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Liana Peleo: Mommy with No Nanny of Two Kids & An Expat in Taiwan

 

Are you thinking of becoming a mommy with no nanny? Be inspired by mom of two Liana Peleo.

Mommy With No Nanny LIANA PELEO is  a Filipino expat in Taiwan. Dondi and Liana were practically honeymooners when they moved to Taiwan. They had their son Nathan a year later. Liana is now a proud mom of 2 preschoolers and she has never had a yaya. They have no household help either. Here she shares some tips on how she, a part-time teacher at a Tawainese school,  and her husband Dondi enjoy rearing their kids in a foreign land minus a maid and a yaya. Liana and Dondi just celebrated  their 8th anniversary last March.

 

Profession Before: Elementary teacher at Ateneo Grade School

Profession Now: Part-time teacher at Morrison Academy in Taichung, Taiwan

 I have two children (now, 5 & a half and 4). I never had a nanny for either child.
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Q: What made you decide not to have a yaya?

A: My husband, Dondi, and I are expats here in Taiwan. We moved here back in 2008. My first-born, Nathan, was born in 2009.

I guess, in the beginning, not having a nanny was circumstantial. We were foreigners in an unfamiliar country and we were new so we had no idea how things worked.

When I was pregnant with my second child, Amanda, my grandma asked me if I wanted a nanny, since I already had two kids. She was willing to shoulder the cost and do the paper work for bringing a Filipino nanny to me here in Taiwan.

I really wanted to have a helper then, even though I fully enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to have someone else to worry about the cooking and other household chores so I could just focus on my kids.

It was, actually, pride that stirred me away from that course. We were living in an American expat community and having helpers were not the norm. Being around Christian Western moms when I was pregnant and as I became a SAHM influenced my parenting style a lot. Most of my SAHM friends had more than 2 kids and the thought of hiring help never crossed their minds.

Back to the pride thing. I felt that if these moms can do it then, certainly, I can too. Also, I felt like no one else is better equipped to raise my children other than me (which is true, to an extent).

These were the factors that made me and my husband decide not to hire a nanny.

 

Q: What are the perks of not having a nanny?

A: The most important perk of not having a nanny is that only my husband and I are the ones who impart values on our children. Before we got married, and during the course of our marriage before we had kids, Dondi and I have discussed how we would like to raise our kids. Not having a nanny allows us to do that, purposefully and conscientiously.

Another important perk is that we are both able to witness all the important milestones in our kids’ lives. We did not miss out on anything. We were active participants in all of their milestones, so far.

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Q: How do you manage without a nanny?

A: I am truly fortunate to have a husband who is very much hands-on in raising our children. He had more experience taking care of kids since he had a nephew and a niece that he helped care for when he was younger.

Also, we’re living in a Christian expat community, with an abundance of SAHMs, who were very supportive and were always willing to lend a hand.

When I gave birth to both kids, majority of the community signed up to prepare meals for us for practically an entire month. When my children were toddlers, us SAHMs, had playgroup Tuesdays and “child swap/bible school” Thursdays. For playgroup Tuesdays, we would schedule a different park (so many kid-friendly ones here on Taiwan) we would go to. For “child swap/bible school” Thursdays, moms would pair up in one house to watch all the toddlers and have bible class with them for two hours while the other moms can use those two hours to do whatever they please. We have schedules on which pair would be in charge on which date.

All those factors, I must say, were the ones that helped me most to manage without a nanny.

Q:  What are your pet peeves with having no househelp? 

A: Still unclear about the pet peeves but what I did miss about having extra help when my kids were younger was being able to go out for spur of the moment dates (with either hubby or friends). Also, it’s quite pricey to go out on dates since you have to take into account paying for an hourly babysitter. The babysitters available are high school students who live on campus, like us, so options are limited and you really have to make sure to choose teenagers who are responsible, sweet yet firm, and attentive to the needs of my children.

Life’s gotten much easier now that the kids are older & in school. I’m now working part-time and it’s not as hard leaving them with Dondi or with sitters, if I/we need to.

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Q: The positive effects of having no nanny on your kids and marriage? 

A:  Well, having no nanny, has made me and Dondi the constant go-to adults for our kids. They will never want to be with another adult figure as much as they want to be with us.

Our kids have learned to do things quicker and at a younger age than their peers (or sometimes even older kids). Skill sets like eating on their own, using utensils or sleeping unaccompanied or wiping themselves after using the toilet, dressing themselves, etc. They learned to do these things, at least, 6 months to a year earlier than my friends’ kids in the PH who DO have nannies.

Most importantly, the Christian values and characters Dondi and I hold most valuable are instilled by us and aren’t being impeded by other values or beliefs.

 

Q: Would you do no-nanny all over again?

A;  A resounding yes!

Mothers all over the world find themselves in different circumstances where having a nanny or having no nanny is not an option available to them & I do not judge parents who prefer to have nannies because I grew up with a yaya who stayed with me for 22 years and whom I love very much. But, in my case, I would go with the no-nanny route again because, I believe, the pros of having no nanny far outweighs the cons.

Q: Would like to share some tips on how to enjoy being nanny-less? 

A: It’s hard to give “general” tips since every parenting case is unique but, in a nutshell, I would have to say that the best tip I could give to any mom who would like to try being nanny-free is to maintain a life of daily prayer and routine. Those were the top two things that kept me sane when my kids were younger. Having a daily routine helped me and my children get into a day-to-day rhythm that we enjoyed and expected. Slight deviation to the schedule is okay, of course. It was also easier to spot if my children were not their usual normal, healthy selves with a routine since I’ve come to know what to expect from them during certain situations.

Prayer & holding on to God’s promises, by reading His Word, got me through the difficult times. The times when I felt weak, ill-equipped and inadequate as a mother. No parenting book could have saved me from those dark times the way the bible did (and still does).

I guess, one last tip would be to ask for help. There is no shame in humbling yourself and asking for help, every once in a while. No mother, wherever it’s her first or fifth child, can ever be a truly effective parent by herself. We will all need help, sooner or later.

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