What is a Mother’s Helper

No matter how organised they tend to be: Every mum knows the stressful situation when she usually has to work or do the household but is supposed to look after the children at the same time. Especially parents with younger children or families with more than two children may have problems to keep both, family life as well as working life, in balance. If this is exactly the case, then they might consider looking for a childcare option like a Mother’s Help which can help to ease the daily routine.

What exactly is a Mother’s Help?

Just a brief information first: There are slight differences between the American and British idea of a Mother’s Help. In the USA, a Mother’s Help is comparable to a “normal” babysitter who is in charge of the children when the parents are away.

In contrast to this, in the UK, a Mother’s Help normally is someone who has specific proven childcare experience (very often a mum herself or an experienced Au Pairs). They may have a valid driving licence and are on average way older than the classic Au Pair age.

As Hostmum.com is located in the United Kingdom, this article focuses on the UK version of a Mother’s Help.

Basically, a Mother’s Help in the UK is hired to support the mother with everything that is related to the children like for instance playing with the children, tidying up the room afterwards, cooking light meals and cleaning up later on. There is a lot of flexibility in the duties of a Mother’s Helper so she could also be asked to help with light household duties like washing, ironing or doing the shopping for the family. Depending on the arrangement, the help is supposed to look after the children also in the evenings.

These task and duties do not really differ so much from those of a “normal” Au Pair, but there is one big difference: A Mother’s Help normally is not left of sole charge with the children. Almost all the time, the mother is present at home. A Mother’s Help is basically a second pair of hands for a Mum.

What kind of families might be looking for a Mother’s Help?

A Mother’s Help is really useful for families, who have more than two kids or do have children which are younger than two years old.

Having several children automatically means a lot of work and it it can be tricky to combine household and child care and maybe some working from home business as well. Hence, a Mother’s Help is really a good idea and can reduce the workload of the mother. Families with infants might need a helping hand at the beginning in order to sort everything out or to get a daily routine with a new born. As the Mother’s Help is not supposed to be in sole charge of children for a longer time (especially not aged less than two year olds) one of the parents need to be at home to guide or give advice, especially at the beginning of the arrangement. Consequently, a Mother’s Help is a perfect match for parents where one partner is at home or when there is a flexibility of home working for one of the parents so that the Mother’s Helper is never alone with the kids for a longer period of time.

How expensive is a Mother’s Help?

The salary of the Mother’s Help varies because of certain circumstances which have to be taken into consideration.

First of all, there are two main differences:

  • Live-out Mother’s Help
  • Live-in Mother’s Help

The most common arrangement is the Live-out Mother’s Help. This person is living outside the house of the employer and comes to work every day or on the days arranged with the family whereas the Live-in Mother’s Help lives with the family and hence, should be provided a private room with a bathroom. Regardless of the fact whether you are hiring a Live-out or Live-in Mother’s Help, food and drinks have to be provided for free.

The average workload of a Mother’s Help is up to eight hours a day, for every day within the week. There are also part-time Mother’s Helpers, who work from one to four days a week for less than 8 hours. It is quite common, that Mother’s Helper have one full day off/ week and about three nights free without having to babysit.

The basic payment for full time Mother’s Helpers starts at 120 ₤ / week but this highly depends on the arrangement agreed. As the family is the official employer of the Mother’s Help, it is necessary to pay the Mother’s Helper the minimum wage, as well as the employment is taxed and National Insurance does apply – in case the salary is higher than 144 ₤/ week.

What else is important?

We highly advice to sign a contract before starting the arrangement as this is the safest way to avoid problems. Families looking for Mother’s Helpers should be aware of the fact, that their help is not supposed to be alone with the children, especially not in the very beginning. Hence, guidance and supervision are a must in order to ease the start for the Mother’s Help.

In addition, it is really useful to check whether the candidate already possesses a first-aid certificate or if not, is willed to pass a first-aid course just in case of an emergency.