Staying Sane: A Mother’s Helper is worth his/her weight in gold


It wasn’t until AFTER I ran myself ragged and became utterly exhausted (seriously… both mentally and physically) that I demanded more help.   Our family has always been big proponents for daycare but honestly after working all day and doing multiple drop-offs, cooking dinner, cleaning up, doing dishes, doing bedtime routine, doing laundry, and dealing with crying kids, I was PRAYING for a solution such as nanny to make things easier on our lives.   However, the nanny option is not for everyone and they are also quite expensive where we live.   It is also great to have help from family, but our families do not live that close and sometimes their “help” often came with opinions — or, we just didn’t feel comfortable asking them for the real help we needed.  We came to a conclusion that the busiest time of day was after work up until bedtime.  So we arranged for “help” during those hours only – and this was in the form of hired help — a Mother’s Helper.

What does this “help” entail?   Essentially everything that you don’t want to do so that you can relax and spend more quality time with your children.   Let me emphasize this further…. EVERYTHING that you DON’T want to do so that you can RELAX and spend more QUALITY time with your children.

For our family, duties have included:

  • assisting with dinner prep; table set up
  • dinner cleanup
  • primary responsibility for all laundry (gathering, sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away) – kids and adults!!!
  • taking out trash, taking out compost daily
  • help with bed-time routine (diaper changes, getting in PJs, reading books, etc.)
  • help entertaining/trouble shooting with any of our children
  • other projects, as needed (vacuum, sweeping, cleaning out refrigerator, going through old/small clothes, etc.)
  • playing with kids, helping kids pick up their toys

We advertised on Craig’s List and received 10 – 15 responses to our ad.  We did NOT need an experienced person as a nanny.   All we needed was someone who was conscientious, could follow directions, and use common sense with our kids.    We also wanted someone who is punctual, dependable, eager, energetic, and generally enjoys children.  We also wanted someone who lived close by and had their own form of transportation.

Our Mother’s Helper comes from 6:30 – 8:30 PM.   We start dinner and eat dinner as a family while the Mother’s Helper is at work.  After dinner, we play with our kids and engage with them.   We talk to them.  We play with them.  They climb on us.  We tickle them.    We get them ready for bed and read to them.   We sing and hug them once more and say goodnight.   When we come down from tucking our kids in, the kitchen is spotless, the house is tidied up/organized, the dryer is going, the dishwasher is going, and me and Hubby can sit down and RELAX.

With our last Mother’s Helper (and we intend to start this soon with our new person once she is ready), we had her stay later one night a week and Hubby and I did “date night” — essentially we put the kids down for bed and the Mother’s Helper is there for them while we are out — so really no need to put extra responsibility on her.   She is there if there is a cry in the night or a plea for water.    And Hubby and I get a date night at a reduced babysitter rate.

This works wonderfully for our family and the change in stress level was IMMEDIATELY noticed as soon as we hired someone to help us.    I highly recommend this strategy — you ask, they do.   And your kids get more of you.   It’s a win, win, win scenario and I can’t believe we didn’t do this sooner.

Looking forward to feedback, comments, or other suggestions from folks –

– Mama K

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  1. […] house, we hire a housekeeper about 1x a quarter (we need to go every other week I think. We have a Mother’s Helper who comes during week nights to help with dinner clean up, laundry, and general straightening up.) […]

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