I'm hoping to hire a mother's helper in the near future, but I'm looking for some ideas of how to define the job and narrow down what I'm looking for. Eventually I'd love to have someone who I could leave the kids with for short periods of time too. I find I depend way too much on my inlaws for babysitting and I feel like I'm almost taking advantage of them. I'm struggling a bit with PPD and also just overwhelmed with the day to day realities of trying to manage a house and two kids with minimal help. DH leaves the house at 7:30 am and is usually home by 5, but then it is dinner, and then bed time. We have been working on a large kitchen renovation since August too, so his time is short. The older one is in bed by 7:30, but the baby usually takes a while to get to bed, so in the evenings I can't get much done...and I'm exhausted from nursing all night.
I'm going to contact a local college and see if I can post the job. How many hours a week would you think would make it reasonable and what sorts of wages would you offer? I was considering ~10 dollars an hour but not sure if that is too little? I don't want to be insulting, but I also don't want to break the bank. :)
Mainly I'm looking for someone to come in and play with/supervise the kids while I get things done around the house. The baby is very precocious and is rather um...persistent. I accidentally left the door to the downstairs room open this morning and she was half way up the stairs in 2 minutes. I can't turn my back! :) General household stuff is a challenge because the baby doesn't nap except on my lap with my nipple in her mouth. So things I'd do while the baby was napping are getting neglected. *cough* I didn't have a shower for 5 days last week, and DD hasn't had a bath in that long because I can't seem to figure out the logistics of it. The baby will scream if I put her in any sort of containment device and I can not deal with that. 1 because she's obviously upset and 2 it gets older DD upset and then we all end up massively stressed and it usually ends up in a freak out by me or DD or both...
I'd love to start doing some more meal planning and or once a month cooking and making more home made food. So one day I could have her come in and play with the kids I could make several batches of food to freeze.
Mondays and Wednesdays are the days we have no school. I'm not set on hiring a student, I'm just thinking students might be more open to a small very part time job like what I'm envisioning. I am guessing I could afford to pay for 5 to 6 hours a week. Is that even reasonable?
Also how would you look for someone? I guess references would be important? One of the reasons I was thinking the local college, is that there is a ECE program there so there might be students who are child friendly already?
I think you're idea of how to find someone is spot-on. And I'm not sure how much babysitters cost where you are for when you go out to dinner and leave them alone; but I'd knock 20% off of that because they're not really being left alone with the kids. When I lived in NJ, "mother's helper" jobs in the summer were for 13yo-ish girls... specifically BECAUSE they weren't alone and fully responsible for the kids--especially if something went wrong, ya know? And it didn't pay what you'd pay for going out and leaving them alone. Since babysitting rates vary wildly from place to place, it's hard to say if $10/hour is reasonable, let alone too much/little.
I would probably be flexible on what exactly you want to get done with your time, too. And really, I'd sooner want two days/week with 3 hours at a clip than smaller chunks of time. Maybe make one of those days a cooking day and one an "everything else" day (including a shower) :) I'd also keep in mind that it will take some time for your kids to warm up to a new person being around--especially since you're right there.
I would definitely get some references. At least their ECE instructor and an adult that's known them at least 3 years (that's always the standard for references where I was). If you can get a third by way of someone they've babysat for as well, great. But I'd at minimum have an instructor.
I would also make it a semester-long commitment vs. an on-going one. Winter session, spring semester, summer session, fall semester. That way, if it's not working out and/or you feel like you don't need the help anymore, you have a very comfortable and pre-determined end for it. No stress. It's easier to ask someone to sign on for another semester than to ask them to leave! :D
Heather - Wife , Mommy & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices that fit your family...
I love my mothers helper, like I want to marry her and ditch my husband ;)
I have a 3 year old, and a 5 month old. Basically I run errands and leave either one/both babes with her if it's something large [example, holiday shopping..I got a few hours to myself today to get things DONE and done quickly) and she also watches the little one so I can have 1/1 time with my daughter which is essentially why I hired her. She basically helps with whatever I need -- I pay her $15 an hour but I live in high cost area so I guess that's fairly normal.
I would set up the days/hours you need ahead of time. Like if you want someone 2x per week at 4hrs a day, or M-W-F from 10-1 or something like that
I pay my mother's helper $10/hr. She comes 4 times a week for 2 hours, and I usually leave for the gym, sometimes I stay here and get things done around the house. The only thing we have her do is baby related stuff, so for us I guess she is just a babysitter. She also works for several other couples close by, some full days and some short. For them, she cooks, gets the kids to appointments, picks them up at the bus, runs errands etc. They still pay her 10 bucks an hour. I'd just make sure when you hire somebody he or she is comfy around the babe, and you talk beforehand about responsibilities. DD smiles the biggest smile when our sitter comes, puts her hands out to be held, and I don't feel guilty slipping out for some exercise.
Bleh, I had my wind knocked out of my sails. DH says probably not possible. I'm frustrated and annoyed. I told him that we needed to figure out something because I'm hitting burnout point. I'm not sure what we are going to do because I don't want to take advantage of my girlfriends with asking them for child care. They all have kids of their own. I can't leave the littlest one because she has severe allergies and is pretty much exclusively breastfed. We are working on introducing foods but it is a slow process. She's got two foods she eats regularly and I'm actually trialing wheat because she tested neg to it in terms of IgE. She can't have formula (not that she'd drink it even if she could).
See if there's a local church that runs a "Mom's Morning Out". They're usually a 2-hour ordeal one morning a week and you generally don't need to be a church member to participate. The cost is low enough to make it a possibility even if only twice/month. Generally, they don't feed the kids and it would be easy enough to leave a bottle of expressed milk if she could take a bottle.
OR, see if you can work on the barter system. Google "barter network" and your city or just approach the ECE program at the college and ask one of the instructors what you could possibly barter with one of their worthwhile students--ya know? Maybe one needs a ride to another job twice/week or something--ya know? Maybe they need laundry done? Ironing? Something you could do while you're doing your own stuff that it's not such a burden. Maybe THEY can throw in their laundry while watching the kids. :D