A very good friend Malou, a mother to her one year old kid is now calling me often. She is just adjusting to married life and at the same time dealing with nannies/helpers. Maybe she thought I’m an expert when it comes to this matter, having four kids and dealt with almost 70+ helpers (in a span of 10 years) already in my household. My friends and relatives can attest though that I’m such a good, generous (to a fault) employer inspite of the heavy turn-over of my household staff. I guess, I’m not just so lucky to have the helper/nanny that I wanted or if ever I found one, she has to leave to take care of her own family or go abroad to seek greener pasture. Anyway, back to my friend’s dilemma, she recently had about 5 helpers/nanny already. One of them, she caught smoking inside her room while taking care of the baby and spends too much time on tv’s videoke channel and texting her children in the province. Of course, she has to go. The other one has hygiene problem, she doesn’t use soap when taking a bath and doesn’t brush her teeth. Gee, this is really a problem. The other nanny will go on a day off and return a day after (if she’s lucky) or two days after pay day. My blood temper is boiling when I heard her, my college friend and kumare is such a nice, kind, generous soft-spoken lady (an Opus Dei member), she doesn’t know what to do. Of course, I tell her not to tolerate the bad, abusive behavior of her helper or nanny and if she can, tell them to leave. I also gave her tips. Here are some of them:
- ask her about her past employment history, the kind of work she did before and the reason she left her employer. If possible, ask her the name of her past employers. Ask for references. Check them out later. Or if possible an NBI clearance. Another friend’s two kids were kidnapped by the nanny and her boyfriend. Good thing our friend, knows where the boyfriend lives. They were able to get the kids, and luckily they were not harmed. The couple landed in jail.
- ask her about her educational attainment, so you’ll know if she can read labels (warning signs, instructions, etc.), can count money (had one who doesn’t know, she often came home with short change). Ask her what she will do if the child suddenly has fever? Or assess if she can be a security risk to the family.
- ask her about her family. I had one helper whom I discovered, during our occasional chats, has suicidal tendency and actually tried to commit it when her hubby cheated on her and one of her kids died. Good thing, she decided to leave before I could tell her. She said she missed her children.
- look at her grooming, check out her fingernails. Remember, the yaya would be responsible for your kid’s hygiene. Common rules include that she has to use alcohol before touching the baby or preparing her milk/food. The hair should be tied back always. Of course, she should take a bath daily and brush her teeth as well (if you can, provide toiletries for her). I also tell them they can’t wear shorts or spaghetti strap blouses in the house. There are times, I let them wear a uniform when we go out.
- Inform her of her responsibilities and your house rules, ask if she’s willing to follow them. If not, scout for somebody else.