How to Find a Mother’s Helper: What to Know and What to Ask

Whether you're in the newborn trenches with your first or are a mom of multiple children ranging from toddlers to teens, an extra set of hands (and eyes and ears) can be invaluable. This is especially true for single parents, those whose spouses are gone a lot, and people who don't have friends or family close by. While it may seem a little odd at first to consider hiring a stranger, a mother's helper can be a great way to free up some time for yourself.

Image via Pexels/ Lina Kivaka

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Job Description and Duties

Mother's helpers are different from nannies or baby sitters in that they generally are there when you are too. What a mother's helper does varies widely from situation to situation, and you can pretty much hire someone to cover whatever you need. If you're just looking for someone to take over the kids while you're still in the house doing other things, like laundry or working from home, the mother's helper will probably just be overseeing the children, playing with them, taking care of any diaper or clothing changes, and possibly feeding them snacks or even meals. However, some mother's helpers do the opposite and handle the daily cooking and cleaning chores so that you can have more time to enjoy your children without feeling guilty or overwhelmed with everything that's not getting done while you play princess tea party for the seventh time that day. And some mother's helpers handle all of the above.

Things to Consider

Before you start looking at hiring a mother's helper, you'll want to think about the level of help you want and what your expectations are going to be. How much you want your helper to handle will be the biggest factor in what you'll be expected to pay. The more duties you want taken care of, the more you'll have to pay. Also think about how many days a week you're expecting your mother's helper to be there. While most mother's helpers don't live with you, if you do want 5-7 days a week, you may want to consider that option. However, this can have further implications because in many places, you're required to treat a live-in child care provider as an employee and everything that involves taxes and business wise. On the other side of the spectrum, young teens are often excellent mother's helpers if you just need someone to keep the children entertained for a few hours while you get other things done, and they're much cheaper than hiring someone older.

Questions to Ask

When you're looking at hiring a mother's helper, conducting an interview and having a meet and greet with the children is crucial. Here are some potential questions to ask to get a feel for whether a potential care provider is a good fit for your family:

  • What experience do you have with children of this age?
  • Are you certified in CPR and comfortable with basic first aid?
  • Have you ever had to handle a health or medical emergency with a child before?
  • How do you respond when a child doesn't want to do what you tell them to?
  • Are you comfortable taking over some daily household tasks?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Can you provide references for your work with children?

It's also a good idea to interview multiple candidates even if you think you've found the perfect person on the first try, and check in with your children and the mother's helper periodically to make sure everyone is still happy with the arrangement.

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How to Find a Mother’s Helper: What to Know and What to Ask

Katelynne has been trying to get the hang of this raising kids thing since 2007 but spends most of her time wondering who stole her copy of Parenting 101. When she’s not playing referee for her two children or writing all the words, she fantasizes about a full night’s sleep, uninterrupted showers, and triple venti caramel macchiatos with coconut milk. ... More

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