Sunday, August 10

The Yaya Quest

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.


Cookie said...

Hirap talaga to find good help nowadays. I had to go through several too before finally finding our helpers. I agree with all your tips. I think having good reference is really a must. Para naman matanong mo yung pinanggalingan nya kung ok sya.

Anonymous said...

What do you require her to wear?

Rowena said...

They can wear short pants, t-shirts, skirts and house dress.

Anonymous said...

And when it comes to uniform, which clothes? I also wonder why she only needs to wear uniform when going out? How is it when you have guests, does she have to wear uniform then? Many nannies and maids have to wear uniforms (like skirts, blouses and aprons) all the time?

Annamanila said...

Kadalasan talaga, swertihan lang yan. We have to contend with a succession of maids who come and go like the wind before you stumble on the right one who are good with the children, efficient, and sensible and will stay and stay and stay .. but only if we treat them with the right combination of TLC, fair treatment, and a modicum of discipline too, lest they abuse. Tell your friend to be patient and perservering and to keep your tips in mind.

Toe said...

Great tips Rowena! I may be looking back at this post soon. I've never had trouble before because all our help in my mom's house have been with us for 40 years na... ang problem ngayon, they're old na. I guess it's hard to find good help nowadays.

Heart of Rachel said...

Thank you for these helpful tips Wenchie. It's really to hard to find good help nowadays.

I'm very grateful that my old, reliable yaya has stayed with me all these years. She's like a second mom to me and I know that she loves us very much. I feel secure that my son is always in good hands. She's getting old and in the past few years we have hired other maids to help her with the chores. Yaya often gets one of her nieces to help in the house. They often stay for two years and after that it's either they continue their studies or want to spend more time with their family in the province.

I hope that your friend will find a good, honest and reliable household helper soon.