Tribute To Yaya Vi

One of the blessings that we Filipinos have is the availability of cheap labor for our household. Yes, I’m referring to helpers or maids, yayas (nannies), cooks, drivers and gardeners.

In Western countries, a family can only afford to hire such help if they are filthy rich. Or if they belong to the rich and famous segment of society and therefore need to keep up the appearance of wealth.

Here in the Philippines, for a meager 3,000 pesos (roughly $75) a month, a lot of mothers from near and far provinces leave their kids to seek employment in Manila. As most of these women did not finish schooling and therefore cannot aspire for a well paying job, a common option for them is to get hired as a stay-in helper for a Manila-based family.

One such woman is my helper, whom we fondly refer to as Yaya Vi.

yaya-vi.jpg

She is not a real yaya (nanny) as I’m a hands-on mom. She sometimes assists me when I need an extra hand in caring for my baby but the rest of the time, she is more of an all-around maid (a helper who generally do the cleaning, laundry, cooking plus other mundane tasks) Yaya Vi came to my household in May 2000 when she was still single.

What I really like about Yaya Vi is her honesty and efficiency. I can trust her to return money left in our jeans’ pocket when she does the laundry. I think we are a good match because like me, she is very particular about neatness and cleanliness in the home. I trained her on my style of cleaning and she quickly adopted it as her own. She has the initiative to look for things that needs to be done around the house (aside from the checklist on her work schedule) and does it even without me asking.

Aside from these admirable traits, she has common sense. And because we’ve had her for a long time and knows our household routine by heart, she can anticipate our needs. She also has a good attitude towards her work. Early on, she told me that should I find anything wrong with her or the way she works, I should call her attention to it and tell her right away so she’d be aware of it and can change for the better! O diba?

Yaya Vi started with us when she was only 19 or 20 years old. After a year with us, she went home to get married. When her kid was already 3 years old, she came back to us but left for home again after a year. Early this year, she came back. But unknown to me, she was already pregnant then. So when she was in danger of having a miscarriage I had to send her back home, both of us with a heavy heart. Back home, she did lose her unborn child and after a few months came back to me.

Of course, like any other person, Yaya Vi has her share of shortcomings and negative traits but I prefer not to dwell on those and instead focus on counting my blessings that I have her in my household.

In a few weeks time, Yaya Vi will be going home to Bicol to take a much deserved Christmas break.  In the meantime, I’m looking for a temporary helper.  I do hope I find somebody like her.

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My Helpers’ Daily Work Schedule

As I mentioned before, I am quite OC (obsessive compulsive) when it come to cleaning and fixing up my house. Aside from being OC, I am also very organized and systematic. Thus when I started running my own household, I developed a template for my helpers Daily Work Schedule . In this list, each helper would easily know what is expected of her as it clearly shows the division of labor as well as a step by step instruction on what to do next. This practically eliminated bickering which is quite common among households helpers.

My list, though it looks long and intimidating at first is really very easy to use and convenient for both parties. The checklist has a tickbox where the helper simply has to check when she’s done with a task. I only have to look at the list to see what has been accomplished so far. I’m the type of person who hates repeating orders and instructions. Helpers, on the other hand usually forget what they’re suppose to do, even if you’ve told them a million times. Thus this system worked perfectly for me and my helpers.

I believe my method has also taught my helpers to be organized and systematic as well. Proof of this? When one of my helpers moved on the her next job, her new employer was so pleased with how well she worked and managed her time. Siyempre, I was super proud of her (and myself na rin, after all, ako yata nag-train dyan!).

Wanna take a sneak peek at my list?

MONDAY
MORNING TO AFTERNOON

Bel – Lutuin ang almusal at baon ng mga bata
Glo – Bigyan ng pagkain at tubig si Chubby(MY DOG, RIP) (linisin

     muna ang plato bago lagyan ng pagkain at tubig)

Bel – Buhusan ng tubig ang labas ng kotse at tuyuin, linisin ang

loob ng kotse
Bel – Magwalis sa labas at magdilig
Bel – Maglinis sa first floor (SALA/DINING/KITCHEN ) ( Magtanggal

ng alikabok (gamitin ang MCCleaner), magwalis AT mag

lampaso (pati hagdanan!)
Bel – Maglinis sa 2nd floor (2 BEDROOMs/ DRESSING ROOM /

2 BANYO & HALLWAY) (Magtanggal ng alikabok (gamitin

ang MC Cleaner), magwalis AT mag lampaso (pati

hagdanan!)(PALITAN ANG MGA BEDSHEET)
Glo – Maglaba ng mga damit / Linisin ang labahan at 3rd floor

roof deck habang nasa washing machine ang mga damit

(LABHAN ANG MGA BASAHAN AT DOOR MAT GAMIT ANG

PINAGLABAHANG TUBIG NA MAY SABON…WAG I-WASHING

MACHINE ANG MGA BASAHAN!!!)
Glo – Magplantsa sa hapon
Glo – Magluto ng tanghalian
Bel – Maghugas ng plato, linisin ang stove at counter, tuyuin

ang lababo pagkahugas ng plato

EVENING


Bel – Magluto ng hapunan (5:30pm)
Bel – Maghugas ng plato, / Linisin ang dalawang stove at

counter, tuyuin ang lababo pagkahugas ng plato
Bel – Bigyan ng pagkain at tubig si Chubby
Glo – Punasan ang mesa at placemat/ Linisin ang rice cooker

at counter / Magwalis sa dining at kitchen (Siguraduhing

malinis ang kusina bago matulog!)
Bel – I-check ang mga pinto,I-off ang mga ilaw (pati sa garahe),

mga tangke ng gas,gripo, plugs bago matulog (GOOD NIGHT!)

Of Maids, MIL and Meralco

Hayy..I had a terrible day yesterday.

Around 11am yesterday, a lineman from Meralco came to our house to announce that he’s disconnecting our line because of non-payment! Shocked, I told him to wait a sec so I can text my hubby and ask where he kept the Meralco receipt. After around 5 minutes of waiting, I tried calling him but his cellphone cannot be reached. So I asked the lineman if he can just come back later as I had no idea where our Meralco receipt was. He said okay but if I couldn’t produce it when he comes back, then he’s gonna disconnect na. I said ok, fine. After a few minutes, hubby called and informed me that because of his hectic schedule this week, he had totally forgotten to pay our bill! So I told him to hurry to the nearest Meralco office to pay. After about half an hour, the lineman came back. I asked him if he could wait because hubby is on his way to the office na to pay. But he said he couldn’t wait anymore as he had several more houses to go to pa and proceeded to DISCONNECT our line! Grabe, I was so upset! Imagine I had a newborn in the house tapos walang kuryente! But what happened next was even more upsetting….

When my helper went downstairs, my MIL who is temporarily staying with us asked her if there’s a power failure. My maid said the lineman had just disconnected our line. Aba, my MIL got so mad! Bakit daw di siya sinabihan, para daw siyang tanga dun, waiting for the meat to become tender in the slowcooker, tapos wala naman pala daw kuryente. Kung hindi pa daw siya nagtanong, di nya malalaman. My helper told her that kakaputol lang just now. MIL said, “kahit na, dapat sinabihan nyo ko! and then proceeded to bang the pots and pans while she went on with her cooking. We thought it was just the usual init ng ulo and everything will be alright afterwards. But later that night when I asked my helper to hold my baby while I take a shower, I suddenly heard my MIL addressing the maid in an angry and condescending tone “Hoy, kuha mo ng pagkain si J (my second child) and then according to my maid, banged my son’s plate rudely on my bed and then grabbed the baby from her. Pagbalik ni Yaya from the kitchen, she saw that MIL and baby were playing peek-a-boo, so siyempre, knowing that MIL is mad, scared na siya to attempt to get the baby from her so she went out of our room na. Again I heard MIL’s very angry voice saying – Oy, oy, oy saan ka pupunta, kunin mo tong bata! Later that night, I found my maid crying because apparently, earlier in the day, nasigawan din siya ni MIL when I asked her to inform my MIL that my brother in law had a call from an agency asking him to board a vessel na (bro-in-law is a seaman, btw), MIL lashed out at her in an angry tone – “Aba, malay ko ba dyan, wala naman sya dito pano siyang sasakay ng barko! ” Hello, duh??!, we were just relaying a phone message for his son ano?! I’m so sure pag di namin sinabi yung message, magagalit din siya.

Hay naku, I feel so sorry for my maid pero wala naman akong magawa. My hands are tied. I can’t confront MIL and hubby about this because we already had falling out with MIL many years back because of the exact same thing – her attitude towards my maids. I feel I will be risking another family feud if I bring up the issue with my hubby.

Living under the same roof with my MIL these past few months had really been so frustrating. I feel that I am walking in a mine field when she’s here. Para siyang time bomb, ready to explode any minute without any provocation from anybody. With her, it’s a damn if you do, damn if you don’t sort of thing. And like in a court of law, what you say or don’t say can and will be taken against you! My maids and I are always treading on precarious grounds when she’s here. And it’s getting to be so tiring na.

I can’t hardly wait for next month when we move back to QC. Coz she won’t be moving in with us. Thank God I can finally regain the sense of peace and happy, easy-going atmosphere back in my household.

Hayy naku…. I am still so upset!