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Yaya dilemmas


Dear Suzi and Paolo,

What are your requirements for choosing a helper and yaya? We’ve had so many bad experiences in the past that we’re scared, but as I am a working mom, a yaya is necessary.


Quezon City


Suzi says:

Hello there, Tiffany! Aww, I feel you. In this day and age when moms also work, we definitely need someone we can trust to leave our kids with. Lately it’s been harder and harder to find good people to help around the house. My theory is that since there is much industrialization in the province, possible helpers prefer to stay in their provinces and find work there.

We have never had to go to an agency for help because the yayas we have have been with the family from many years ago. Our first helper was from my husband’s family and moved to ours when we started having kids. That was 12 years ago. Total with Paolo’s family, 30 years in service! Our other helper is the sister of our second yaya from before. She’s also been with our family for seven years now. Needless to say we have been extremely blessed!

Better always to get a recommendation from a family member or a friend’s yaya. Keep in mind though that there are no guarantees and we must not blame whoever made the recommendation, especially when they only have the best intentions.

Be kind and communicative once they arrive. Set ground rules but always make them feel like you are a fair person and that you can be approachable. I think that for all possible issues that may arise in the future (them feeling lonely, them feeling like they have too much work, etc.), they will find it difficult to leave if they know you’ve been kind to them.

Be fair also with compensation. Unlike drivers who usually get the weekend off, yayas and helpers work almost seven days a week! Offer them also SSS and PhilHealth benefits once they’ve stayed for an agreed amount of time so that they have something to look forward to and stay on with the family.

Last but not the least, trust your gut. Your instincts will guide you if the person is not fit for your family. Your children’s safety is the priority so once you have a feeling that that is compromised, it’s better to find a replacement. Good luck, mommy!


Paolo says:

Hello, Mommy Tiffany.

Thanks for your letter. I know how you feel. When we had our first child, we wanted to do everything ourselves. We soon realized that we would need help. There was a bit of an adjustment period but our yayas have been an important and valued part of our family, and that’s how we continue to see them: family.

We’ve been very lucky with our yayas. And have only had three over the years. I feel it’s been a mix of luck and also a good relationship with them. I’m a firm believer in getting back what you give. While many families have had to deal with a constant turn around and adjustment period with yayas coming and going, we’ve had mostly positive experiences.

Due to the way we work and live here when you think about it, yayas may likely spend equal or often more total hours with our children. They are our partners in child raising so it’s very important that you are able to employ someone you can trust to pass on your values to your children. But more than seeing them as employees, we have welcomed our yayas as part of the family, shaping and molding their character and values to compliment ours, so that we can be sure and confident our children are in good hands.

Above all, we value trustworthiness. While there are basic police clearances that can be asked for, a lot of it is gut feel. It’s hard to let a piece of paper dictate whether you trust someone with your child or not. Clearances are a must, but let your gut feel guide you, too. Often a recommendation from a direct relative is also a good indication.

Make sure that your yaya understands what your thoughts and values are when it comes to discipline and child raising as they will be a direct influence on your child and you want to be sure your terms are understood. But even the most solid of characters will not shine if they aren’t treated well. Think long term. Think of your yayas as valued members of the family, pay them properly, and work with them to bring out their best so that you will have a valued ally in raising your child.

Good luck!