A working mom like Chynna Ortaleza sure knows the value and importance of having a good, reliable, and trustworthy yaya for her and her husband Kean Cipriano’s one-and-a-half-year old daughter Stellar. “You really need somebody who’ll be able to fix things for you while you’re busy fixing things for yourself,” she pointed out in a recent interview.
The actress and TV host, who’s seen in GMA-7’s soap opera Ika-6 na Utos and cooking show Idol sa Kusina, found that somebody in Yaya Len-Len. She recalled that Yaya Len-Len was referred by Kean’s aunt about two years ago, and the then 20-year-old native of Masbate province first applied as an all-around house help. “Tinanggap namin s’ya kasi sabi nga namin ni Kean na ang saya n’ya kasama,” Chynna explained. “She’s very ano, light-hearted. Magaan ang loob namin sa kanya.”
When Chynna gave birth to Stellar, she and Kean hired another help, a yaya this time who would look after the baby. But the yaya didn’t last long in their employ, so they looked for another one. The next yaya’s stint was also short-lived. Chynna then decided to act on her observation that Len-Len enjoyed playing with Baby Stellar whenever the official yaya had to do something else. She suggested to Kean that they ask Len-Len if Len-Len was interested to be Stellar’s yaya, and Len-Len said yes.
Chynna recalled seeing Len-Len’s reaction: “’Yong genuine na gusto n’ya” — and that’s how Baby Stellar found her Yaya Len-Len. The working mom then realized what matters most in keeping a yaya are that “the yaya genuinely wants to take care of your kid” and that “the kid likes your yaya.”
A few weeks later, though, Yaya Len-Len felt quitting because the baby started learning how to walk, and she got scared that her employers might get mad if “magalusan ang bata.” Chynna, along with Kean, talked to Yaya Len-Len. “We explained to her naman na it’s part of, you know, a child growing up, na maaksidente ’yan,” she maintained. “But hindi ka naman namin, like, literally ibi-blame pag nakikita ko naman na tutok ka. So parang wala naman akong complaint do’n. Lagi s’yang nakabantay sa baby.”
For Chynna, it’s important that moms like her to be very understanding in dealing with the yaya. “Kasi there are a lot of things they want to do, there are small mistakes that you need to forgive,” she pointed out. “You can’t be so hard on them you know because it’s hard to take care of a child, what more to nurture a baby, di ba? So number one, talagang hahabaan mo ’yong pasensya mo, e. Kung kailangan talaga na matiyaga kang mag-explain, matiyaga ka magulit-ulit ng instructions, you know, hanggang sa eventually maging routine do’n sa person ’yong ginagawa niya. Hindi kasi tayo pwede mag-expect ng how you do it will be done na exact.”
The first-time mom also suggested having an extra hand around the house to work in tandem with the yaya, if the household budget allows it. This way, there will be someone else to look after the baby when, for instance, the yaya decides to take a break. She is glad to have found that extra hand in Yaya Len-Len’s friend from the province named Lovely. She described Yaya Len-Len and Lovely as a tag team in caring for her daughter. In turn, the two househelp are treated as part of Chynna’s family and are given leeway in taking a day off or two, or just staying put at home. “We really involve them in everything that we do,” she said. “We show them what type of work that we do so that they now understand why sometimes we can’t go home early.”
Chynna, who, along with fellow first-time parents, has put up a line of baby products called Unna Cares, made it clear that a family member has to be with Baby Stellar when she and Kean are not around. “I trust her,” she said of Yaya Len-Len. “But I cannot just leave her with my daughter. Actually that’s mine and Kean’s condition na if [any of us is] going to work, somebody from the family has to be there with our daughter. So I’m very lucky kasi my mom is willing to take care of her when I’m at work. So like today, she’s with my mom and Len-Len is with them, and Lovely is with them, they’re at home, so ayun, manageable siya ‘pag ganoon.”
Speaking of going to work, Chynna admitted that she still gets separation anxiety attacks whenever she leaves the house. But what helps her deal with the problem and “hindi nagpatalo do’n sa feeling” is the thought that she’s not the only one who experiences that difficult situation. “There are so many working moms now,” she said, giving special mention to those she works with in her TV shows. “My producers, they’re all moms, they have kids but they’re still able to work. E sila nga worse pa than us because after taping they do pre-prod. They really don’t get to see their kids hanggang weekend. So sabi ko, ah alam mo ’yong parang you just really have to ano you have to stick it out.”