What is a mother's helper?

Jan. 19, 2018

You've heard it before: Being a mom is one of the toughest jobs in the world. So, cut yourself some slack when you feel overwhelmed by the millions of things you balance every day. All moms would welcome a little bit of assistance now and then.

If you're worried that hiring a nanny is too much of a commitment, you might want to consider getting a mother's helper — someone who can watch over your kids, run errands, or perform some simple housework tasks

What is a mother's helper?

Considered a "babysitter in training," a mother's helper does just that — helps Mom. They are babysitters generally considered too young to care for children on their own but old enough to responsibly play with children while Mom is busy (yet present). Most mother's helpers find jobs with families that have more than one child.

While Mom is feeding the baby, a mother's helper can keep the older children occupied. In addition to playing with the children, a mother's helper may be asked to perform light housework or run errands. During the holidays, mothers' helpers can be hired to help Mom wrap gifts, decorate the house and even assist with baking.

If you are currently taking babysitter classes, you may want to become a mother's helper, which would offer you a chance to get hands-on experience and some great references. 

Here are some great ways that a mother's helper can make life a little easier: 

  1. Entertains the toddler while you feed, soothe, tend to a baby.
  2. Does the dishes while you play with the kids.
  3. Plays with the kids while you jump on a conference call.
  4. Makes easy lunches.
  5. Has a ton of energy when you're lagging.
  6. Helps with homework.
  7. Allows you to take a much-needed nap/shower/bathroom break.
  8. Has a higher tolerance for watching “Frozen.”
  9. Doesn’t mind getting covered in paint and dirt.
  10. Can be a positive role model for the little ones.
  11. Allows your to get the stuff done — pay bills, organize the house, anything!
  12. Gets extra stuff done so you can enjoy more time with your kids.

Partner not convinced? Here are five ways to convince them.

While a mother's helper can do wonders to alleviate some of your daily stress as a stay-at-home mom, you may find that your partner requires a bit of convincing. Here are five things you can do to help your partner understand why you feel this helper is necessary and how she will benefit your whole family:

  • State your case
    It's a common misconception that stay-at-home moms have extra time on their hands. After all, you know from experience that your days are jam-packed with everything from cooking to cleaning to school drop-offs. Inform your partner of all the things you do each day and how much time these tasks usually require. They may not be aware of the hundreds of little things you do that add up to an entire day's worth of work.
  • Record everything that doesn't get done
    You should also create a list of all the tasks you just don't have the time to accomplish. For instance, you might wish that you were able to deep clean your bathrooms on a more regular basis, or do laundry before the bin is literally overflowing.

    Go over this list with your partner so they're aware of just how much doesn't get done due to time constraints. You might also want to keep track of how long it's been since you've been able to do a particular task.
  • Suggest that you establish a trial period
    Does your partner still have their doubts about how much of a difference this figure would make to your everyday lives? Suggest hiring a mother's helper for a week or two. That way, you can test the waters and see how beneficial she'd actually be.
  • Discuss long-term goals
    It's also important for you to talk about the long-term goals you would like to achieve by getting a mother's helper. Perhaps this caregiver can watch over your little one so that you can volunteer at your older child's school on a weekly basis. Or, maybe you want to take on a hobby like scrapbooking or running, but never have time to do so because you're so busy doing chores and running errands. Whatever your family's goals are, you should discuss how much quicker and easier it would be to accomplish them if you had a little bit of extra help.
  • Talk about the benefits
    Cost is often a major factor in a family's decision to hire a caregiver. However, it's important to remember that one of the benefits of hiring a mother's helper is that it's more financially feasible than hiring a nanny or housekeeper.

    You should also outline the benefits to your overall well-being! Explain to your partner that you'll be happier and less stressed out if you could just get a little bit of help. And don't forget to call out the specific benefits that your whole family will enjoy, such as the fact that your house will likely be more clean and organized, and that there will probably be more home-cooked meals on the table.

Written by Tiffany Smith and Sara Ipatenco.

Tiffany Smith has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Follow her on Twitter @tiffanyiswrite.

Sara Ipatenco is a mother of two, first grade teacher and freelance writer. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree, both in elementary education. Sara has been published in "Teaching Tolerance" and "Family Fun" magazines.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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