Seeking a Household Assistant or Mother's Helper

Parent Q&A

Mother’s Helper Advice Nov 6, 2020 (1 responses below)
Mother’s Helper question Sep 8, 2020 (3 responses below)
How to find household help with new baby coming and a 4YO? Jan 9, 2017 (4 responses below)
  • Mother’s Helper Advice

    (1 reply)

    Our family has been struggling to find babysitters for some time but I’m thinking what we’re really looking for is a “Mother’s Helper” instead? I’m a stay at home Mom with a 4yr old boy (attending a small Preschool pod part time), 2yr old boy and 3mo old, with no help from family or friends. I’m in need of someone to play with the older children so I can focus on the baby, or get things done at home. Ideally, 3x a week for 1-4hrs to play with only the 2yr old or both the 2 and 4yr old. We previously tried another sitter a few times in this same “position” but since I was home I ended up changing the 2yr old’s diapers, prepping and serving meals/ snacks, providing new activities, etc throughout the “babysitting” time. This was despite being in a different room of the house, working on the computer, asking to not be disturbed unless necessary. My kids were bored and we still paid $25/hr for this “Nanny”. So, it really seems like for the level of responsibility I’m expecting, an older kid might be able to do the job better with a much more reasonable rate?  

    My questions are- how to find such a person? I haven’t really seen any ads like that here so is BPN the best place to look? And secondly, what is average pay like for this type of position? I would imagine with schools not being in person there must be local teens or other young people available who could help another Covid conscious, socially distancing family? We’re located in Crockett and have a very open home with a fenced deck and other outdoor play space so we could even plan for the majority of time to be outside, or with masks. 
    Thank you in advance for any help or insights!

    RE: Mother’s Helper Advice ()

    My college-age daughter has been a mother's helper twice. The first job she found on care.com. The second on Nextdoor. She was most recently paid $15/hour for two kids, although she was willing to work for $12 while the mother was home. My daughter says it is really hard to keep younger kids from wanting their mom when they know the mom is home. I suggest taking the baby out, for a long walk or to drive around, so your other children really know you are not available. Also have the mother's helper take the older kids for a walk or to a local park for part of the time.

  • Mother’s Helper question

    (3 replies)

    Hi everyone,

    How much do you pay a part-time mother’s helper that’s a high school or college student. 
     

    thank you 

    RE: Mother’s Helper question ()

    A "mother's helper" is usually a younger teen or older child who plays with a toddler/preschooler in another part of the house, while one or both parents are on site. So it is usually a cheaper arrangement because they don't have any actual responsibility for the child's welfare, just entertainment value. A high schooler/college student is old enough to be a babysitter when parents aren't home, able to make more money, so probably not going to go for a mother's helper job. An older teen/adult rate for babysitting is about $10/hour for the first child and $8-10 for the second and beyond. A mother's helper is more like $5-8/hour in my opinion.

    RE: Mother’s Helper question ()

    I felt pushed to post because of the first response... I think that while you you could "get away" with what is quoted ($5-10/hour) it is unethical and likely illegal. I think any help you "hire" should be paid at least $10 hour but really, more like $12-15 (the minimum wage, whatever it is in your area). In my area (Alameda) the average I have seen is $20/hr. 

    RE: Mother’s Helper question ()

    I am the parent of a college student who was offered $12/per hour for two children as a mother's helper (mom was working in another room in the house). My daughter was fine with that rate as it was less responsibility than babysitting, however a Nextdoor thread went ballistic that no one should be paid less than minimum wage, $15/hour. So the family then offered $15/hour and the mom went to work out of the house.

  • Hi there! 

    I'm not sure if I'm asking for the moon or not, but my husband and I would like to hire someone who can come 2-3 days a week for 5-6 hours/time to help us with housecleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, meal prep (based on menus I give them), and occasional household projects.

    I've posted my ad to Craigslist and to Care.com but I'm wondering if this kind of person exists and, if they do, where else I might look to find someone like this. 

    If you've hired someone like this, I would love to hear your experience!

    Thank you!

    Hi. I had this situation after my second child was born. She was a recent college grad and started a few weeks before the birth and stayed on for three months. Somehow we got her for 16 an hour, but after hiring we lent her a car and used points to get her tix to Dominican Republic to see family. It was the best money we’ve ever spent. Ever. I hate living in a mess and though friends and neighbors brought meals, this person was indispensable. She drove kid one to preschool, unloaded the dishwasher, prepped meals, did laundry, held baby, etc. Found her on care.com, though at first she wasn’t responsive on email. Also posted to all the other similar sites. Hope you find someone. 

    Recently had no luck on care.com for a regular babysitting position at about 20 hours per week. Everyone I contacted was either not interested in that much of a commitment, or if they were, already had a position. I am surmising that if such unicorns exist on care.com, you want to grab them either before summer (as the school year ends) or just before the start of the school year as many are students on some level.

    You might try to post up at Cal. I'm sure there are undergrads or graduate students who would love some extra income on a flexible schedule.

  • We are a couple with a four year old and a baby arriving in a month. We currently have an awesome housekeeper who comes once a week to deep clean the house. We are looking for someone who is available more often - 3-4 hours a day, during the day or at night - 4-5 days per week (12-20 hours a week). With a new baby, it will be hard to juggle everything. Our 4 year old will be in preschool everyday from 9-12:30. We don't necessarily want childcare, but want help getting stuff done around the house. I would rather spend time with my children than have someone else spend time with them while I do household chores. We're looking for an efficient person who will do meal prep, cook, do laundry and put it away, clean up after meals, tidy the house, etc. Virtually all the postings here and on Craigslist that we see are for nannies who do light house keeping, or housekeepers who do once or twice a week deep cleanings.

    Has anyone had this type of set up? Can you recommend anyone? Where else can we look?

    Thank you.

    Have you placed an ad describing what you are looking for on care.com (or similar sites) or Craig's List?

    Hi there,

    Congrats on your upcoming 2nd child. Have you asked your current housekeeper if she can swing working an additional day or two for you? Or, does she know someone who you can hire additionally? Or, what about your older child's preschool schedule--is there an extended day or after care option that you can pay for an extra day or two per week, to "give you back" some hours where you can get those household things done, albeit with baby at home with you too. You didn't mention if you work outside the home. If not, I wonder if there are any time management techniques that might help you out? Or what about hubby--can he pitch in more? I'm of the opinion that it's not unkind to "lovingly ignore" your kids sometimes, to get stuff done around the house. This can be a skill-building too (well, for your older one, not the baby)--in they learn how to self-entertain or just deal with boredom. And it's valuable for them to see that everyone pitches in with jobs at home. Good luck!

    Hi there. I'm not sure if you are looking for shorter term or longer term help, but I remember the doula group I used for my first son several years ago offered postpartum services where they would come to the home, cook dinner, clean up, make sure the new Mom had what she needed in order to care for the new baby. The folks I worked with are no longer with the doula group so not sure if they still do this. I've also heard of people hiring "mothers helpers" to do what you're describing so moms can spend time with their kids rather than on household tasks. My old nanny used to do this for another family who had two children. Once she even cleaned out their garage for them. I would consider advertising on care.com as I've had good luck there - as long as you're clear with what you want I wouldn't imagine it would be hard to find someone willing to do what you're describing.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Mother's helper to help in the evenings

June 2006

We have two kids under 2.5 years old attending preschool/daycare, and both parents working outside of the home. We are considering hiring a mother's helper during the dinner hour to ease the transition from work/daycare to dinner to bath to bedtime. Have you had such help before? Any advice what type of personality/backgrounds to look for? How many hours is ideal? Needing an extra pair of hands


We hired a mother's helper about 9 months ago and it's been a HUGE help. She comes in twice a week for around 5 hours total. Does cooking and food prep, light cleaning, dishes, laundry, changes bedsheets, even a little sewing. We posted an ad on Craigslist and she responded. We got lucky because she lives in the neighborhood and was looking for just a few hours each week. We are going to be seriously bummed when she someday decides to move on.

In addition to posting an ad on Craigslist, you can look on Craigslist for what people post who are looking for such a positions. It's under Gigs/Domestic. Also, one of the BPN newsletters might help.

We spoke to almost 10 people before we hired anyone. We found that most people wanted more hours than we could offer. Typically people wanted half time work (20 hours/week), but would accept something a little less, but not the 4-6 hours/week that we would guarantee (which is why we got lucky with who we got). Make sure you check references, too


Hiring a mother's helper is a matter of what your own needs are and what you feel comfortable with. My mother's helper comes 4 to 6 hours a week after school. She is 16 and very warm and fun. She plays with the kids and folds their laundry, picks up their toys after play, and feeds them dinner too. (they eat early because they are babies). I found her through asking teachers at a local high school to recommend someone. Since she is never there alone I didn't do a more thorough background check or anything like that love our Mothers Helper