Jul 12, 2013

How to Survive Without a Household Helper

(Image source: nornir)
These days, thanks to the well-meaning Kasambahay Law, it has suddenly become quite complicated to keep a household helper. 

In the old days, it was hard enough to find someone you could trust, who would stay for more than a year, and not ask for a salary advance in her very first month of work.

But now, it's far more complicated. You need to register your new household employee with three government agencies. You need to visit those agencies every month to pay contributions and report contributions. Oh, and you need to fill out each agency's multiple forms every time you remit contributions.

And if your helper decides to leave on her second month, you have to deregister her from all three agencies as well.

Perhaps it is time we learned to survive without a kasambahay. Here are some tips that may help you finally make that big leap towards kasambahay freedom:

1. Engage laundry services. It's hard to find a good helper; it's not as hard to find a good laundromat. 

With laundry services, you save on electricity, water, and soap. You don't have to hang your clothes up on the clothesline. If it rains, your clothes will still dry. And you don't have to fold them yourself! They arrive clean and folded, ready to put in shelves.

If there's no good laundromat nearby, you might also consider getting a fully automatic washing machine, the kind where you just load your clothes and they come out soaped, rinsed, and spin-dried. But yeah, you still need to hang and fold them yourself.

If you have clothers that need ironing, some laundromats offer ironing services too. But I've found that if I hang my husband's polo shirts properly and spritz them with water, then flatten all wrinkles and sharpen all creases with my hands, then hang them again to air dry, I don't need to iron anything at all. 

I haven't had a flat iron in the house for 11 years now. For myself and our kids, I never buy clothes that need ironing.

2. Cook in batches. Cook everything during the weekends, freeze them in meal-sized portions, and just microwave them the rest of the week. Train your kids not to complain if lunch is the same as dinner. 

In our house, instant oatmeal is a staple. Add hot water, some milk, sugar, and maybe Milo. Top it with fruit, and you've got a great, healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. My 8-year-old can whip up an oatmeal meal for the whole family in just five minutes.

3. Find a good day care center. Or hire a stay-out yaya. I've noticed that stay-out helpers tend to act more professional. They don't have that feeling of entitlement. Hindi sila masyadong at-home. 

If you can't get stay-out childcare, and you only need to leave the kids twice a week, maybe you can ask Grandma to come visit while you're out. Consider, too -- is bringing the kid with you really not an option when you go out?

4. Hire a housecleaner. Get a cleaning lady who will deep-clean the house for you once a week. The rest of the week, you don't even have to sweep the floor. Just pass a wet mop over it twice, and most of the dirt will be gone.

5. Get your kids to help. If you have big kids, this is a good time to start training them to do housework so that, hopefully, they won't need a kasambahay either when they grow up. My eight-year-old sweeps and mops our floor. My six-year-old feeds the rabbits and gives them water. My four-year-old keeps all toys before Kuya cleans the house. They all wash plates. 

Learn more

For more tips on how to get things done even without a kasambahay, check out this highly rated e-book: How To Work at Home With a Toddler, which comes with FREE international wireless delivery.

To read it, simply download the FREE Kindle app into your PC, Mac, Android, or iPad.

At just around P300, this book costs less than your kasambahay's monthly SSS and Philhealth contributions!

SPECIAL THANKS to the members of the Manila Work-at-Home Mom, who contributed many of these suggestions. If you are a Filipino work-at-home mom based in Manila or anywhere in the world, and you wish to join that support group on FB, please add Blessie Adlaon to your friends list so I can add you to the group. I will remove myself from your friends list as soon as I am done adding you.

The Nanay Notebook is written by Blessie Adlaon, a work-at-home and homeschooling mom of four. Check out our About page to know more about this blog's author and our policies on advertising, press releases, and reposting.

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