How to Keep a long Term Yaya at Home: Hiring the Right Way
Now we all know how it feels like to have piled up dirty laundry, unwashed dishes, disorganized home, a good home cooked meal, and all other to-do’s to keep your homey space spic and span. And if you have kids, I’m sure you need all the extra hand to let you do other things in your life.
I share the same sentiments of parents having to go through these domestic ordeals. If you are a parent most especially a single-parent like me, you know that you need all the help you can get when it comes to the domestic aspect of your life.
I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of Filipino households about their experiences with their house help/yaya, and I have heard some good ones as well. Unfortunately, having a good and trusted house help is like winning the lottery, not all people can win that jackpot. And if you find yourself looking for a house help to care for your kids, your pets and tidy up your house, at times you find yourself in a situation when you wish looking for the right one was as easy as going to a grocery store and pick one up! But sadly, it’s not!
This blog post series is to give you my dear readers an overview of how I am able to keep my yaya for years now and counting, and you as an Amo/Employer to see things from the eyes of a house help.
A little Backgrounder
Personally, I have learned a great deal of do’s and don’ts about my relationship with my previous and current house help through experiences and my mom’s advice. She has successfully managed two house helps/yaya in her kingdom that’s been with her for 15 years and counting, and I am proud of her about it.
I am not claiming to be the encyclopedia of this subject, but hopefully with my experiences I can shed light to this subject and give you readers a few pointers.
My house help has been with me for 6 years now. She has seen me in my ups and downs, my roller coaster ride in life, my craziness and my lowest moments inside the intimate corners of my homey space. She cracks me up, and in general, makes me feel blessed. On top of that, my kids love her.
Assess your Household Situation
Ok, I admit the recruitment for a good house help is not as simple as posting an ad or scream outside your door in the hopes that someone will fly down from the sky and land at your doorstep ala Mary Poppins. Hiring a house help in the Philippines takes a lot of hard work, and TALKING! Yes, you know what I mean. It’s easy to ask your friend’s Yaya, your neighbours, the Yaya’s of your kids playmate at school, and whoever. But ask yourself these questions before you grab someone’s arm and let them hear you begging for that coveted Miss Yaya Universe for your homey space.
Q&A to Yourself First:
1. Just like any character reference to a job interview, do you have a good reputation as a boss/amo?
If you are always talking negatively about your previous house help/yaya’s, complaining about how she did you wrong. How the rice in your kaldero was 5 minutes under cooked, and how she forgot to iron your next-day office uniform, these things are just a few statements that are frowned upon by house helpers.
Even the tenure of your previous yaya/house help plays an important role. What’s the average length of them staying with you? Why do they leave you cold and doing the laundry all by yourself? And blah blah blah….
House helps will question your personality and the overall picture of what goes in and out of your home. In which they reflect themselves on what it’s like to work with you are as their employer. And if you are worth the risk of them staying in your homey space.
2. Are my expectations to what she can and can’t do realistic?
Seriously, if you expect her to do laundry 3 times a week, be your alarm clock at 6am, cook you a 3 course breakfast meal for you and your family, fold your Monday-to-Friday clothes in 1 hour (including your kids uniform) and save electricity bill while she’s at it, go to the nearest palengke to buy this and that (and nag at her for not knowing what Baguio beans are!), cook you dinner before 7pm, wash and dry the plate before 9pm, wake herself up at 12 midnight so she can open the gate for your drive way, wake up by 5am, polish all the furniture in 1 day, make your bathroom and kitchen sink as white as a Colgate teeth commercial, sweep and scrub your floors as if it’s a glossy print magazine, and chase around your kids at home and in school. And then you still say to yourself, I can do that! Then honey, I’m sorry to tell you this, skip the hiring and do those things yourself instead!
My point is, if you yourself can’t do those tasks, then don’t expect your Miss Yaya Universe to accomplish all your expectations. Remind yourself that simply because you are paying X amount per month to that person, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have their limitations. You are hiring a house help/yaya because you have limitations, I suggest you think and foresee the same thing as if it was you doing all the hard labor work. And if there’s just too many things that needs to be taken cared of, give her the tools she needs to make her work easier.
3. Will she get bored working with you as his/her boss?
She stays with you 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, deals with everybody’s demands in your household. Of course she will get bored! This is an opportunity for you to be creative and brief the people in your home in creating a positive and exciting environment for your future yaya. A sit down with your family members (you can even include your dog or cat if you want to) will also be helpful in discussing issues at home especially when it comes to domestic chores and differences in personalities.
Remind yourself as well that it’s not just about her take home pay. Most of the house helps that I’ve talked to are after a positive homey environment that they are working in. Making them a part of your family is a bonus point from my POV. After all, they are there to be as your “HELP” not as your slave. Recreational activities are also good, so highlight a few activities that you can offer to your Miss Yaya Universe candidate as well. Aheem, that’s also a good selling point. Get what I mean? 😉
……more to come on my next week’s post.
(This blog post is a series of my “The Amo’s Guide to Having a Long Term Yaya” is a 1 month per weekly post that will feature my personal recommendations in hiring/maintaining a Yaya/ house help in the Philippines. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest post from this series)