8 Tips in Managing the Household Help
My children are now in their mid-twenties and living independently. When I look back at their growing up years, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to all my household help who have played a part in taking care of them. I have been blessed with reliable household help in all my 28 years as a homemaker.
A few of them were disasters but I learned along the way, and I want to share with you some tips. My mom friends helped me with some of the tips which might prove useful too.
Write out a contract and set expectations from the start. Go through all the house rules and give them spot quizzes to check if they were understood or not. You will want to set rules on use of cellphone, landline, internet (yes some ask for Facebook), TV time, nap time and days off. Rules should allow a little flexibility but you don’t need to tell them that. Don’t scrimp on food for them but set boundaries when it comes to managing house supplies along with you. For helpers who have proven to be loyal and hardworking, you can give a little leeway for minor innocent mistakes.
Treat them fairly with an occasional friendly and meaningful chat. While cooking with them, I add tidbits of wisdom in my conversation. I know they are interested in dealing with love, relationships and financial management and even sex education.
I learned this from my mother. We used to have a bakeshop. My mom hired high school graduates and trained them to bake or ice cakes. She used to tell me that young girls are trainable and her helpers have since started businesses of their own.
In the same light, I train my maids to cook, bake and do crafts. I always tell them that their training with me can bring them financial independence one day. If you have the resources, invest in trainings like cooking classes or seminars. They will be happy that they learned something new.
One of my helpers stayed with us for 14 years. Over the years, she developed an attitude. She had this tendency to lord it over the others. Since she loved the kids, I was willing to compromise. What does one do in this situation? Exert a little patience. Compromise. Since she stayed that long, I learned to thresh things out minus emotional outbursts. All it needed was a firm and friendly talk. Sometimes, I give space when I am angry at her then we sit down again when things have cooled down.
Write your house rules and everyday instructions/schedules so they won’t have a reason not to comply. You cannot expect them to learn things overnight. I treat them the way I treat and talk to my kids because sometimes all it takes is talking to them in a nice tone and instructing them in the simplest way possible. You need to show them how things are done even if they claim they already know. Demonstrate how feeding, bathing and playtime activities should be done. Remember that you have your own style of parenting and this may not the same as their past employers’.
Consider teaching them the rationale of their tasks so they don’t just perform them mechanically, point-per-point. If they know why they do each task and what for, you can encourage them to develop contribute their own methods (for things as simple as sweeping the floor and as fundamental as helping feed your toddler) and see if it works. Malasakit is not something you can teach other people but there are ways to make things easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
I usually pay a little higher than the going rate in the neighborhood, and even more for the yayas. This way of compensation keeps them from getting pirated by the neighbors. Let them know about their rights as your employees as per the Kasambahay Law. Make sure they get their days off, leaves and that they know the procedures for SSS, Philhealth and PagIbig.
Just like parenting, you and your husband have to be aligned and consistent with the way you relate to them. He can’t “override” a rule you made if they ask him, or vice-versa.