilling to work as a stay-in yaya, and prefer to follow a schedule on weekdays and take weekends off. You can go to an agency, but it’s scary to leave your child alone with a stranger – we have all heard those horror stories and news reports. This has prompted many moms to put off their careers and become a stay-at-home mom or work-at-home mom, but how do you survive a life with no helper to care for the little kids?
I asked stay-at-home moms how they are able to cope with managing their families and homes with no yaya. Here are their tips for parents who are planning to tread this path.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
We all have fancied to have the Instagram-worthy house – clean, organized, and smells great. But with kids around, that’s just like wishing for a genie in a bottle.
Less than five minutes after cleaning up, there’s a new mess waiting. Kids are messy, period. So please be kind to yourself.
It's okay that the clothes you took down two days ago from the clothesline are still on the sofa waiting to be folded.
It's okay that you had lunch four hours ago but the dishes are still in the sink waiting to be washed.
It’s okay if the clothes in the drawers were left disorderly by kids after you folded them Marie Kondo-style.
If you accept that you can’t have a house that looks straight out of magazine feature, you will be at peace. There are more important things than fixing your living room. Choose your battles wisely.
Work around a schedule
Children thrive in structure and routine, which bring comfort and consistency. Moms need that too, to organize our busy lives and and keep it from being chaotic.
Instead of chasing and nagging, set a routine that eventually creates habits. Over time, they learn how to take care of themselves without being told. They can brush their teeth, bathe, or pack away their toys confidently and independently. That’s one (or 10) tasks off your to-do list.
Moreover, it gives you a sense of order and control. You can schedule daily sweeping, a weekly deep cleaning on a Thursday, laundry every other day, and ironing on a Friday. It may take some trial-and-error before you find a routine that works for you and your kids, so even if you stick to your schedule do leave room for adjustment.
Partner with Your Husband
There’s nothing sexier than watching a man do the dishes, right? Couples are partners not just in raising kids but managing a home. Don’t fall into traditional gender roles of what a husband and wife should do.
Husbands, give your wives some time to take a breather and wash the dishes on weekdays. Wives, learn to do some minor work repairs. When we show our children that men and women are created equal, including doing chores, we are setting a good example.
Allow your kids to help
Children love imitating adults. There’s no better way to let them imitate you than allowing them help around the house!
Even toddlers can help. Teach them to return items to the proper place, throw trash in the bin, or bring their dishes to the sink. They can sort laundry according to color or pair the socks. Older children can be given the responsibility of feeding the pets, setting the table, or wiping dusty shelves. Not only do children learn important life skills, it also helps them to become responsible and feel like a valued member of the household – and later, the community. Studies show that children who were given chores at home grow up to be more successful.
Make time for yourself
A happy homemaker makes a home happy. Don’t let household chores drain your energy – physically and emotionally. Make time for yourself. Schedule “Me Time” like a salon treatment, meeting with friends, doing crafts or attending seminars. Ask your husband or relatives to look after the kids for an hour or two so you can replenish your energies.
Believe in yourself, Supermom!
Raising a family while managing a house can be daunting, but you can do it! Mothers can wear several hats, are great organizers, and multi-taskers. With proper communication, delegation and regular me-time, you can survive and thrive in any situation – even without a yaya.
About The Writer
Kat is a full-time mom to her three kids that she homeschools with her husband. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, Kat was an Instructional Designer and Training Facilitator at a business process outsourcing firm. She currently enjoys sharing her mom life and homeschool journey through her blog petitemomma.com and their YouTube channel, Homeschooling V and Z. In 2019, with mommy blogger friends Kat co-wrote an e-book entitled, "Nanay Nanay Paano Maging Ina?" and co-founded a support group for Filipino homemakers. In her spare time, she helps maintain the social media accounts of a social enterprise that helps children with cancer.