If hiring a babysitter is out of reach, a mother’s helper might be perfect for you.
I joined the motherhood club nine years ago when the first of my three children were born. In that time, I’ve never once hired a babysitter. If truth be told, I can’t actually afford a babysitter, since they make more money per hour than I do. Daycare is completely out of the question since that costs more per month than my mortgage. And a nanny? Those are for rich families or TV dramas.
This past summer, I felt ready to rip my own hair out while I chased my three energetic kids around our house day in and day out, with no break. At one point, I jokingly told my mother-in-law that I was going to sell my kids to the circus if they didn’t chill out and let me just breathe.
She suggested that I hire a mother’s helper.
Never having heard of a mother’s helper, I was intrigued. She explained that hiring a mother’s helper is the cheapest and most ideal situation for what I actually needed. Working from home as a writer often means that I need the time and quiet space to think through my projects. But when there are three kids screaming at each other all day, every day, that much needed quiet space evaporates quickly.
A mother’s helper is essentially a babysitter you hire to come and entertain the kids while you are still there.
I called a family friend who has three teenage girls and asked her if she would mind sending one of them over for a day. I’d pay her $40 for a full day plus provide snacks and lunch. All she had to do was keep my wild kids away from me long enough for me to do my work.
My kids were so excited to be around a new person that they hardly noticed my presence at all, which was totally worth the $40 that I could hardly spare to begin with.
Miraculously, I got all of my work done in one day. That $40 translated to nearly a grand worth of work getting done. That’s a win-win.
So, I hired her again. But this time, she had to keep the kids away from me so that I could clean my house. While this may sound like a chore, I can assure you that blaring Beyoncé and scrubbing floors without having to mitigate the drama of three kids at the same time was damn bliss. My house was sparkling clean and all I had to pay was $40. I couldn’t believe it.
I worked out an arrangement with my mother’s helper that she can come once a week until school starts back up. And whenever she needs to earn some money she can call me up and we’ll make a plan. While I love my kids, I also love and desperately need, time to get stuff done without the unnecessary stress of kids destroying whatever it is I am trying to do.
Finding a creative way to tap into resources to help make my job as a mum easier has been a huge lifesaver.
At first, I laughed at the idea of hiring someone to be here with me because it felt a little bit like admitting that I’m not mum enough to get shit done and take care of the kids all at the same time. But the truth is, my family is better for it. For a few bucks, I know my kids won’t bug me for a while because they’re having fun and I’m still here to swoop in if there is an emergency.