“Rring! Rring! Rring!” A young lady in pink pajama top and bottom with Hello Kitty designs gropes for the alarm clock beside her bed and shuts it off. Getting off the bed, she rubs her eyes, yawns and stretches.
"Good morning, Aimee. Thank you, Lord, for a brand new day! Where could my slippers be? Ah, There they are,” Aimee says as she slips on a pair of furry pink slippers peeking underneath the bed.
Walking towards the corner of the room, she stops beside a wooden crib. Aimee smiles tenderly at the sleeping one month old baby clad in white shirt and disposable diapers. “Sorry to wake you up, my little Princess.” She then picks up Princess from the crib and gives her a bath.
A middle-aged woman dressed in floral duster enters the room and asks, “Are you coming with us to the doctor today, Aimee?”
“Yes, Nanay. I filed for a leave of absence so I can come with you and Princess for her check up,” Aimee replies.
“What happened to Inday? She is supposed to help you take care of Princess,” said Maria.
A day before, a thin, petite, middle-aged woman with long black hair had knocked on the door of Aimee’s bedroom and said, “Ate, puwede po ba ako mag day-off ngayon? Magpapa check up lang po ako kasi masama ang pakiramdam ko. Puwede po rin bang mag advance ako ng isang buwan kong suweldo para may pambayad po ako sa doctor at pambili ng gamot?”
Aimee had said, “Sige, Inday. Mabuti na nga rin na magpatingin ka kasi baka mahawa mo pa si Princess.”
Aimee answers her mother, “I don’t know, Nanay. She asked permission yesterday to take a day off because she was not feeling well. I agreed and gave her a month’s salary in advance. She has not come back since.”
As a working mother, how would you feel if you suddenly find yourself without help in taking care of your kid? It’s worse if your caregiver or nanny suddenly goes AWOL. The mother of one of my patients told me that her yaya called her up in the office one afternoon to inform her that she left her 2 year old son in the house of their next door neighbour because she could no longer take care of him.
A parent is like a commander in chief who appoints an army officer, in this case, the yaya to take care of her kid and keep him safe from harm and illness. A true commander trains the caregiver to fully equip her to direct and guide her soldier, your child, to win the war against sickness before it happens,. But she must be physically present and fit to keep up with the exuberance of your infant or toddler. You require a clean bill of health for your caregiver in the same manner that the military insists on a physically fit candidate for enlistment or promotion. Otherwise, you may end up taking care of two persons – not only your child, but your child’s caregiver as well.
Excerpt from "WANTED:PERFECT YAYA (7 Easy Steps to Equip Your Child's Caregiver)"
Illustration by Liz Jocano