Ever watch Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee and wish that you had someone in your home who was equally as wonderful? Now, thanks to Smart Parenting, you can learn how to coach an inexperienced new hire into a capable helper who will assist you in bringing up your baby. Tisha C. Bautista’s just-released book, The Yaya Manual, is a comprehensive illustrated handbook for any mother in search of the ideal household help—and it’s in stores now!

With tips on hiring and assessing the skills of your new hire, precautionary steps to avoid helper horror stories, easy forms that your yaya can use to track your baby’s needs, and instructive diagrams  for proper childcare practices, The Yaya Manual is a great guidebook for the mommy-nanny tandem.

To give you a little background on this motherly manuscript, we chatted with author Tisha Bautista:


Why did you decide to write The Yaya Manual?

Apart from the obvious reasons of wanting to help first time moms and working moms deal with the trials of training and managing their yayas, I wanted to share a very simple realization: the perfect yaya does not exist inasmuch as the perfect mom does. A good yaya is not born overnight, but rather borne out of hard work, patience, determination and constant prayer. You must admit, many times "divine" intervention may seem like the only solution to our yaya challenges. This book was written to guide moms find a better, more organized way to deal with "yaya chores." However, it was also meant to remind mothers that tolerance and forgiveness is key to any real growth—especially one that involves nurturing a child.

What is the ideal relationship a mother can have with her child’s yaya?

An ideal relationship would be one founded on open communication, mutual respect for each other's limitations, and appreciation for each other's talents. There should be balance, laughter, and genuine partnership, with the child's welfare as foremost in both their minds.

What is the most difficult part about finding a great yaya?

Nothing is really difficult if your expectations are tempered from the onset and your perspective flexible. Everything is about the commitment of a mom to nurture her selected yaya into a great helper. It is getting to this level of commitment that can be a challenge. However, again, it is a conscious choice.

Sometimes mothers encounter problems with their children growing too attached to their yayas. What advice would you give to these mothers?

Children being attached to their yaya is a natural reaction since, many times, yayas spend more time with the child than the actual mom. Should time be a real limitation for a mother, she must accept that this attachment may indeed occur. However, I am of the belief that mothers will always remain the primary and best caregiver of a child. Hence, time that can be spent with a child can be of the highest quality—filled with love, peace, and nurturing. So I encourage mothers, especially those who are working, to spend quality time with their children in order to compensate for the quantity of time that others may spend with them. Besides, children may not always know how to express it, but there is no substitute for Mama.

Can you share the best yaya anecdote from your own life?

Although I have had my own share of yaya challenges, the joys have far outweighed the trials. Our yayas have always and will always be part of our family. Special to us is Yaya Juliet Duites. She started off as an all-around house girl, gentle, and kind. Her time spent with us was always filled with laughter and lightness. However, after about a year, we noticed a sudden introversion in her personality. She was often quiet and circumspect. We encouraged her to go to mass as often as possible for guidance and peace. She agreed. Before we knew it, our chaplain called me for a meeting and said that Yaya Juliet may actually have a vocation for the religious. It was wonderful news. However, Yaya Juliet still had many questions and many doubts. We encouraged her as a family. We prayed as a family. A little while later, our prayers were answered.

Today, Yaya Jules is well on her way to becoming "Sister Juliet”—a novice at the Italian order of Our Lady of Pompei, founded by Blessed Bartolo Longo. We continue to see her on every special occasion—Christmas, New Year, and so on. She is happy and at peace—and seeing her as such, so are we.

We may have lost Yaya Jules as one of our staffers, but in her place is a genuine Servant of God. We could not have asked for any greater honor than to have been blessed with the chance to help her get to where she is today. And although she is officially already part of God's family, she will always remain part of ours.

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