During this crazy summer of COVID, a mommy’s helper may just be the perfect way to break up your days.
Quarantine/COVID life has turned our summer upside down. We usually have a great line up of camps, VBS, and swim lessons lined up sprinkled with trips to Six Flags and a jaunt or two out of town to visit family. Well, between picking up a part-time job in May and COVID being what it is, we have been hunkering down at home quite a lot so far this summer. It’s been a lot of Minecraft and Youtube. I call it “Camp Kindle.” Judge away. We’re just over here doing our best like everyone else in this super weird time. Even though there isn’t much to do, I happened upon a friend who mentioned that her 11-year-old daughter would be home alone quite a bit this summer since her older siblings and parents all worked. A little light bulb went off, and I asked if she would be interested in a mommy’s helper job. Great news! The answer was yes. So, for the last few weeks, we have been blessed with a day of fun when Lily comes to play. She is amazing with the kids. She thinks of fun games to play, and when she is around, there is zero fighting. Zip. Nada. Like a pied piper, she casts a happy little spell over them, and they all play screen-free for a few hours while I sit through a zoom meeting for work and hammer out some chores.
Great idea, right? I’m ten years into this mommy gig, and I have had a mommy’s helper on and off as needed. One time it was a young neighbor who would walk over after school one day a week and play with my boys (one and three at the time) while I did some meal prep. After I had my fourth baby, I had one who would come a few times a week and give my 3-year-old daughter a bath, brush her hair, and read to all three while I sat in the chair nursing and bonding with my new baby. Having a sitter at the house while you are home can be a great thing.
So what is a mommy’s helper? A mommy’s helper is a girl who is too young to babysit but old enough to play with your young children responsibly and help them pick up after activities. They are usually between the ages of 10 and 12. They typically love to sit on the floor and play with your young children and are great at making the dolls talk and playing pretend (which I have never been good at or enjoyed). They are also less expensive than an older sitter who typically charges twice as much per hour.
So how much do you pay a mommy’s helper? Well, I’ve seen some threads about this and the numbers vary dramatically. In a way, as the responsible adult, you are kind of babysitting her as well and “coaching” her to keep the activities going. It’s kind of like a babysitting apprenticeship. That said, it depends on the situation. A good way to find your neighborhood’s going rate is to post the question on a neighborhood mom site. One thread I saw had everything from $2/hour – $20/hour. The higher wages were for moms who work from home with their door locked, so the helper was really more of a sitter…but still…wow! I wish I had the opportunity to make some bank like that when I was eleven!! I have found that they are happy with whatever, and I try to be generous but reasonable. I also only do this maybe once or twice a week so it doesn’t break the bank for us.
Are you taking care of yourselves moms? Being home all day with your kids is not easy. Do you need a break? Do your kids need a break from you? If so, maybe a mommy’s helper will break up the monotony. It will mean a lot to the helper as well. She’s probably bored, too.