We recently sat down with Tisha Bautista, author of the Smart Parenting Yaya Manual, to gain a deeper insight about her stories and inspiration behind the newly launched book. The mother of four, writer of the Good Housekeeping Manual, and managing director of the ISDANCO Foundation, a non-profit organization for alternative education, values formation, and appreciation of the Filipino culture, also shares why it is important to recognize the value of self-worth and the dignity of work.
What inspired you in the writing process of the SP Yaya Manual? How is it different from your previous book, the Maid Manual?
It was upon giving birth to her youngest son, Jacobo, 14 months ago, and upon realizing that she would be turning 40 this year, that Tisha Bautista recalled just how hard it was hiring and training a yaya during the early years of her marriage and becoming a mom.
Tisha, also the author behind the Good Housekeeping Maid Manual, defines its difference from the Smart Parenting Yaya Manual. “The Maid Manual is more basic; it is more about the maid dealing with inanimate objects,” she explains.
“The Yaya Manual has more extraneous variables,” she says. A greater number of dynamics come into play when it comes to yaya matters. One must take into consideration how the baby will react to the yaya, the relationship between the mom and the yaya, etc.
We grew up in a culture that treats having household help as a given. How should a new mom balance treating her yaya as part of the family and also still a paid professional?
“She should just take it one day at a time,” Tisha replies candidly. “But it basically boils down to showing genuine sincerity and concern for the yaya. Malasakit goes both ways; it conveys a certain dignity. Show yaya that her work is valuable and appreciated. She has something important to contribute.”
“Work with every situation given to you and build on each opportunity,” Tisha says. The yaya should be able to say “I choose to be here.” It’s about giving her a sense of choice.
“Show that she has a rightful place in the family but that there are still invisible lines, without having to talk about them,” she adds.
Do you have any inspiring stories about families who have had good relations with their yayas?
Tisha shares a story about Yaya Juliet, who years before was their all-around household girl. She was cheerful, bubbly, and she would play with Tisha’s kids. It was after 1 ½ years that Yaya Juliet suddenly became introverted, and the family hence grew concerned about her.
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The family went to mass with Yaya Juliet and after some time Yaya Juliet realized that she had discovered her calling to be a nun. Yaya Juliet is now a novice at the Italian Order of the Sisters of Pompey in Quezon City. Tisha’s family regularly visits her and they have learned to treat what happened as an honor. “Take the chance to help them,” urges Tisha. “Welcome people not just to work for you, but to help you.”
Yaya Daday, the current yaya of Tisha’s children, has been working with the Bautista family for almost 7 years already. Yaya Daday is turning 32 this year.