4 things I learned from being a “helperless” working mom

I’ll share with you my secret frustration these days.  It’s my failure to get a household help, a nanny, a yaya.  Finding a helper is a constant item in my weekly to-do list that I never get to accomplish. It’s a task that neither my online searching nor my husband’s exceptional networking skills can achieve.

Having a helper is a luxury nowadays.  It’s frustrating how I find it more difficult to find a helper than to find a sale for a roundtrip airfare. Gone were the days when hiring household helpers was easy and days when helpers in our family were as long-term as the family car.  Nowadays, you’re lucky if your helper can last for at least 10 months.

After work, I go home to this Baby Boss and her happy mess. 🙂

To be honest about it, it’s not easy to be a working mom without a helper.  My typical work day includes waking up before 5 in the morning to prepare for work, bringing our toddler to grandparents’ house, traveling to work, doing marketing work for 8 hours, doing a quick grocery shopping, picking up our child from grannies, cleaning and sterilizing the feeding bottles, thinking of what my family will eat, cleaning my toddler’s mess, playing with my toddler, taking care of my child until she goes to sleep.

During weekends, I still wake up early to wash my daughter’s clothes together with mine, clean the house, feed my child, and be up and about for some family bonding.

Sometimes I wish I have the superpower to clone myself so I get to take care of my child at home and work in the office at the same time.  If only I have a household help, then maybe I can squeeze a few more hours in a day for the much needed rest, more playtime with my child or even just a proper bath time.  And yes, I can go on wishing for the impossible, but that won’t change the fact that I have to continue working while desperately looking for household help.

Rather than feeling frustrated and guilty every single day, I choose to pick up whatever valuable lesson I can take from this phase of my awesome motherhood journey.

Live in the moment

One profound lesson I learned from being a “helperless” working mom is to live in the moment.   Since my time is limited but my roles are aplenty, life forced me to learn the art of the NOW, to make the most of the present.

According to Ellen Langer, a social psychologist from Harvard University, we become mindless because once we think we know something, we stop paying attention to it. Surely, being mindful of the present was a struggle for me.  During the first few months since my maternity leave ended, I worried a lot while at work about what’s happening to my child whom I left with my parents.  It was easy for me to lose focus doing the things I’m familiar with. While I knew it was normal for any mother to react that way, I soon realized it’s not getting me anywhere.

Similarly, when I was at home with my child, I’d be preoccupied with other things like when to do the laundry or what to include in the article I was writing at work.

Giving our full attention in what we are presently doing is not an easy task, but mindfulness can do a lot in our effectiveness and productivity whether at work or when we’re with our family.  Letting my thoughts wander while at work will neither meet my deadlines nor make my child feel taken cared of.

I know I’m still a work in progress, but I am now more conscious in focusing on the present.  When I play with my toddler, I know I have to do my best not to worry about the dishes to be washed just so I can be her best playmate for that moment.  When it’s family time, I do my best not to think about work.  When I’m at work, I try my best not to worry about what my child is eating now just so I can focus on finishing my tasks on time.

Find the parenting style that will work for you

After work, I cooked this Baked Chicken and Potatoes and my little girl didn’t like it at all. 🙂

I was guilty of comparing myself with other moms.  I felt bad that I bought my daughter ready-to-eat food while other moms cook their children’s meals.  I felt bad that I allowed my child to watch videos on my cellphone just so I could keep her in one place while I washed her feeding bottles and clothes.  I felt bad that our breastfeeding journey just lasted for a year because I wasn’t able to sustain pumping milk while I was at work.

Nowadays, there’s just so much pressure on parents to conform.  You need to exclusively breastfeed, feed your kid only organic stuff, be strict with zero screen time. The list goes on. Do I bury myself in shame if I can’t meet every single detail of the “Best Parent Ever” guidebook?

Being a working mom without a household help made me realize that it doesn’t make me less of a parent if I’m not like every other mom I see on my Instagram feed.  I know there’s no excuse to settle for less, but circumstances are different for every parent.  What may work for my other mom friends may not work for me, and vice-versa.  As long as our children are growing up safe, healthy and happy, it should not really matter what parenting strategy we use.

The support of family members will always be your strength

Amma and Ampa are my daughter’s favorite companions when I’m at work.

Without my family, I will not survive not having a helper.  In my case, it’s the doting grandparents who take care of my child while my husband and I work, and we will forever be grateful for that.  Working parents in the Philippines are truly blessed that we have a family-centric culture.  From our parents and siblings to aunts and cousins, there will always be a family member who is willing to have our backs when it’s finally our turn to raise a family.  Of course, the primary responsibility of raising a child still rests on the parents, but it’s comforting to know that there are people who are willing to help us, especially when a household help seems impossible to find.

Don’t let the guilt stop you from being a supermom

What makes being yaya-less even more frustrating is when work needs me to be out of town or out of the country for a couple of days. The mom guilt is real, and it becomes even worse when I have to leave my child to her grandparents without any household help.  However, if I let my guilt rule my decisions, I will probably resign even if I know that our family’s budget will suffer.  If I allow my guilt to overpower me, I will miss the opportunity of knowing what I am capable of doing.  It’s normal to feel guilty once in a while, but this guilt should not stop us from growing as a parent, as a professional, as a person.

To all helperless working moms out there, you are not alone in this challenging phase of motherhood.  It may feel insane most of the time, but it will surely shape us to be the moms our families need us to be. 🙂

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Jhanis says:

    I share the same sentiments! We’ve been yaya/helper-less for over a year now. The chores are unending! I just simply choose my battles and do what I can within a day. No sense stressing over everything, dadami lang wrinkles ko LOL 🙂


    1. Totally agree. We take things one at a time. 🙂


  2. I agree, what works for others may not work for you and that’s totally okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mommy. It’s really a case to case basis. No one strict rule for motherhood. 🙂


  3. Richelle says:

    I think that’s a blessing in disguise, you know, all the Yaya horror stories. Fight on, Mommy. You’re doing a great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mommy Richelle. That’s what I’m holding on to. Better pagod and stressed than to end up with a yaya horror story.


  4. joygurtiza says:

    Hi Gwen! This is the type of story that other people must read, there’s no supermom, just moms trying to survive the day to day grind. 🙂 High five to helper-less working moms!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mommy Joy. Aside from expressing my emotions, I wrote this post so other moms going through the same circumstance may find encouragement. 🙂


  5. I was yaya-less since May :(. My yaya of 2 years left, now I decided to resign from work to be able to take care of my daughter and the household.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy for you, Mommy. In God’s time, I also hope to find the right path (whether to resign, be a WAHM or set up own business) so I can have more freedom in terms of managing my time and dedicating it to my daughter and hubby. 🙂


  6. Welcome to the club! I’ve been yaya-less for almost three years na ata. Hahaha. It was hard, especially when I have two kids to take care of, but thankfully, there’s always help from parents 🙂 Don’t feel bad if you’re not the social media star momma. You’re doing a great job and that’s all that matters 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mommy. I feel encouraged hearing other moms who get by without household help. 🙂 Mabuhay tayong mga ina!


  7. tweenselmom says:

    I’ve tried having a yaya kay bunso for a couple of months but hindi nag-work. Being hands-on and doing everything by yourself sa bahay takes a lot of sacrifice pero worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree. All worth it ang stress, pagod and all when you see your child growing up happy and healthy.


  8. Mhownai says:

    Because of all the kasambahay horror stories (not to mention our neighbor’s katulong hurts their kids), that’s one of the major reason why I ‘d rather stay at home and work. Though we have a helper I don’t really rely on them when it comes to taking care of my son. Keep it up mama, paglaki nila gagaan na buhay natin hihi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mommy Mhownai. 🙂 Yes, tiis tiis muna. The sacrifice is part of momhood. And yes,looking forward to the dat na pwede na ko tulungan sa bahay ng aking one year old. Haha!


  9. Mommy Grace says:

    I can totally relate! And although I work from home, being faced in so much responsibilities at a time is really frustrating. But I learned to do those things that matter most. Kudos to you, mom! You’re doing well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks for that, Mommy Grace. I guess your right — do the things that matter most. We should really learn to prioritize. 🙂


  11. 28 karat mom says:

    Great blog! And so glad you’ve got the grandparents nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mariane Robles says:

    This is so true mommy, mas masya at mas mabuting hands on tayo sa kids natin minsan lang sila bata kaya I cherish the moment with them na alagaan at bantayan sila ❤️


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