This post is all about yaya problems. All moms (even dads!) out there can totally relate to this topic. We have all been there. That dreaded moment when we badly need some help at home in order to survive and not to go all-out crazy. Whether you are a working parent or a stay-at-home one, there will always come a time when you really (desperately!) need some help.
I had my fair share of experiences in searching for a “perfect” yaya. Before you tell me that there is no such thing as “perfect” yaya. Allow me to make myself clear. A perfect yaya for me is someone who is the best fit depending on the circumstances and necessity of our family at that moment of need.
When I gave birth to Isha at a young age, I was totally clueless on how to take care of a baby. I could very well manage the household for sure but taking care of a baby AND managing the household at the same time, I was certain I could not do it all by myself that time. So, with the help of my parents, they searched in our province in Laguna someone who can assist me at home. Here is our roll of yayas (haha!):
Our first yaya was Amy. She was around 25 years old that time, married, with two kids. I delegated to her the task of cleaning the house, washing and ironing the clothes, and cooking our food. I was hands-on in taking care of Isha. Amy was there to take care of the household chores. She was a gem! She kept our house spic and span. She was an early riser and she finished her chores in no time. She adjusted very easily to our lifestyle. Joen and I were elated. We didn’t expect that we would be so lucky with our very first yaya. She was meticulous in cleaning the house. I even learned a lot of household tips from her. I didn’t have to worry about anything else and I was able to devote my full time and attention in taking care of my baby. She lasted for about six months. Why? Amy had to go back home to take care of her kids since her husband left them. I didn’t want to let her go but she had to. And so the yaya search continues…
Then Odette came. Who knew that she would be another “perfect” yaya for me? She was younger than me, around 20 years old that time, single and somewhat boyish in style. Her sister was the wife of my father’s relative. So she was in a way related to our family. That gave me so much comfort. When I gave birth, I was a full-time stay-at-home mom for a year. So basically, Odette just helped me in running our household. Compared to Amy’s household skills, however, Odette was mediocre. She cleaned the house, all right, but not as meticulous as how Amy did it. I know I shouldn’t compare the two but I couldn’t help not to. What was good about Odette though was that she was always there for me. She rarely went home to the province.
When I went back to law school, I had no choice but to entrust Isha to Odette’s care. I wouldn’t forget that day when I had to finally go to class and leave Isha with Odette alone for the first time. I was in tears when I was walking down the stairs. Isha was crying while calling out my name and asking me to come back. I wanted to turn back and just stay with her but I couldn’t miss my first day back in law school. I figured I had to learn how to trust other people who can take care of Isha so that I could go back and finish those things that were put on hold. Eventually, we all adjusted to the new routine and everyone was alright. Odette took good care of Isha until she was eight years old. Oh yes! She stayed with us for EIGHT YEARS. Why did she leave? Well, that boyish girl met someone who reminded her that she was a woman. Odette fell in love and eventually got pregnant. Mind you, she stayed with us until the last term of her pregnancy since she begged and wanted to take care of Isha until we get a replacement. She was awesome! The last news I heard she already has three kids, all girls. She even asked Isha to be the godmother of her firstborn daughter. Isha become a godparent at a tender age of 10.
As a temporary replacement, we asked Lilet to stay with us until we get a new yaya. Lilet was our former laundrywoman in Laguna. She was in her 40s that time, with three kids, one of whom is my goddaughter. Like Isha, I also became a godparent at a young age. Lilet was an expert in washing and ironing clothes. She, however, had a limited knowledge in cooking. She knew the basics – eggs, fried rice, fried meals, adobo, sinigang. That was basically it. So I had to do all the cooking that time. Isha was already in grade school then and was a slooooow eater (Sorry, Ish!). She eats anything but does so very slowly. With no supervision, she would be able to finish a meal in an hour minimum. Lilet was there to help me with Isha. She was very patient in feeding her. She didn’t stay with us for long since we found another yaya.
I was already working as a lawyer when we hired Nena. My work entailed a lot of travelling so we really needed a helper. Isha could already take care of herself but we needed someone to take care of the household chores. I remember I was in Cagayan de Oro for work when I hired Nena. She was referred to us by an acquaintance. Nena was in Quezon that time. She had to ride a ferry and a bus to go to Manila but had no money for the fare. That was the first time I experienced how to risk it all and send money to someone I have not even met. I just trusted and prayed that she was not a crook and hoped that she would keep her promise to come to Manila. We picked her up at the nearest mall to our house and took her home. She was alright. She did what she was told. But after a few months, I learned that she was a smoker. She reeked of cigarette smoke when she returned one day after her day off. When I confronted her, she casually admitted it. Joen and I discussed the matter seriously and decided that we could not keep her. There were also a few red flags I did notice during her stay with us. One time, I smelled my perfume on her but I just shrugged that one off. I had this constant feeling that my things were not safe from her. True enough, when she left, I had a few things missing from my closet. I think she lasted for about five months.
Our next yaya was Tala. She was older than me. She was again referred by an acquaintance. She lived within our area in Manila. She previously worked as a laundrywoman. Tala had a strong personality. She looked mataray. She had that certain vibe in her. At first, of course, she was very obedient. She followed our instructions and finished her daily chores. We were doing alright but after a few months, she left. She said her daughter needed her back home so bad. I didn’t buy it but I let her go. Isha reported to us that Tala applied as yaya to one of her schoolmates. There were a few times Isha saw Tala in school. It was okay. We will find another yaya, I told Isha.
This one was unbelievable. Due to our despair, we decided to hire a young yaya. How young? Sixteen. I know, I know. She was a minor. We thought there was no harm in trying. Anyway, we just needed someone to take care of the house. Princess was a typical teenager who doesn’t care much. She had no previous experience but she wanted to work and save money for school. I had so many plans for her. I told her, depending on her performance, I could help her go to back to school. She was so excited. Unfortunately, after staying with us for just one day (yes! ONE DAY!), she asked permission to go home right away. The reason? Apparently, waking up at 4:30am was a challenge for her. Isha needed to wake up that early because she was a slow eater and her service pick-up schedule was at 5:30am. Princess could not stand waking up that early! (Oh my goodness!) Since she was a minor, we even personally brought her to the bus station in our car, to ensure she didn’t get lost on the way home. That was a royal send-off! (Sarcasm all over!)
That’s not the end of our roll of yayas. I still have a few stories left to tell… I will post the rest of them soon.
Who among you can relate to these yaya stories? I want to hear your story, too! You may comment below and let us share our yaya stories (even horror stories) together.
This is Attorney Mommy, at your service!