One Year and Counting: How We Survived a Yaya-Less Household
Here’s something you should know about me: I lost track of the number of household helpers we had. In the five years that my husband and I are living together, I could say that we have close to 20 helpers already, one even lasted for less than 24 hours! When our last yaya said goodbye last April 2016, that was our last straw. We’re tired of looking (and hoping!) for a reliable househelp that we decided to just stop hiring one.
One year later, we are still yaya-less and we don’t mind.
Sure, I still miss those times when a meal is waiting for us when we go down, fresh clothes waiting on the cabinets, and a squeaky clean house when we go home. I miss not worrying about the laundry or what to cook, and give my undivided attention to the kids.
Sadly, finding a reliable help these days is close to impossible – or perhaps we just didn’t hit the jackpot on this one. On the bright side, at least we don’t have to deal with other people who have tons of issues and drama in life. We can leave our valuable things on the table and still find it there after a few days. We have more freedom at home without worrying about possible offending or hurting someone else’s feelings. My kids are also growing up independently since they don’t have a yaya who will do things for them, which is a good thing.
The best part about yaya-less household is that we are able to save more! I used to do the grocery every week and since we started living sans helpers, we could extend our supplies for even two weeks or more (since helpers are extremely wasteful of even the littlest things!). We were able to allot the supposed sweldo to more important things.
Of course, managing a household without extra hands is not a walk in the park. It was hard, but we managed to survive. In case you are wondering how we did it, here’s how:
- Wake up early.
I know how precious every minute of sleep is, but waking up earlier than the kids helped me a lot in terms of finishing chores and work. I started waking up at 4:30am, but my energy level gets depleted immediately so I gave myself another hour or two to sleep. Waking up at 5:30 or 6am is not bad since I was able to do a lot – and peacefully too.
- Always cook in batches.
I am for making my life easier so I always cook in batches. Usually, I cook dishes that will last for two (or even three!) meals. Apart from making things easier for me, I can also save time, which I could allot for other equally important chores.
- Make-ahead meals are your new best friend.
Aside from cooking in batches, I also enjoy making make-ahead meals and just store it in the freezer. You will often find marinated tapa, adobo, salpicao, and breaded fish on our freezer and thaw when needed. I sometimes buy marinated meals in the grocery. There are times when I wake up late or I had to do some errands and have little time to cook, and these make-ahead meals could save the day.
- Don’t be afraid of take-outs or food delivery.
Call us bad parents, but there are instances when we are too lazy to cook. We would opt for food delivery from Yellow Cab or Shakey’s or sometimes buy food when we’re in the mall. Nonetheless, we made it a point to limit food delivery and take-outs to up to three times a month since we are for healthy living too.
Tip: Make sure to save the plastic spoon and forks from take-outs. If you’re feeling lazy to wash the dishes, use these disposable items and throw it after meals.
- Find reliable and durable appliance partners.
I was talking to one of the parents in Gymboree when we started talking about appliances. She told me that she ordered an automatic cleaner that does the mopping for her. She can just control the appliance through her phone and will alert her once it’s done. Trust me. I was so tempted to get one. Haha!
I may not have a robotic cleaner, but I have several appliances that make my life easier like spin mop, washing machine, rice cooker, and pressure cooker. When you have no helper at home, these appliances are heaven sent.
- Two words: Chore List.
I can’t survive without a list! It helps me keep track of the chores we need to do every week, although I scrapped the schedule I assigned to our previous helpers. I also have a Chore Chart to help me remember the last time I cleaned a certain area at home.
- Ask for extra hands.
I am lucky that I live few houses away from my parents. Their helper always brings food for us or helps us with chores, especially with the laundry and folding of clothes.
Still, I rely heavily on my husband. We have designated tasks to fulfill and we make sure we do it. I also trained my kids to help me with simple tasks like packing away of toys and fixing the bed. As of this date, my kids are helping us with washing the dishes and watering the plants.
The bottom line is ask for help whenever you can. It’s okay. Parents are superheroes, but we need sidekick from time to time too.
- Keep the kids busy.
Go ahead, judge me, but I let my kids use the iPad or watch TV when I need to do something. It keeps them busy, behave, and still, which allows me to move around the house and do what I need to do. My kids rarely sleep in the afternoon, which can be a good opportunity to get things done, so I just maximized technology to help me accomplish tasks at home. This leads you to the next tip.
- Train yourself to love mess.
I think I have OCD. Any changes at home like a toy placed in the wrong box or a colored pen mixed with pencils irritates me big time. I cringe at the sight of mess and would always clean up every time because I want the house to be squeaky-clean. I used to do this when our last helper left, only to realize that I spend hours just cleaning instead of focusing on other things, say playing and actually having fun with the kids.
Slowly, I was able to accept and embrace mess, especially if there are hyper kids around. I usually ask my kids to play in one room only so I don’t have to see toys in other areas in the house. After all, no matter how long I look at their Barbie’s and kitchen toys, they will always stay in place. I’ll just let them be.
- Spend time with yourself.
This is the most important thing. Managing a household, taking care of the kids, and doing something for a living without any household help can be challenging and exhausting. I started neglecting my personal needs for a while since there’s just so many things to do. As a result, I was cranky and always in beast-mode because I was just so tired! Since then, I promised myself never to neglect my personal needs. Moms deserve a break, too. What’s the point of having a clean house if I don’t feel happy and contented, right? After all, this no-yaya situation is in it for good.
A former law student turned stay-at-home mom of two. Join me and read my adventures as I go through this crazy world called parenting and mommy-hood.