No Yaya, No Problem!

This has been the hashtag of my life since December 2016: #noyayanoproblem. Surprisingly, a lot of my friends do not employ a nanny/helper as of late. I’m not really sure why, but there’s a shortage of amiable and reliable helpers around. Add to that the list of horror stories involving nannies like stealing, kidnapping and being violent to kids! Now that vacation time is here, I know most helpers will go home to their families, and some might not come back so here’s some lessons and tips that has helped me survive this situation.

Where are you super yaya?! Photo from:http://clipart-library.com/helper-cliparts.html
Where are you super yaya?! Photo from: http://clipart-library.com/helper-cliparts.html

First things first, how did my husband and I came to the decision not to hire a helper anymore? Well, there wasn’t really a choice as it was Christmas season then and getting a helper was impossible. Then we had relatives visiting from the US who gave our spirits a boost with their stories of raising kids there without a helper. It was also a good practice for us since we plan to go abroad soon. Travelling with a helper will entail additional expenses so go na, no more yaya!

I think the transition was easier for me because we are living with my in-laws (which deserve another post altogether) and there are other helpers who cook and clean and do the laundry. So in any case, I wasn’t without a helper. I just had no designated person to look after the kids entirely so I can go on and do my own stuff. The kids adjusted differently. They had to go where I was going and they need to pack away their toys, clothes and food. At one point, Z said “let’s get a yaya so she can pack away.” That for me was another reason not to get a yaya anymore. The kids will become too dependent and not learn to do their chores. Now, we have a system and I labeled their boxes so they know where their toys are going. Actually, our room is more organized and cleaner now than when we had a helper. Even Y helps in packing away toys and clothes and now she knows where to get her undies and socks! So that was a lesson for me: involve the kids and they will be willing helpers!

He is OC!
He is OC!

Thank heavens for grandparents, I can have an hour or two to myself. Put yourself on the prioritize list every day! Be it a workout, coffee by yourself or a 30-minute shower. It will do your mind and soul good. I really see the importance of me-time because it works. Just a few minutes for you to catch your breath. Even if you have a yaya, chances are you might spend time doing other things, not things for YOU.

But there will be days that will challenge you. Too many clothes to sort; kids dumped all of their toys on the floor; both kids having tantrums; husband having a tantrum. You know, it’s one of those days. My rule for that:

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Photo Credits

For example, this blog post has been saved on drafts since the month started. My kids are always asking me to join them in their playtime so I just do chores and blogging when they are sleeping or if I really need to finish something, it’s TV or gadget time. Just remember that there’s always a time for everything. It really pays to have a schedule and routine so that you can plan out your day. I enlist the help of my husband such as asking him to be the one to read the bedtime books to the kids so I can freshen up or finish work I left hanging. Oh diba, hitting two birds with one stone!

Teamwork!
Teamwork!

Having no helper means I get to be more intentional with the kids. I can inject learning while we’re playing and now Y knows her colors, shapes, letters and counting! They’ve also realized that I’m the only one who can give in to their needs and would always be grateful like saying “Thank you for cleaning my pwet, Mama!” I deem a day to be successful when just before sleeping I’ll ask them if they had a great day and almost always, they say yes. I may be help-less but I’m not helpless.

Got more tips to yaya-less families?! Share them in the comments!

Z’s Moving Up Day

We’ve celebrated another milestone – Z’s first school year ended with a bang!

First day of school.
First day of school.
Last day of school.
Last day of school.

It feels just like yesterday when we brought him in for his first day. And now, we’re done and moving on to a new, bigger school!

All white during the Moving Up Ceremony!
All white during the Moving Up Ceremony!
A very silly school picture!!!
A very silly school picture!!!

Here’s a few realizations I’ve listed down in my journal across the 10 months.

I need to ante up my baon-making skils!
I need to ante up my baon-making skils!
  • My anxiety transfers to Z. Which is why I can’t be the one to bring him to school. If it will be me, he’ll just cry. Lesson learned: don’t be too much of a drama queen! Haha. Seriously though, I’m lucky that my husband is strong when I’m weak. He took on the role of bringing Z to school and adjusted his work schedule to do so. As the school year was coming to a close, I felt more relaxed. And it was then that I got to bring my little big boy to school!
Making friends. One thing I loved about his school was the spacious outdoor playground!
Making friends. One thing I loved about his school was the spacious outdoor playground!
  • During one of our #BetterMe sessions with Coach Pia, she gave us a situation: your child is playing in the playground while you sit and watch over her. One kid did something to her which you didn’t quite like but your child didn’t seem to mind. What should you do? Coach Pia said that if your child does not say anything, DO NOT REACT. Do not prod or worse, reprimand the other child. If your child didn’t react to the situation, why should you. This stuck to me. And it has been put to good use as Z got in a class where they were 9 boys! Imagine the energy in that classroom; there would really be active and rough play. If we were to react to every time we see Z get bumped or lose, we’d be raising a very weak and dependent boy who would not be able to stand up for himself! I think it is very important to raise a resilient child, and we as parents can help them to be one. There was a time that he was pushed by a classmate and he got wet. While I knew of the situation before he got home, I tried very, very hard to stay calm and wait for the right moment to ask him about it. The right moment happened when I was giving him a bath the next day. This was our conversation:

Me: What did you do in school?

Z: Classmate pushed me.

Me: And then what happened?

Z: I got wet.

Me: And then?

Z: I’m sad.

Me: (trying to hold back tears) So, what should we do about it?

Z: Tell Classmate, “no pushing”

Oh diba, because I was calm, I got his side of the story, we assessed and acknowledged his feelings and most importantly, he knew what to do the next time it would happen.

  • I set goals for Z at the start of the school year: 1) Talk more; 2) Adjust in the new environment and people; and 3) get him to finish sit-down activities. Notice I didn’t put anything academic?! He might be enrolled in a somewhat traditional school but I told the teachers our main goal for Z was to adjust and start being independent. Fortunately, his teachers were on the same page. They got Z to let go of his trainers and say when he needs to go to the toilet; he would try to do a task on his own first before asking for help; he’s keen on eating by himself now; and he’s not afraid to try new things. So what happened to our goals?! Yes, he’s talking a lot these days though we need to work more on pronunciation and speaking in Filipino; he got the “Most Caring and Friendly” award so I guess goal number 2 got accomplished. We still have our moments when he needs to practice writing, but at least now I don’t have to hold his hand! While we didn’t pressure him in any academic concept, he is now trying to read words, adding and subtracting, telling time and he knows 3D shapes and the order of the planets in the solar system. My point? If a child is well-adjusted to his surroundings, he will be more receptive to new information. So whether you choose a traditional or progressive school, how a child feels will be the tell-tale sign of his progress.
Putting writing time in our daily routine now!
Putting writing time in our daily routine now!
In spite of the crowd, he still completed this relay task!
In spite of the crowd, he still completed this relay task!

Oh wow. How’s this for just one school year?! I know we are to experience more ups and downs, little boy. Whatever the weather, you’ve always got us. I will never get tired of saying how proud we are of you. *fist bump*

October Milestones

Here I go again blabbering that the month went by too fast… But it really did! Hello, Christmas na talaga! But before getting excited about the reds and the greens, I’d like to look back and reflect if I’d been inflating my bubbles (as per Coach Pia) and check what areas I need to improve on to be a #betterme.

Back to blogging

chessy

Yes, the blogging mojo did a comeback. I kinda lost it a few months back when I was adjusting with our new normal. And now that I have a new domain and theme, it feels like I’m starting anew. I have so much backlog to finish but it just means I’ve been living a life worth blogging. Naks!

Z turned 4

Aside from his school party, we still went out to celebrate his birthday. He had the time of his life playing in the arcade, eating his favorite tempura, choosing his gifts and blowing his (cup)cake. Four is starting out great!

 

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5th Anniversary

No fancy dinner, no surprise gifts, no plans whatsoever… And that’s just how I like it. Yes it’s a major milestone worth the grand gestures but a simple one was enough. We just spent the day as a family, ate in a restaurant we haven’t tried before and window-shopped. This really speaks of my second love language which is TIME. I’m grateful for my husband who sees to it that he spends time with us, even though we drive him crazy!

First time at Wooden Spoon and I now understand why it is always full.
First time at Wooden Spoon and I now understand why it is always full.

So many things to look forward to in the last two months of 2015!