For a long time, I fought the need for a babysitter or mother’s helper. Not because we couldn’t afford it (although, I’m definitely cheap and shelling out the cash was a block I had to overcome). But because I felt like being home with my kids and working my business was WHY I started in the first place, right?
And I COULD do both. Honestly, I can. However, I was a much better mom and businesswoman by hiring someone to come hang out with the kiddos for a day. My productivity skyrocketed, the girls had a fun day, I was here to lend a hand when needed or answer any questions, and my stress level drastically dropped.
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Seriously, it was amazing.
Rather than refer to the babysitter as such, I call her a mother’s helper. Why? Because I’m still home, but she’s like a second set of hands to keep the children occupied (even cleaned up after their games and crafts and such). I think I accomplished 2-3x the amount I normally would have in the amount of time that she was here. Therefore, she paid for herself three or four-fold.
So, what should you look for in a mother’s helper? This list will help:
Seems like this characteristic should be obvious if you’re putting your children in their care, right? Maybe. Yet, it’s an important one. Sometimes we feel “desperate” and want to bypass some of our intuitive feelings because of that. Take your time, vet the candidates appropriately, and have a little faith that you will find the right person for the position. Knowing that you won’t worry about their well-being if they are out of your line of sight ranks up there in key components.
Children are GREAT judges of character. If the person does not jive with your personality, take that into consideration. Are they friendly? Do the kids like them? Now, don’t get me wrong. That stranger danger is strong in a lot of ages, which we should be thankful for and also bear in mind when interviewing. While being shy or standoffish is normal, you certainly do not want to hire someone that your children are visibly afraid of or treat badly. This person will need to be an authority figure as well as fun to keep them occupied.
Having been a nanny and daycare worker, communication is vital in many relationships. Looking for a mother’s helper means finding someone who will be honest and they should not be afraid to tell you any information or ask you questions. Again, this may take a little bit of time for them to open up to you and establish that line, but if they are too combative or passive-aggressive, then it may not be a good fit for your needs. You also should be aware of if you are too combative or passive-aggressive.
Are they willing to clean up after themselves and help clean up after the kids? If they do an art project, are you picking up the mess or do they put supplies back? While this may be nit-picky, the last thing you want to do is start harboring resentment for hiring someone you are then cleaning up after. Perhaps this point is not a make-or-break-it objective for you. But I take this bonus as exactly what a mother’s helper gets hired to do — make my job easier. So, when lunch is made AND put away, the kids have fun and are tidied up after, I can finish my work and go about my day without having to focus on the chaos that happened while my focus was elsewhere.
This list serves as a start of the essential elements you should look for in a mother’s helper candidate. Ultimately, you will know who the best choice will be for you and your family. What’s a characteristic you would want??
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And grab your freebie on how to Get Lost in Your Child and really engage with them even on busy days. (I’m off to spend the day with the girls before brother gets out for the long weekend.)