The Yaya Chronicles

Aside from raising kids, one thing I think I have mastered from my 11 years of being a mother is dealing with a yaya (or the absence thereof). In 11 years, I have dealt with and employed at least a dozen. All of them came and went leaving me clueless as to why nobody would last at least a year. I went on yaya breaks (mostly not by choice) every now and then and I would try to reflect what went wrong with the one that recently left.

As a mom who knows the value of yayas in raising kids these days, I give these tips to make them stay longer and love your family like their own (not that I’m an expert on this, but maybe by experience I’ve learned a thing or two that may work for you too):

1. Have a clear and defined job description. One thing I learned is that, all-around maids are non-existent anymore. You hire either a housekeeper, a cook, or a nanny. She can’t have all three jobs at the same time, unless you offer her a package she can’t resist. And when you do, explain to her that the reason she’s getting more is because she’s expected to do more.

2. They need enough rest too. Household helps are there for an obvious reason — as help. You can’t expect them to do everything for you. They are humans too and need rest as much as we do. Set a specific time to rest so they do not overdo it. Just the same, set a sleeping time and waking up time so they know when they start and end their day.

3. Treat them like family without losing your authority. Most household helps these days would not work as one if given a choice. They would rather work as salesladies, cashiers, or tinderas in tiangges even if that means less take home pay for them. Being treated like family is something they would not expect but would highly appreciate. If they see their alaga as their own blood, you won’t have to worry that your kids will be maltreated because they’d have genuine concern for them.

4. Give them what they’re due. It usually takes me a couple of months to evaluate a yaya’s performance. This is when I would assess if she’s a keeper or she’s just not the right fit. Learning from previous experiences, I know that one way to keep them is to give salary that is above industry standards. If you think she deserves it, by all means, give it to her. If you can afford regular increases, better. By rewarding them commensurate to their years of service, they would appreciate their jobs better and give you their loyalty.

5. Learn to deal with bale. On the onset, discuss the rules for bale (cash advance). I personally don’t grant months worth of bale most especially if they’re leaving for a short “emergency” vacation. Chances are, they won’t be coming back. Set rules like only cash advance for the next half a month will be granted, or they can’t make advances until the last one has been served or rendered. By telling them these rules before they start, they would know what to expect. It would also avoid disappointments in the future for when they ask for it and you don’t approve.

6. Give performance incentives. For some who feels giving an increase is too much, performance incentive is another option. This reward system gives practically the same result without getting tied with a monthly cost. Set an objective you most likely want to see, like if yaya is able to teach baby at least three words this month, she gets a free movie ticket. Another would be, if yaya gets to teach baby to consistently use the potty in a month’s time, she gets a free salon makeover. Whatever tickles her fancy. Just remember to set realistic objectives and don’t forget to inject fun in the program. Chances are, your household help will enjoy doing her job and you achieve your goals. Win win!

These tips should give you ideas on how to keep your yayas. You may customize it further to cater to your needs as you go along. Let’s admit it, at some point, we need them more than they need us so we have to take care of them and give them what they’re due. Of course, this is on the premise that we hired the good ones who know how to pay their respects too.

Do you have any more to add to this list mommies? Let’s help one another and share your tips in the comments section.


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