Want a mother’s helper? This posts will help you figure out how to find one, hire one, and begin training a helper you’ll love.
About 4.5 years ago… I found out I was pregnant.
For the 5th time.
I actually found out I was pregnant before church one Sunday in the Walgreens bathroom. And I promptly fell on the floor sobbing.
Not because I didn’t want another baby.
But because I didn’t want to be pregnant again. I didn’t actually think I could take care of 4 kids, while pregnant, then somehow take care of a 5th.
Those close to me looked at me and said…
“Rachel, you need help.”
I felt that was putting it mildly.
I prayed and planned and looked at the budget and eventually we found a wonderful girl to come and help me with the kids.
While I worked.
Or sat beside her in a pregnant stupor.
She was one of the best things that ever happened to our family. She stayed around 4 years, then retired to have her own baby.
If you are feeling strung out and want some help… keep reading.
You won’t regret it.
In This Post...
What’s the difference between a mother’s helper and a nanny?
I’ll start by saying that my mother’s helper called herself a nanny to others.
I mean… it just rolls off the tongue easier, right?
More or less a nanny or a mother’s helper could be the same thing, but there are some distinct differences that may apply here.
- A mother’s helper can be of any age; a nanny is typically old enough to at least drive, if not a legal adult.
- A mother’s helper can be as part-time as you’d like; a nanny generally works heavily part-time if not full time for one family.
- And, a mother’s helper literally helps the mom do anything around the house or revolving the family, including watching the kids; a nanny usually just watches the kids.
What to look for in a helper
This is where a lot of moms get stuck.
You feel overwhelmed and know you need help. You’ve budgeted and figured out how much you have to pay someone, and now you are ready to pull the trigger.
But who do you hire?
➡️ First, consider what tasks you’d want your mother’s helper to do. This will help you determine the age of the person you want to hire.
➡️ Second, think about how often you want someone to come over and what level of commitment you need. Do you need someone to come 40 hours a week?
Then you want someone extremely reliable and in a stage of life where they aren’t likely to call you the night before and need tomorrow off (a.k.a. a student).
This is key.
If you want someone 10 hours a week to help around the house, the life stage may not be as important.
➡️ Third, you really want someone who is willing to jump in and do what needs to be done.
If you sense an attitude of entitlement, or “just enough to get by” or “I’m going to scroll Insta instead of watch your kid” then just keep moving.
What a mother’s helper can do for you
Essentially your helper will assist you in doing anything that needs doing.
She will help you in your responsibilities.
Things Around The House She Can Do:
- Laundry gathering, washing, drying, folding, and putting away (or helping your little ones do their chore)
- Change bedding
- Load or unload dishwasher
- Clean kitchen
- Clean bathrooms
- Prepare meals, snacks, or school lunches
- All the family tidy routines
Now, that’s just the basics as it relates to household stuff.
Child related responsibilities
- Carrying out the wind down routines for the babies, toddlers, and preschoolers
- Help keep the baby routines, toddler routines, and school routines going.
- Bathing the kids
- Changing diapers
- Helping clean up toys
- Playing with the kids
- Reading books to the kids (even if they cant sit still)
- School pick up and drop offs
There are many more, of course, see the post below for an exhaustive list. The key is to realize that your helper can essentially do most of the things you can do (except nursing, of course).
A Day In The Life With A Mother’s Helper
Let’s dive in, here are two day in the life examples of what it might look like with a mother’s helper.
➡️ #1 – Sample “Day In The Life”
Situation: Work-at-home-mom with some school aged kids and a baby
7:00 a.m. – MH arrives in time to watch the baby so you can do the school morning routine and school run. MH feeds baby solids, plays with baby, reads to baby.
8:00 a.m. – Mom arrives home, goes into office or work area to get work done in quiet.
8:30 a.m. – MH puts baby down for a nap then goes into the kitchen to tidy up from breakfast. Puts away dishes, food, sweeps, and mops. Does kitchen chores. Generally tidies up the kitchen and living areas.
10:00 a.m. – Baby wakes up from nap. Mom comes to breastfeed baby and spend some time with baby. MH then changes baby’s diaper, puts baby down for tummy time, and occupies baby. Goes on errand with baby to do grocery pickup.
11:30 a.m. – MH feeds baby solids, reads books, plays with baby. Baby has a modified independent play in a play pen in the living room. MH folds laundry and puts it away. Plays quietly with baby.
1:00 p.m. – Mom comes out to nurse baby, MH puts baby down to nap. MH goes off duty for the day. Mom works until baby wakes up and then does school pick up.
So, that was an example day in the life of a helper who is old enough to drive, comes for a few hours a day, and watches one baby.
➡️ #2 – Sample “Day In The Life”
Situation: A 13 year old homeschooled neighbor comes over to help a stay at home mom with the afternoon grind.
3:00 p.m. – MH comes over as the bus brings home older kids. Gets snack for kids and occupies little kids while mom does homework with the older ones.
3:45 p.m. – MH helps kids do their chores. Plays with kids, changes diapers, helps with whatever is happening.
4:30 p.m. – Mom starts doing dinner prep. MH takes the kids outside to play, keeps them occupied, reads books, etc.
5:15 p.m. – Dinner ready, MH goes home for the day, family dinner time routine starts.
That was an example of a mother’s helper that is young, flexible, and able to come be a help to you while you are present at home.
➡️ #3 – Sample “Day In The Life”
Situation: A 20 something year old who comes over during the day to watch a toddler and preschooler while mother works outside the home.
8:30 a.m. – MH arrives in time for mom to get out and ready for work. Mom goes and MH is on duty with littles.
9:00 a.m. – MH cleans up the kitchen, puts away food, dishes, unloads dishwasher as little ones play. Tidies up the kitchen and living room areas.
10:00 a.m. – Builds forts with the kids, plays dress up, plays games, breaks up fights (I jest, I jest, who am I kidding, I’m serious) and generally watches/entertains the kids.
11:00 a.m. – Puts the kids in independent play so they can have some quiet time of concentration and not have to share. This can be done in their rooms or just separate parts of the house if they room share. (If your littles room share, you absolutely *must* read this.) After the independent play time, free time happens.
12:00 p.m. – Lunch for everyone. Littles have healthy lunch and MH makes sure all is well. After lunch there is some time of play that doesn’t rile the kids up.
1:00 p.m. – Nap and rest time. That’s right, all the kids go to nap at the same time. It can stagger by a few minutes as the MH puts one to bed and then the next, but both go down around this time. While the kids nap the MH can clean bathrooms, do laundry, or get anything done on this household chore list.
Note: While kids are in bed, the MH can do homework, clean the house, scroll her phone, or whatever else needs doing. It’s worth making a “rule” that your mother’s helper can’t be on her phone while watching the kids, but can if other tasks are completed that are part of the job.
3:00 p.m. – Around this time the kids might start to wake up. MH gets kids an afternoon snack to help prevent the afternoon meltdowns. The kids might get screen time, cartoon time, or watch a movie during this period. Then your MH lets the kids have some free play.
4:30 p.m. – MH makes sure the house is picked up, tidied, and ready for mom and dad to come home from work. She (or he, for that matter, could be either) begins doing evening prep for dinner time as the kids play.
5:30 p.m. – A parent arrives home, MH shift ends.
So to sum it all up…
If you need help with the little ones or around the house, then a mother’s helper is an excellent option.
You can find one you trust.
You can have more time for you.
And you’ll never regret it.
They can be used interchangeably. Typically, nannies are full time and of legal age to be able to drive. Mothers helpers can be 12 to 13 year olds who come over to help while mom is around.
Typically yes, you do pay a mother’s helper. Here’s how to determine how much to pay.
Because they want help. Helpers can give mom a chance to do things around the house, to work from home, or even to spend more individual time with their kids.
Yes! Mother’s helpers can do most anything you’d do. It’s a good idea to agree upon some general tasks in the beginning. And then you can add and subtract as time goes on.
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