There are a few among us who don't get yayas for their kids. I think these few should be given medals or even just an award for being supermoms. There are also a select few who get 2 yayas for 1 child and those who still have yayas and are already in their 20's. To these groups of people, shame on you for hiring someone to push the stroller and another to carry your child or bag, if the child is already running around. Maybe i'm just envious because I know that they don't get stressed out about dayoffs like I do.
One of the hardest things about having a child is having a yaya. They are stressful, psychotic and plain old annoying. The saying "can't live with them, can't live without them" refers to yayas. Not unless you're lucky enough to still have the yaya who took care of you as a child, then you are truly one of the lucky few. The vast majority have no idea where to get one so we turn to the agencies to give us options to choose from. When I was a new mom I had a hard time interviewing because I was new at this and they were not. Even the 20 somethings were veterans at the interview game. Here are a few tips when interviewing one from an agency.
1. Have your top 3 requirements/non negotiables. For example mine were. a. Younger than 50. b. Only 1 dayoff a month and c. Salary is 6thousand max. I told the person at the agency these 3 things so that they wouldn't waste my time letting me interview people who don't want to agree to my requirements (they still did, they would do anything to make money).
2. Ask her how old she is. Then ask for the year she was born. Why? Because they lie, if they're very old they subtract a few years and if they're young, they'll add some. Why you don't want someone young, how much experience could a 21yr old have taking care of a baby? Why you don't want someone old, lets face it the older you are the harder it is for you to see, hear and the slower you are. I once tried a yaya who said she was 50 (She was at least 60) who couldn't see anymore. She was changing Maxine's diaper and Maxine started to pee, she didn't even see that pee was coming out as she was cleaning. "ay kaya pala parang may mainit" was what she said.
3. I have this theory that yayas with short hair do a better job. I don't know why but I prefer them with short hair. I hate seeing falling hair on the floor. I really don't want to see my child holding or chewing on her yaya's hair. I find short hair neater, I even give my help headbands to keep their hair out of their faces.
4. Make sure you're yaya knows how to sing a lullabye or just plain old put a baby to sleep. I once saw a yaya talk to the baby "bakit ayaw mo matulog? bakit ka umiiyak?" and another yaya who sang London Bridge Is Falling Down as she shook the baby to sleep.
5. Ask the yaya when she does her laundry. The answer is supposed to be when her job is done or when the baby is asleep. There are yayas who ask the maid to look after the baby during the daytime whlle they slowly wash their clothes or wash their clothes while the baby is crying, waiting for someone else to do their job.
6. Ask her what time she goes to sleep and what time she wakes up. You don't want someone who watches telenovelas until 11pm because your baby will wake up whenever she feels like it (and most likely it will be early). If you sleep late and wake up early, what do you get? A sleepy yaya, and a sleepy yaya is a clumsy yaya. Tell them to sleep when the baby is sleeping so they get enough rest.
7. Clarify your house rules early on. Ask her if she thinks she can abide by them. I don't let the yaya use her cellphone when the baby is awake. Because i've seen yayas texting while feeding the baby, texting while carrying the baby, texting all the time. I hate it. If you don't want your yaya kissing your baby, make sure to make that clear early on. Some moms don't understand this pet peeve of mine saying there's nothing wrong with the yaya kissing their child. I always ask, so if you had a daughter its okay with you if your driver kisses her too? I'm sure some will answer yes. I remember a time in HS when my school actually held a seminar on yayas and drivers because one of the teachers saw a driver changing the clothes of the student. It's okay, i'm sure there was no malice (but are we really really sure??). The student was in grade 5 (I don't know why she didn't know how to change her own clothes) and it wasn't a pretty sight to see.
8. Most yayas ask for 2 days off nowadays, if not they'll say that they'll get 1 day off but overnight. Overnight means 24hours. If they leave at 7am they have to be back by 7 the next day. Make the time clear. But no matter how clear you are with them, be assured that they will never come home on time. And their excuse will always be because it's traffic. Some who don't go out ask for compensation.
9. Find out how much experience they've had. Make clear that if they say they took care of so and so they mean they worked for someone. Because taking care of their nieces and nephews don't count. If they can give the number of their former employer that would be great for you, but that happens rarely and when you do get a number its usually a fake one.
10. If you plan to breastfeed, find out if they've worked for someone who has breastfed. So you know that they know how to handle breast milk. If they haven't then that means you have to make clear how important the milk is and how careful they have to be with it. I've had a yaya who threw away 10oz of my milk because she thought it tasted bad. But she's never tasted breast milk before so she has nothing to compare it with and to this day it disturbs me why she drank the milk in the first place!
11. You're the boss. Make clear that you didn't hire her to be her friend or to be treated like her child (this is one of the cons when you get someone much older than you). I don't like the superstitious beliefs that yayas have with their alaga, like putting a strand of thread on their foreheads when they hiccup. I had a yaya who ruined the bed sheet just so she could do that. This is another question you could ask before you even hire the person. Because if you don't want you baby's feet smelling like ginger then find out. You can't really cover all the bases so when the time comes that you and your yaya disagree on something, you should put your foot down your rules should be followed. She is your child after all.
11. If you were lucky enough to find someone you think is okay on the phone, go to the agency and interview her one more time personally. Take a look at the person who will be taking care of your child when you can't. Judge the book by its cover.
Remember that half of what they say has been rehearsed and you really won't know the truth about them until they're in your house for a few months. You won't find out how capable they are until you see them working already. If you see something you don't like look for a replacement, you have 3 chances to find someone that you really like. Don't settle for less because in the end whatever small thing you didn't like in the beginning, will seem bigger as she stays longer. Read the contract before you sign it. Their contracts usually last for 6 months, after that you have to pay the agency fee again if you want to get someone new. Be warned that they usually show their true colors at the 6th month, I don't know if its a coincidence (I dont think it is) or its them trying to annoy you enough so you'll fire them (if you fire them, you will have to pay a compensation). Lastly, be kind and encouraging. They take care of your child when you aren't around so you want them to be happy with their jobs. Check up on them only from time to time especially if you see they know what they're doing. Let them do their jobs, just make sure your child is well fed, clean, healthy and happy.
Don't take it personally when they decide to leave, because they will leave for whatever reason they have. Good luck in this tiresome endeavor and remember, you've only just begun!