#BetterMe: Building Relationships with your Helpers

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Ahh, the age old tale of helpers..
I've written my fair share of up and mostly down on this blog.

Can't live with them, can't live without them.

So when I was invited to another #BetterMe session with Coach Pia - I knew I had to attend.  I wanted to learn and have some insights. You see, I was beginning to doubt myself when it comes to my relationship with my helpers. I can't seem to find an all around helper that stays and is competent. I was beginning to think that, maybe it was me. But then again, how come my yayas have stayed with me.

Again, this session enlightened me so much. And these are what I took home: (they are in no particular order)

Consider the birth order of your helper
I honestly never thought about this.  I would not consider this important but it is quite a relevant matter. Coach Pia said that depending on the birth order - you would be able to gauge the capacity of your helper. Let's say for a first born, most often than not, they are the more reaponsible ones, they are more hardworking. And they can handle responsibilities and tasks better. Comparing the first born to the youngest in the family.  The youngest ones are usually pampered and spoiled. These ones are the baby if the family thus they are not given much or any of the responsibilities.  According to statistics (forgive us for the stereotype) but they have a tendency to slack off and not work as hard. The only outlier with being the youngest in the family is if he or she was an overachiever meaning they've graduated with honors or they're hardworkers.

Differentiate between willingness and ability
Coach Pia suggested that we measure the competence of our helpers via tests available to us in the bookstore.  These tests will gauge the capability of our helpers.  What does this test particularly do?  Well it gives us an idea on what the helper can and can't do.  If the helper can understand simple instructions or not.  We should get tests that are applicable to our helpers.  A note to be considered, do not get tests that are for the high school levels - as they may be too difficult for our helpers.  When we know of the result - we will then be able to measure their ability to work.  Can they do simple tasks?  Understand instructions and the likes.  After is 'test' we will then asses their willingness to learn and work.  These two go hand in hand because if there is ability, but there is no willingness - then there's no use.  If there is willingness but the ability is not, then you can gauge with the test it we can train and work from there.  If there is no willingness and no ability - then, don't even waste your time!  Hahaha...

Get rid of the Malasakit or Solicitude expectation
Is there an English word for malasakit?  Solicitude is the closest that I can come up with (Thanks to Google!) I've always assumed that everyone has malasakit.  I was wrong.  Coach Pia enlightened us that this rarely happens - why?  Simply because we are employers.  We are not relatives, not family, we do not have any blood relation whatsoever, so why have malasakit?  Even if we tell them to treat us like family, they really won't.  This for me was kind of hard to accept because I naturally treat my helpers like family.  I think it's high time for me to start changing and this may help my relationship with them.

Asses what your Need is and Want and differentiate them
This was the biggest challenge for me because everything was a 'want' for me.  I want my house to be clean everyday - all day!  I know its impossible and I've accepted that fact already.  So what I did was make a list of the things needed to be cleaned a) everyday b) every two days c) once a week and d) once a month.  But still this list wasn't followed.  I made it a point to lessen the things to do everyday (I had to assess what was important), two (2) bathrooms, one (1) bedroom, one (1) kitchen and one (1) dining area.  STILL it wasn't followed.  I had a hard time grasping why it can't be done when in fact, my mom's helper and all the previous helpers were able to do it in half a day!  And then I realized - that she moved ever so slowly.  It was like she was loving in slow motion.  What my 'wants' were not her 'need' and since it was upon her discretion - gah, she's the one deciding what can and can't be done.

Give it three (3) years to asses the relationship
I personally would like to treat them like family.  There are few who would reciprocate the gesture but most often than not, they don't give a rats ass about us.  To them, we are merely their bosses who pay for their salary.  So the assumption that 'we are family' well - it needs to be nurtured.  According to Coach Pia - the timeline to be able to consider them as family (and eventually helping them out) is three (3) years.  That long - why?  Because in that length of time - you will see if the helper is trustworthy and their real attitude.  After that three year mark, you can start considering helping them long term.  Coach Pia told us an inspiring story about her and her Yaya.  It was so very inspiring!  Her parents helped her Yaya out - and its rewards were more than double for her family.  Yaya is now a UK citizen, Yayas kids are all employed and are earning very well.  What is most rewarding is that - Yaya hasn't forgotten about Coach Pia and her kids.  Yaya would always send Coach Pia gifts.  Imagine that!  Yaya sending gifts to Coach Pia!  Doesn't that warm the heart?

So, there - I learned so many things.  It gave me insights and additional knowledge.  There were some points that I never considered that I should have considered.  I remember Coach Pia telling us that she has this rule - that she won't hire anyone below the age of thirty (30) - why?  Simply because she doesn't like to rear another child!  Because a 30 year old - is more mature, would have experience and just needs to be guided as opposed to be taught.  Coach Pia says this is the most ideal age, but then again - I can argue that I have hired helper over 30 and they're still incompetent.  I guess, swertehan lang talaga when it comes to house help.

My mom has told me that in her lifetime, she's only had 4 helpers.  One when she got married, another when we were born, another when we were in our schooling years and the current one when we just graduated high school.  I guess she's lucky that way.  As for me - gosh, I think I've changed all around help more than 10 times since I got married last 2009!  My mom would always tell me that helpers then and now are different.  During her time, they were loyal and would work hard, nowadays she noticed that there is no loyalty and these helpers, with the first sign of hardship, would immediately want out!

Thanks to the #SoMoms for inviting me to this #BetterMe session.  Thank you also for Marca Pina Queso de Bola and Arix Tonkita for sponsoring this session at Gustare Kitchen.


  1. The birth order factor is so true. The last yaya we got 2 years ago was the bunso of the family. Three weeks after being with us, the mom and older siblings started asking her to come home. That's despite the fact that we covered all her expenses going to Manila ha!

  2. I super love this. Sharing on my Fully Housewifed FB page! :)

  3. @Kimberley - Thanks for dropping by! Hassle yan noh? I never knew it was an issue!!

    @May - Thank you so much for sharing!!