Yayas are not forever. Ideally, they would be here until the kids are old enough to take care of themselves, but what if yaya goes against the plan and leaves unannounced? What do you do?
I am not familiar with the WOHM (moms who work outside the home) setup, and I have only lived the SAHM lifestyle for the first few months of Yuri’s life, so I will be talking about how to prepare to be yaya-less as a WAHM or a work-at-home mom.
The beauty of my work is that it is timed. Unlike other jobs, I can’t just leave an essay if I need to do something else because I need to finish reviewing it in more or less 30 minutes. It’s a little tough, and if your work has the same strict nature, don’t worry. Here are my tips:
1. Prepare several months in advance.
As many of you know, our ex-yaya had a disgraceful exit last Thursday. I did say last weekend that we were able to immediately cope with the changes. Why? Because I already prepared to be yaya-less several months ago. I don’t remember the exact month, but I remember preparing when I understood that the yaya was not sincere with her job. I knew that once she finds the opportunity, she would leave.
So I began taking care of Yuri in large chunks of time. Usually, the yaya would take care of him from 8:30 to 11:30 am and would resume at 1:30pm to 5. Cold turkey, I began being in charge of Yuri until 9:30am, and sometimes, 10am. Then after lunch, I would be in charge of putting him to sleep and will only give him to his yaya at 4pm. Sometimes, Yuri doesn’t leave me at all.
That way, I already know what to do to work while Yuri is with me, so no one is shocked.
And in the case of household chores, nothing much changed since we all did our chores. We washed plates ourselves, laundered clothes ourselves (send them to the laundry shop), etc, while the ex-yaya was still here. In other words, be as less dependent on your yaya as you can starting today!
2. Begin disciplining your child early.
A month ago, I wrote about teaching toddlers obedience, and this is a must if you want to stay sane as a yaya-less WAHM. If your child is around two years old and generally understands instructions, do begin teaching him to obey you already.
Begin with tasks that are easy like keeping their toys after playing with them and throwing their trash. In our case, I can usually request Yuri to do some tasks to help me like getting stuff, keeping his play area (wherever it is) clean, and not doing anything dangerous. He’s still in a stage where he enjoys being “commanded,” so I’m fully taking advantage of it. Haha!
3. Babyproof your house.
As a WAHM whose work is timed, I can’t afford to follow my toddler around to keep him from touching things that he shouldn’t touch. Yuri is aware that he shouldn’t stick his fingers into the electric fan, touch the electrical socket, or go near me while I’m holding a put of boiling water, but he couldn’t keep his hands off the glass cabinets. I think he can’t resist their “see-through” appeal.
So I ordered more cabinet locks and will install them this week. Also very important are the following: corner cushions for tables and the like and door stoppers. Buy them if you haven’t yet, whether your are yaya-less or not.
4. Prepare a list of numbers for reliable food delivery.
If you thought I was going to tell you to prepare emergency numbers, no I’m not because I’m pretty sure you already have them ever since your little one was born. (Well, in our case, here in Davao, we only need to dial one number regardless of the reason: 911.)
Now, during the first few days of being yaya-less, prepare to eat takeout food. We ate takeout food for dinner for the first three days not because no one has the time to cook but because no one has the energy to. I myself have sore muscles everyday, which would hopefully help me lose weight, but tell me I would rather pick up the phone and order food than cook it. Hopefully, this stage doesn’t last long!
5. And finally, be easy on yourself and don’t conform to high standards (unless you can).
I pride myself on raising Yuri without watching much TV. He began truly watching it a couple of months earlier when he discovered Daniel Tiger. But other than that, he barely watched TV because there’s no TV in the living room and I see to it that his yaya take him outdoors.
Now that it’s only me and Yuri, I have to remove myself from those standards and do what I got to do. It is impossible for me to take Yuri outdoors every morning because I have work, so I resorted to having my phone babysit Yuri. He’s already almost 31 months old, so he enjoys it, but truly, this is not my original plan.
And since I do need my phone, I also resorted to buying a new TV so that we can watch something while we’re in the living room. Another tech-baby sitter! Oh no! But with me around, I am still able to explain the things that Yuri sees on TV. Again, this isn’t what I intended to happen, but it’s either I expose him to technology or not work. The latter is not viable, so I need to resort to these options. I would say “no judging,” but some are gonna judge anyway so I’ll let you be! 😀
To those who insist I can prepare him things (Montessori-style) to entertain himself, sorry I can’t. I really want to do that, believe me, but I’ve been dog tired for days now and the last thing on my mind is figuring out what toys and things to place in a tray. Maybe next time?
Those are the things I did to prepare for being yaya-less. I admit I have been spoiled by having a yaya, but that doesn’t mean I can’t function without one. If your yaya is “tagilid” and you think she may leave sooner or later or if you have a yaya whom you want to send away but can’t because you’re still not ready, I’d like you to try these tips. If you are a veteran yaya-less WAHM who survived with a toddler, I appreciate it if your also leave tips. Thank you!
PS: Oh, and here’s a bonus tip: Avoid allowing your child to get attached to the yaya!
Of course, they need to like her, but tell your child that yaya is not mama. Yaya may go but mama will always stay, but I’m not sure how you should say this because only you know your child. Yuri liked his ex-yaya a lot, but because I showed him that yaya is not a permanent fixture in our lives (i.e. I don’t mention her when Yuri and I talk, even before), he barely cried when she left (and Yuri is a dramatic child). He isn’t affected and doesn’t even look for her, to be honest. Don’t talk about it with the child either; be as nonchalant as you can so that your child won’t think losing yaya is a big deal.