|Teaching my cousin's helpers to cook - 2008|
In the Philippines, when one is a "helper", she is a maid or a servant.
|A common ad in a popular free business site in the Philippines|
Coming from a middle to upper middle class family, it was common for our family to have a live-in helper/s. In the Philippines, we called our maids kasambahay literally to mean "members of our household" or katulong which means "someone who helps or helper".
I grew up with my nanny, Ate Sepa (pronounced Ah-te meaning older lady -- a term of respect), who took care of me and lived with us from when I was three to when I was 17. (She took care of my younger sister Erica from birth.) I could honestly say, I got super attached to my yaya or nanny because Mama was too busy with her career. I considered her my second mother.:)
|Vacation and visiting her surrogate"apos" (grandchildren) - 2012|
Through the years, we have had our fair share of helpers. I couldn't stress what I am about to say enough.
First, there was ATE SHEILA. She helped take care of our firstborn, Therese. She is now living and working in Dubai as an assistant in a specialty shop. Last time she came home to the Philippines, she went to our house to give us so many gifts! :)
|Ate Sheila with Therese - 2006|
Then, there was ATE FLOR. She helped take care of our second-born, Andre. She now has her own family but she still visits us every now and then too. :)
|Ate Flor with Andre - 2009|
And currently, we have with us ATE RAIZEL and ATE JENEFE. They help take care of our third-born Reuben and our youngest, Isabelle. :)
|Ate Jenefe with Isabelle, Therese, Andre, Ate Raizel with Reuben- 2013|
|Ate Sheila helping Reece put on new shoes - 2007|
So, you see, we are used to having helpers in the home. This may be unnatural to some cultures, but in the Filipino culture, they are very significant and necessary.
They help with household chores, with taking care of the children, and are part of every important occasion. We can do without them, but life is sweeter and easier with them.
They need us and we need them too. :)
|Celebrating Ate Sepa's birthday - 2006|
At first, at the start of my submission journey, I found myself asking myself if I should let go of our household helpers because they might get in the way of my being my husband's "helper". I was encouraged when I read about the Proverbs 31 woman. :)
"It's still dark when she rises to give food to her household and orders to the young women serving her."She also had maidens living with her! She also had young women serving her! I could still have them in our home and still be a helpmeet to my husband!!! :)
I felt like I could pattern my life after the Proverbs 31 woman.
Proverbs 31: 27-29
|Ate Flor, accompanying Andre at the wedding of Dong's brother - 2010|
Given that we already have "helpers" in the home, what is left for me to do or what is my role as the "helper" of my husband?
- As the helper of my husband, I will encourage him (not in a bossy or domineering way) in his endeavors.
- As the helper of my husband, I will empower his leadership by allowing him to make the last decision. Not to say that I don't have a voice, but in times of disagreement, I would give way to him. The buck stops with him.
- As the helper of my husband, I will be generous in my time with him.
- As the helper of my husband, I will make myself available to him when he wants or needs intimacy.
- As the helper of my husband, I will support him in his plans and goals for himself and the family.
- As the helper of my husband, I will not attempt to control him or lead him. I am here to help, not to boss him around.
|Eating Mega ice cream :) - 2012|
|In Filipiniana. Manila Hotel - 2013|
|Our loving yaya, Nana Sepa. :) Thank you for your love. We love you!|