Finding a good kasambahay/yaya is like finding a needle in a haystack. I grew up having an ate all the time and I can’t remember anymore how many ate’s came and went. Here’s a confession: I was a certified bratinella when I was a kid and I think I was one of the reasons why some of them left. Especially those who I don’t like. I’m having a guilt-retrospect here.
When I had Lucas, I was yaya-less for about a month. My Mama would only visit us during weekends and it was really difficult. We spent the next two months at my Mama’s and my sister helped me out with The Little Jedi. As much as I want to take care of my baby, I also needed to work. I knew I had to look for someone to look after Lucas when I go back to work. Luckily, a week before I went back to work, my Aunt’s kasambahay‘s sister was looking for work so I took her in. Enter Ate Weng.
Weng is a cheerful mom of three. Her sister, my Aunt’s yaya, has been with them for almost two decades now. First thing I noticed about her is her immediate fondness of Lucas. That fondness wasn’t just for show or to impress me. She was really fond of children. She has flaws (like texting waay too much kahit naglalaba katabi ang telepono!). But overall, she is a good Ate to Lucas and a big help to us. She’s been with us for more than a year and I am praying that she would stay longer. We are blessed to have her.
There are so many things I learned a lot from having a Yaya. I applied some of the Performance Management techniques with her. Hehe. Pardon the HR-ish tone of my post.
1. Treat your yaya like a good employer would treat any employee. I teach performance management at work and I have applied certain guidelines. No, I did not give her a 3rd and 5th month evaluation (Hubby joked before that he would) but I did a sort of “objective setting”. I gave her clear instructions. I followed the SMART principle. Simply put tell them what you want and what you don’t want and keep reminding them until they get the hang of it. Do not be impatient. They too, have a learning curve.
2. Do not compare them to you. They may not be as OC as you are, or as intuitive, or as creative. Each yaya is unique. Like all employees, they have strengths and areas for improvement. Try to see what they are really good at and acknowledge it. Teach them what they do not know yet.
3. Don’t be impersonal. Ask them about their day, their family, what they like to do, what they don’t like to do. Be genuinely interested at them.
4. Praise in public, reprimand in private. I used to scold Weng when we are going out and Hubby made me realize it’s wrong. And it makes sense. In business coaching, the same principle is encouraged. Nobody wants to be embarrassed in front of other people. If you do not like something that she is doing or not doing, you can tell her in the car or when you’re home. At the same time acknowledge the extraordinary things she’s done and reward her. Acknowledging may mean buying her favorite snack, a bonus, a raise or a nice gift for her birthday and Christmas.
5. They are family. More than just employees, treat them as part of your family. Employees come home to their families after work. Our yaya’s only have us 24/7 or 24/5. Genuinely care for them and their families. When Weng went home to Surigao last May, I got all her kids schoolbags. I wanted to go to divi and buy them more stuff but I am guilty of being too busy that time. 😦 I also believe in the golden rule: do unto others what you want others do unto you. Treat them as family and they will treat you and your children family too.
6. Teach them new things. You know how employees want to be sent to training as part of a development plan? I figured I could do the same with Weng. I teach her how to cook because she’s also interested to learn.I think she enjoys the food that I cook so I plan to give her a compilation of recipes so she can cook it the net time she visits Surigao. I would also like to teach her how to make beaded accessories.
7. Do not expect them to be perfect. Learn how to prioritize expectations. Weng is not he best cook. There are also times when she’s not as OC as I am at home wanting everything to be spic and span. But she is one heck of an ate to Lucas. She really takes good care of him. At first I was unhappy with the other chores left undone in house. Kumbaga if we had an appraisal, meets expectation sya dun or maybe even below meets. But she is an outstanding yaya. One time I asked her what she will do if she sees Lucas being bullied. Violent ang sagot nya! Lagot daw yung yaya ng mga batang yun. Hehe. Of course I told her that there’s a better way to tell other yaya’s off but I have to admit, I was secretly happy with her response. That is why I don’t mind anymore if I come home and the house is disarray. She loves my son and I love her for that.
These tips are not fail-proof. There will be some yaya’s who really cannot do the things we want them to do. If that is the case, then I guess we should weigh the pro’s and cons. Another performance management principle that we can apply if this happens is to ask yourself first. Have you done everything that could have helped her learn the work? If the answer is yes, then maybe you’re not the only one who’s unhappy with the employment. Maybe yaya’s not happy too. You might even be doing her a favor by letting go of her.
So treat our children’s Ate’s and sometimes even Kuya’s well. Especially if your family has been blessed with a really nice one. 🙂