I don’t dislike chores. Back when I was a kid, I remember trying to help our helpers with the cleaning, washing of dishes and even with the laundry. Of course when the time came that I wasn’t begging to help, my mom designated chores to me & my sisters which then had become part of our everyday activity right after school and homework. Fast forward to now having a family of my own, I thank my mom for training me to be a good home maker. I can confidently say that I can do away without any help. Why am I saying this? Well for the past one year and six months I have had a total of eight helpers/yaya. In average, one roughly last for about two months. But in reality, the longest helper we had lasted for six months while the shortest, well lasted for less than twenty four hours.
To be honest training new helpers can be a drag or in my case, very stressful. You see, I am very much OC. If I see that the job isn’t done right, then I asses and evaluate the person responsible. I feel the need to teach her again all the necessary steps to get the job done, the right way or as what my husband said, my way. But if all else fail (which in most cases they do), I redo the job to prove that it can be done the right way and of course to satisfy my OCness. So then my husband asked me, “Why hire someone if eventually you still do the job for them?”. That got me thinking *pauses for a deep breath*, yikes he’s right. I know there’s no such thing as a perfect helper, heck there’s no such thing as a perfect employer too. After eight helpers, my husband and I decided we won’t hire any help. So starting today, I am now officially helpless.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t dislike helpers, in fact I think they can be a mother’s best friend. They make life easier for us. They can become our angels and our kid’s but sometimes they can also be the direct cause of our stress. Nowadays, looking for the perfect helper is hard and tough. Gone are the days when the conditions and rules were simple, maybe because life isn’t simple anymore so everything else follows. So after a year and six months of finding, changing and training helpers, I’ve observed there are at least three kinds of helpers. (Okay, this is based on my experience, should there be more please feel free to add by commenting to this post).
FIRST, THE OLD MAID
- The Old-ilocks
Pros: Old helpers tend to be more mature and they have more experience when it comes to taking care of the house and the kids. Most mothers trust their household over them, mainly because they are more knowledgable and easier to teach and train.
Cons: With age comes unavoidable sickness or illness. They’re not that “hyper” and fast-moving and are prone to sickness such as arthritis (rayuma), poor eyesight, loss of hearing, and so on. For an old helper to be a yaya, it can be hard. They couldn’t really keep up with a one-year old kid and would rather cook or clean than chase and play.
My experience: Old maids (literally & figuratively), they are okay. They’re easy to instruct and to deal with but sometimes some of them have this attitude, mamaru or nagmamarunong (know it all). There was this one yaya of Gabbie, around 40 years old who tend to ignore whatever I teach her and me being all nice didn’t mind it the few times it happened until I noticed she’s giving me the pasok sa kaliwang tenga, labas sa kanang tenga attitude (pretending she’s listening when intently she’s not). Because as I’ve learned, she doesn’t like getting orders from a 26 year old. Mmmmkay, buh-bye.
SECOND, THE NEWBIE
- The Newbie Wannabe
Pros: Most of the newbies are around 17-20+ years old and are in tip-top shape. They’re young and are willing to learn, given that life is hard in the rural area (most of them grew up in provinces and took the chance to learn and work in the city). The newbies are also great as yayas, they like playing with kids and enjoy taking care of them.
Cons: As much as you want to trust them your house, a part of you still thinks twice. Their tendency to be naive and oblivious about life’s reality can put your family’s life in jeopardy.
My experience: Newbies are a bit harder to teach, given some are literally new at working as helpers. Most of them are clueless but that’s just the easy part. There’s this one yaya of Gabbie who was super nice that when strangers approached her and Gabbie when we were at the mall, she happily obliged as one lady tried carrying my daughter. I was utterly shocked, my heart skipped a beat! What if the intention of the stranger was to take Gabbie away from her? The yaya couldn’t have done anything but smile. Too good & too nice to strangers can be very bad.
LASTLY, THE HUSTLER
pros: Make that introduction: Someone who is willing to be a helper or a yaya and would accept work even if the pay is lower than her usual rate. She earns your trust and and in return you give her yours. Everything is smooth sailing (at least for the first month or so). Little flaws appear now and then but you don’t really mind because she’s doing a swell job in taking care of the house and of your children. cons: Okay, here’s a summary: A helper/maid that puts her best foot forward. It can last a week or for others even years just to earn your trust. She can be as perfect and fitting for your family but eventually when the need arises, she can just turn into someone different. A whole other person who may discreetly or blatantly show you her hustling skills.
My experience: Not that we’ve experienced anything traumatizing or something that had prompted us to call the authorities (thank God for that). The last yaya of Gabbie was a mix of an old maid, a newbie and a hustler. Old maid because she’s at her 40’s but looks young for her age. Newbie because she had worked as a server for a restaurant but never as a house help or yaya so the whole house help experience for her was new. A hustler because at first she was very nice and super playful with Gabbie but eventually (in just two weeks) all of the traits you wouldn’t want your househelp to have was in her. She talks back with a tone, she uses her phone while she’s suppose to look after Gabbie, she touches things that need not to be touched (of course without permission), she’s curious enough to try Gabbie’s hair clips (eewww, talk about hygiene) and so on. At first she was okay but in two weeks time, her effort of concealing who she really was wasn’t as strong as she thought. So upon learning her nuances, I was rather uncomfortable leaving Gabbie with her even just to take a bath. I just couldn’t trust her so despite spending for her fare (to bring her here in the city from the province), we decided to let her go than not get along, the trust was just not there anyway.
Flaws are there and there’s no such thing as a perfect yaya/helper. One can be the old maid but still have the energy to use her cellphone more often than I can in between work, BUT wouldn’t dare make an effort in keeping up with your child’s energy. While the other can be a newbie but has a hustler tendency in the long run (could be influenced by other helpers). These three kinds of helpers can be a mix of; old maid hustler, newbie hustler or even an old maid newbie. Get what I mean? However you want to classify them, you most likely will get the same formula.
You see, house helpers can be our stress eliminator but sometimes they can also be the cause of our stress. Perfection is far even for parents (I for instance) so it is just fitting to not expect too much from our helpers. Patience in training them to be the best helper they can be for the household and the children can be the most suitable action we can do as home makers. I’ve known people who are lucky that their yayas and house helpers have been with them for years (I so, so envy you) and I’ve been wishing to find “the one” that’s suitable for me, my family & our home.
So my quest for the perfect house helper has gone to a halt. I’d rather be one hundred percent hands on with Gabbie and our new home. I don’t really mind the cleaning, the laundry and the cooking (okay, except the ironing which I am no expert at all). In the meantime for parents (most especially wives) out there who are looking for a house help, I wish you all good luck! Share your stories and experiences with me if you’ve found “the one” or even encountered the kinds of helpers I mentioned. As for me, I’ll be enjoying my desserts now, one less stress eliminated *winks*
After all, if moms out there can do it, I so can too! *harnessing all the good vibes I need* Please send me some friends & the universe. I am officially helpless but happy! *does the happy dance*
I do not generalize helpers ha. These are just based on my experience. I know a lot of my friends who are very lucky to have good and loyal helpers. In my case, I’m just not lucky enough. I know there’s an angel somewhere who will help me make my every day life easier. 😉
Stay safe from typhoon Pedring (to those affected here in the Philippines)