Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What to Look for in a Mother's Helper

Today is the last day of my "wonderful Christmas present" aka my Mother's Helper. My Mom and Dad paid for her to come for 7 weeks to relieve me, during my weeks of intense sickness. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed having her here! She keeps the kids entertained while I'm cooking or reading, and most of the time I run errands while she stays with the kids. Last week I was all caught up on grocery shopping so I went to the library and explored leisurely, having the time of my life looking for interesting cookbooks and CD music for Ali to dance to.
As I've thought over these last weeks of having a Mother's Helper once a week, here are some tips I would give to anyone who might consider having one for a difficult season of mothering:

*It would be wise to lay out a list of her duties at the very beginning, as well as telling her how much she can be expected to make per time. I feel like my parents paid my helper a little more than they needed to, but it really was nice for me that her parents brought her and picked her up, which makes up for that!

*Figure out your expectations and look for someone who fits them. Do you hate to cook supper when nauseous and want a high-school girl to come in and make a meal once a week? Do you have trouble scrubbing the floor or vacuuming when you are 9 months pregnant and want a cleaning assistant? Or, do you mainly want someone to corral the kids and keep them out from underfoot or busy if you are on bed rest? I have a very young helper, age 11, who is responsible and good with children, but doesn't do much else. In the future I think it would be nice to have an even older girl come in and not only play with the kids, but supervise some clean-up, and help me with some housework or cooking too. I'm seriously considering lining up some Mother's Helpers for after the new baby comes. It will be well worth the money to have someone take the kids outside or to the park as Grammy and Daddy will have to go back to work just a week after the birth and I will be nursing around the clock as well as recovering.

*Choose someone you know well and trust with your kids. Choose someone who is a good role model for your own daughters.

*Save up your non-kid-friendly errands for Mother's Helper Day. It is so nice to go to the post office or run business-type errands without two little ones in tow. I can also shop for groceries or the thrift store so much faster! When you're low on energy to begin with, it makes all the difference in the world not to have to lift kids in and out of carseats!

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