By Angel Llamanzares Martinez
Oh, the joy and jubilation the holidays brought. But it’s over now. It’s back to reality and your daily routine. But something’s just not the same, someone’s missing (cue Twilight Zone theme). The Yaya has not come back. You are not alone. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. Here are five ways to bring a sense of normalcy into your daily routine, sans the yayas. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who still have household help, go ahead and read our tips below. We can’t always depend on someone else. Walang forever, di ba?
1. Accept your reality.
Easy, right? No. It’s not because we are entitled, but most of us grew up having help around. The moment we decided to wear the crown to be the queens (or kings) of our own homes, we already took on the honor of running it whatever it takes, staff or no staff (pun intended). If we learn to accept that this is our new normal, things will flow much easier. The key is acceptance.
Tip: Master this before you proceed to the next ones and feel the difference.
2. Manage your time wisely.
This is the most important action step. Schedule activities around the needs of all the members of the family. Sheila Buendia, mom of three and a Wealth Management Consultant, shares “The biggest challenge of having three kids without a yaya or driver is that we have to adjust our schedules to make way for theirs—basketball practice on Fridays, Futsal training on Saturday mornings, etc.” With the worsening traffic situation as a major player in our daily commute, proper time management is vital to ensure that we get to where we need to be and make use of our time efficiently. “The key to making it work is proper scheduling. My meetings, I usually schedule a week before, so I know how to work around my kids’ schedules.”
Tip: Use a calendar or whiteboard big enough so everyone will be aware of individual schedules and be able to plan ahead.
3. Plan and prepare your meals strategically.
This is the most challenging. It’s vital to plan meals for at least a week before you do your grocery shopping. List down the ingredients to save on shopping time. You can ask the family members to help you decide on what meals to prepare. Try themed meals like American, Italian, or Japanese nights. My husband and son have thought of Taco Tuesdays, inspired by the Lego Movie. We had Tacos for dinner every Tuesday night for a month. Though we vowed not to eat tacos again for the next few months, I admit that theme took the trouble out of thinking what to cook for at least one day in a week, every week for a whole month. It was relaxing. Ryan Martinez, chef and owner of Absolute Catering based in Northern California, shares some expert tips on preparing meals in advance. “You can make a lot with just one key ingredient, It all depends on the sauce and the other flavors you want to mix in. What I do, for example, is to boil and slow simmer beef until it’s tender, drain and freeze the broth, then place the cooked beef in the refrigerator. Within two to three days, I take out a portion of the beef needed to cook a certain way and just add the rest of the ingredients. But since it has already been cooked in advance, you cut down on prep time.”
You can also slice or chop vegetables you think you would use within the week and place them in airtight containers or zip bags and store them in the refrigerator. Chef Ryan says local vegetables like upo, sayote, okra can be pre-sliced and stored. “Garlic, which one of the most widely-used ingredients, must be peeled and sliced and drizzled with olive oil or cooking oil before storage to keep it from growing moldy.”
4. Delegate, and use available services.
You can’t and don’t need to do everything yourself. I used to enjoy washing clothes by hand. It had a calming effect on me. I enjoyed it until my back and hands started failing me and I noticed how much time doing this has taken most of my day. So I opted to use the washing machine, but the unpredictable weather took its toll on me and I just decided to give-in to the call of the drop-off laundromats.
“Delegating household chores to children has a lot of benefits to a working mom like me and has taught my children to be more responsible. Coco is 9 years old and she now folds and places her clothes in her closet. Chloe, 18, takes care of the dishes. Using services such as cleaning and laundry minimizes stress, keeping me sane and productive,” says Heidi Buencamino, mom of two and Director for Business Development.
5. Set play dates.
Lastly, always remember you need your day-off, too. If you cannot be away from your children or your home, you can set parents-and-kids play dates. Let the children play, while you and the other parents bond and share tips on how to survive motherhood. It’s always a good way to share experiences and learning. There will be times that you will feel like not doing the laundry, nor the dishes, and opt for food delivery. And that’s okay. Just take that break, please do. You’ll be fine, just like the rest of us.
Angel studied Political Economy but found more satisfaction working in the fashion and advertising industries. She’s been a professional fashion stylist since year 2000, under her own brand Style Angel. She took some time off from work for a few years to be a hands-on Mom and driver-nanny-playmate to her son Rocco. She is now the Style Coach of La Magie, The Makeover Specialists. She’s still can’t do the “orange justice”, nor “the floss” but was successful in teaching her son to do the “running man” and “roger rabbit” dance moves.