Having been raised by a yaya (nanny) I had at one time promised myself never to get a yaya for my kids when the time came. This was not because I had a horrible experience with my nanny, on the contrary. My aunt, the one I lived with for most of my childhood life, worked full time as a government employee and when I went to live with my parents my dad worked full time as well. My yaya WAS my mom for most of my waking hours, and this was a sort of love-hate relationship that I guess most daughters have with their own mothers.

This is why I always either gape in horror or shake my head incredulously when I hear about yayas being cruel to the kids that they look after. Some parents, to avoid incidents such as these, go to agencies to hire their nannies and even install a nanny camera in the house just to make sure that the nanny isn’t maltreating their kids. I think that’s a bit extreme, becoming necessary only if the parent(s) have not had enough time to personally assess the new nanny.

The thing is, my first yaya was my father’s yaya, she was fourteen when she first joined my grandmother’s household, and she took care of my dad, the youngest in the brood, because my grandmother worked full time as a modista (fashion designer/dressmaker). This was a time when no one had even imagined the existence of a nanny camera. Moms knew their nanny personally, and usually she was either a younger sibling or cousin, and part of her salary would be her tuition in a nearby school. My yaya took care of me for everything, she even slept in the girls room with my sister and me. She made me breakfast, dressed me up for school, had merienda ready when I came back from school, made sure I was at the table doing my homework when my aunt arrived from work.

When I had to work full time I had to get a yaya for Maui, who was then 5 years old. I had the good fortune of finding someone who knew how to deal with kids and was quite likeable. In fact I have always considered myself lucky when it came to finding someone who would look after my kids, which is something that is apparently not shared by other moms I know who have had to find nannies. I had quite the same luck with Ate Beng, whom I have blogged about a few times, and who is practically Maia’s second mom. Nope, a nanny camera won’t be necessary for me, thank you.

The Nanny Diaries

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