Early in our marriage, my husband and I never thought of hiring someone as helper. We rented out a small cozy apartment in Bulacan before and we felt at that time we can manage all the chores by ourselves while keeping both our corporate jobs. And then our kids came in to the picture. We can no longer keep up with the chores while rearing two kids and maintaining our jobs at the same time. Someone has to stay with our kids while we were out. We were able to hire not 1 but 2 maids back then. I have no in laws or close kin to look after them so we need to hire asap. They were both in their early 40s, thank God. One in charge of the house, cooking, laundry and cleaning and the other one concentrated on taking care of the two kids. Though it was so hard to leave my kids to them, I need to accept the fact that during that time I still need my job.
Came the challenging years when those two maids needed to be replaced not because they were not good but because they have kids who have babies to take care of too. They were needed by their own families. We have no choice but to let them go and look for another helpers. Several recommendations were given to us by close friends and families but most of the applicants were teens. I could no longer find the same caliber and skills that my old maids have. But I need to hire soon or else we wont be able to work. So in short, we were able to hire younger helpers at home. They should always be in tandem or in pairs. But hiring younger ones has given me loads and loads of migraines and stress. They needed to be reminded of their duties all the time. You need to train them what to do again and again because if not you’ll end up doing it by yourself. Sometimes after their day offs, the next day they won’t show up and won’t even try to call you and tell you the reasons for not coming. They just won’t show up.
For years, we had to deal with these situations and at one point it became so frustrating, helpless and stressful already. My husband and I had a serious talk and planned out our next move. It was a plan that I never thought would ever come out of the plate. I had to resign from work. It was so hard to do but I did. We were both scared on what would happen next because our finances were at stake. But we have to do what we have to do. My kids need me more than I need my job. It was one tough decision we had to face. I have to stop working after 16 years.
Today, it’s been three years since my last helper left. My eldest is now going 9 and my youngest just turned 7. The thought of returning back to work sometimes kicks in since the kids can already manage themselves. And the thought of hiring a maid to do all the chores for us is already possible. But within those three years that I have been maidless, I was able to manage home, kids and make extra income for the family from online selling and a store. But I will be brutally honest. It was very difficult physically, financially and emotionally for me. I used to cry at night alone and during mornings when all of them are in school and office already. Probably due to burnout because I am always alone in the house, usually tired everyday and I have no extra me-time for myself. But I have to channel off the negativities into something positive. In doing so, it made me realize that having no extra help at all has given me lessons and plus more in life. I just look at it this way…
Less stressful situations at home. Based from my own experiences, back from the days my helpers were with me, the level of stress I have everyday were much much bigger compared today. The reason we hire helpers is because we have situations at home that needed extra hand. But if it turns out you’re cuddling problematic helpers then that would mean additional burden to the already chaotic situations that you have. Their problems become your own problems too. That’s a big source of stress.
Raised independent children. I believe I have taught them the value of independence early on. That is to not to depend on me all the time or as we coined the phrase ourselves “gawa paraan” in between our domestic activities at home. This way you’ll be able to test their patience, resourcefulness and their being responsible for whatever difficulty they may encounter. Having a yaya or maid will not teach them that. It will teach them the reverse.
Improved relationships with my family. When one member is cleaning the house, everybody in the family should help and share in the cleaning too. You create a bond this way because you accomplish things together as family. It becomes more meaningful. You look out for one another when one needs help. It’s a beautiful thing.
I have come to know my self more. “You will never know how strong you really are until being strong is the only choice you have.” This is so true for me. I was able to deal with the most difficult and hardest truths of life in all its forms. I have no choice but to accept them as they happened. But it turns out I learned valuable lessons from it. And I become better and more mature with the decisions and choices I make every step of the way.