The Pseudo-Mom and the hardships of the real one

Anne De Jesus Portugal
The responsibility of raising our children is still ours alone, not of our 'yayas'

MANILA, Philippines – Here’s a poverty-stricken nation striving to rise above and go beyond the boundaries of that now-dated paradigm, “Third World.” Along with this country’s struggle for economic glory is the noticeable emergence of competitive women in many professions.

According to the Philippine Commission on Women, “The fight against poverty can be won when women are capacitated to generate income for themselves and their families are provided with equal access to resources in doing so.”

More women are visible in the work force, not because they want to excel but because they want their children to live. Recent times have trashed single-income households. The trend is now double income, forcing moms out of the house to contribute to food on the table – thus, confusing our women about which role to play and which responsibility to prioritize. Instead of Mommy focusing on rearing her young, it’s “yaya” who does the job – unsuccessfully, at times.


Recent practice among the Philippine working class has made it comfortable (and normal) for us to entrust our kids to our nannies. After all, we are a generation that grew up with yayas and drivers and what-have-yous – and we turned out quite okay, didn’t we? Times are getting worse, though, and we often forget that while it is quite all right to get a little help, the primary responsibility of raising our children is still ours alone.

Such responsibility includes overseeing all their activities, big and small: food intake, sleep pattern, play time, TV time, tantrums, their small joys, disappointments, fears, the books they read, every single bruise and scratch, even the kind of poop that comes out (mushy or constipated) – it all matters. Regardless of how busy we are, we’re still supposed to know. All these do not even quantify how important our role is as nurturing moms. So, up to what extent of our motherhood are we willing to trade off in exchange for being a pseudo-mom?

The truth is, domestics are only extensions of our hands – not our brains, not our hearts. They aren’t us – therefore, we shouldn’t expect them to know the things we know or do the things we do. We are often overloaded with responsibilities and are left with no choice but to delegate – though at times, without realizing it, we compromise the simple and yet most important things, like playing a game of Chutes and Ladders or reading a creepy Spider book. Those tiny moments mean so much to a child; moments that can never be taken back.

It is true that in rare, lucky instances, our yayas learn to love our kids, but the love they offer can never equate to the love of a mother. We are already faced with so many cases of child abuse, some even captured on video.They are downright depressing and painful. Any mother’s heart would shatter into tiny pieces. Let us be careful not to add our names to the list.

Mommy duties

With forceful demands of financial stability, it is our children that absorb most of the burden. The good news is that they don’t have to.

We, as parents, should be proactive in every little detail of our children’s lives: daily activities and companions alike. We must ensure that our mommy obligations are not stepped on or bypassed. It is also wise to set boundaries on our yaya’s duties. Sterilizing used bottles, washing dirty clothes, and cleaning up the mess are some of the things that yaya can take care of.

What we should focus on are the more meaningful occasions that would impact our children’s perception of themselves, of us and of their world – times when our children would be happy and remember that we were there, like tucking them in at night or attending their school play.

We may not be present all the time but our presence in their lives should always be felt and enforced. Having extra help does not offer reprieve from motherhood, it actually requires more vigilance and a little bit more lovin’ to give to our little ones who miss us the entire time they’ve been with someone else. –

Note to Nanny image from Shutterstock.

Anne De Jesus Portugal traded journalism, despite her love for writing, to become a full-time mom. She now lives in California and continues to write about love and relationships on her blog,