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caedmyn

help me plan for a mother's helper

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We're looking at possibly hiring a mother's helper for a few months, 3 hours a day 3-4 days a week. The person we're considering is an adult with a few years of nannying experience. Basically I need someone to be able to watch one or more of my boys while I take care of the baby, do school with other kids, and, for the rest of the summer, try to regain some semblance of order with my boys because they're pretty wild and I don't currently have the ability to manage them. I've been trying to get us into a fairly strict routine so I can manage them but a few days a week I'm so tired in the mornings that I can hardly focus and so am never able to consistently implement this routine enough to get anybody retrained. I want the mother's helper to be able to, say, entertain 2 boys for a while so I can work on getting one at a time into a routine, or do schoolwork with one.

 

My kids are 10 (girl), 7, 5, and 3 (boys) with a baby due early September. 10 yo has adhd symptoms and doesn't focus well with chaos/noise, but otherwise isn't a difficult child. 7 yo has strong adhd symptoms and has trouble focusing on everything, and is highly impulsive. 5 yo is a very.difficult.child and usually resists anything and everything I want him to do all day, every day, on top of constantly whining, complaining, arguing, talking about how boring or unfair everything is, being unkind to siblings and toys, and generally making himself extremely unpleasant to be around. He does somewhat better if he gets a lot of attention...I think that, realistically, he would have to be an only child to receive enough attention to actually satisfy him (if that's even posssible). 3 yo tends to copy the 5 yo a good bit but is a more compliant child by nature and so not as difficult. They all bicker pretty much every waking minute, unless they're separated, which is hard to do when there's only one of me and none of the boys can be out of my eyesight without getting into trouble. (I don't expect them to be particularly difficult for the MH, with the possible exception of the 5 yo, since they'll be thrilled to have someone with nothing else to do but PLAY with them, and she won't generally have more than 2 at a time to watch. We'd be paying babysitter wages.)

 

My primary goals for having a mother's helper would be: 1. to lower my stress levl, 2. to give the 5 yo a lot of attention which would hopefully improve his attitude and behavior, 3. reduce my childcare workload enough that I can eventually get everyone into this routine, and 4. allow us to get school done this fall with less stress. We can probably only pay for the mother's helper for a few months so I need to be able to get the kids to a place where they're manageable enough for me to do it without help.

 

Any suggestions on how best to use this mother's helper?

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Whoa! I don't have many suggestions, but sympathy. Your post made me emotionally exhausted.

 

I'm not sure if a mother's helper can help with this, but I'd try very hard to work with the 5yr old. You mentioned ADHD for the older kids, do you think there's something going on with him or it's just his attitude/disposition?

 

If there's nothing wrong with him I'd try to find someone who not only plays with them, but can help enforcing a routine that hopefully in the long run will benefit everyone.

 

I have very little tolerance for what you described with your 5 yr old. Slowly but surely I'd try to nip it in the bud. With a baby coming the last thing you need is that type of behavior :(

 

Good luck!! Hope your pregnancy is going well!

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I shouldn't be in this post as my oldest is just 6.

But I think I'd plan to have the mother's helper focus on the two youngest. I'd try and decide on a routine that you want everyone all on when her time is done. And go over that with her. Then let her loose with the 2 youngest.

Good luck!

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I don't have s suggestion just yet( will need to think) but just wanted to say good on you. I have followed some of your other posts and think a mothers helper is a fabulous idea.

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I think it's great to reach out and get some help, but I have one concern with what you posted. I think it would be difficult to have the kids get used to someone coming in and giving them that attention, and then taking it away. Especially when their world is already going to be turned upside down with a new baby in September. They *may* feel a bit resentful if that time and attention is snatched from them at the same time that mom has a little person demanding her attention. Just a thought. Could you have her come 2 days a week but extend it a bit?

 

*I* personally would not introduce such a thing unless I could keep it consistent for at least a school year. Best of luck. 5 kiddos is crazy, but my youngest is 3 and I'm here to tell you I see the light! :-)

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1) For me, having someone I trust who can care for my kids is amazing and so helpful. We have food allergies, so a clear list of dos and donts helps for me. Knowing my house is safe (locks, etc) and the sitter honors those is essential too.

2) We actively seek out things our 5 year-old, intense, a lot like you describe yours child likes. Even so, he'll claim life is awful, but I know better. A bit of counsel to the MH about how to make him feel valued is helpful. Here, that means I would tell the MH that my 5 year old needs lots of hard hugs, lots of races, lots of chances to move his body with applause. What that looks like for you may vary.

3/4) We are choosing to use kindergarten/preschool this year to give me the time/energy to get ourselves into a better place for school/family life/my health. To that end, I will be using a half an hour every day to prep therapy work/etc. for my SN boys, and 45 minutes during those school hours every day to exercise. These are essential to help me heal/be able to think, plan, and be what my kids need. I'd encourage you (having not acuskky done this yet myself...), to grant yourself some time every day for you. You'll have a newborn, so that will be tune for you and baby, really, but maybe the MH can hold the baby sonetimes to give you alone time (I certainly did when I worked as an MH years ago).

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1. Be VERY clear on expectations. Put it in writing and try to make the MH feel comfortable enough to ask questions and get clarifications.

 

2. If you have certain things you feel strongly about, please discuss them with the MH but also put them in writing for her to read through/refer to later. A one time verbal review probably won't stick.

 

3. I agree with up thread, starting this then abruptly ending it again after just a few months may cause a backlash. I think it will be hard on all of you. Is there any way to extend that time, even if it means fewer days?

 

4. Are you under a physician's care? Have they been monitoring your blood work, etc? Take care of you. Focus on finding healthy things for you (and your baby).

 

5. I think this is a fabulous idea. I would plan on interviewing at least three people (if you can find three that fit your parameters) to see which one you feel most comfortable with.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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I wrote a really long reply last night but  for some strange reason I couldn't log in and it all vanished  :confused1:

 

I have given this considerable thought. 

 

 IF I was you what I would do is divide the time up into thirds

 

 one third physical activity - including things like nature walks, obstical course activities( spelling?), dancing, riding bikes ( or learning how to ride without training wheels), going to a park etc.

 

one third doing sharing/ taking turns games like board games, memory games  etc. that will help develop social skills

 

one third doing craft type activities that will develop fine motor skills - things that involve cutting, pasting painting, building etc

 

also some calm down activities like having a story read to them.

 

I base these ideas on what the Occupational Therapist and Speach Therapist  plus myself are doing with my foster twins to aid in behaviour modification and self regulation.

 

 

I would mix up the activities so the children are not sitting still for an hour, and I am imagining that the children might be rotating from being with the helper and being with you.

 

 

I don't think it will have a backlash when the helper is finished. I would present the whole thing to the kids as an exciting temporary helper that is a special thing because the new baby is coming - -- or something along those lines

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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I think this is so awesome. I am happy you are finding a solution that should work for you. It may be worth taking the time while you have the extra help to get firm diagnosis for the kids if that's possible. Only because it's such a time consuming process and while you have a baby sitter you have a really helpful opportunity. That way you will have more hope of getting a routine that will actually work if you know what you are actually dealing with.

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I have nothing to add, but wanted to say I'm SO glad you're getting some help.  I agree with the others that maybe less frequent visits would allow the time to be extended. 

 

Personally, I'd also be willing to cut just about any not-necessary-to-sustain-life expense so I could keep her as long as possible!

 

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Good for you!

 

I think I would have a general plan in mind and then flex where things aren't working.

 

I'd give her the 5 yo for 2 hours so you can complete core school with the olders. Then I'd take the 5 yo for some one on one time so we could love on each other. This may help more than you can imagine, having 1 on 1 with 2 adults for 3 hours per day.

 

Is there a way that you can use her to provide 1 on 1 with all the kids every day? Even if it's just for half an hour, I might try to schedule that to keep you in tune with the kiddoes. When it comes to difficult kids, attention is the first thing that they need, and not negative attention.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about having her clean or whatever, unless she could do a few quick easy things with the kids. Cleaning can be done in the evening with dad's assistance to keep and eye on kids. REally when I had a houseful of littles. it was a joy to clean alone while my dh watched kids. Bonus points if he took them outdoors and I got 30-45 minutes alone in the quiet.

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So we interviewed her yesterday and it seemed like she'd be a great fit and she seemed excited about it too...and then she texted me this morning and said she'd changed her mind about taking the job.  I'm just done.  Every single time I've tried to find help over the past few years I've come to the conclusion that there just isn't going to be any help.  It's just not worth even looking.  We'll just muddle along somehow.

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Could you gently ask what changed her mind? Because if there's a particular thing that you could shift that would help her be more comfortable with the arrangement, then you could still try it.

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So we interviewed her yesterday and it seemed like she'd be a great fit and she seemed excited about it too...and then she texted me this morning and said she'd changed her mind about taking the job.  I'm just done.  Every single time I've tried to find help over the past few years I've come to the conclusion that there just isn't going to be any help.  It's just not worth even looking.  We'll just muddle along somehow.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I know this is incredibly hard.  It takes time and effort and can be incredibly draining and demoralizing.  I agree with the below...

Could you gently ask what changed her mind? Because if there's a particular thing that you could shift that would help her be more comfortable with the arrangement, then you could still try it.

Yes, please, if you can find the energy and the strength, call her back or email her and be completely up front.  Ask her for feedback on what made her change her mind.  Let her know that you would be willing to change things around (depending on the things) if it would make the situation more tenable for her.  Or if not then at least find out WHY so you can possibly adjust before trying someone else.  I do think you should try for someone else, if you can.  I realize it is easier to just stop trying because the energy it would take to keep going seems overwhelming.  But on the far end of all of this you would be much better off if you don't give up. 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:   I am so sorry it is this hard to find someone and that she gave you hope then snatched it away again.  In some ways that can be far worse than not finding anyone in the first place.  

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Good for you!

 

I think I would have a general plan in mind and then flex where things aren't working.

 

I'd give her the 5 yo for 2 hours so you can complete core school with the olders. Then I'd take the 5 yo for some one on one time so we could love on each other. This may help more than you can imagine, having 1 on 1 with 2 adults for 3 hours per day.

 

 

Yes!

 

 

 

So we interviewed her yesterday and it seemed like she'd be a great fit and she seemed excited about it too...and then she texted me this morning and said she'd changed her mind about taking the job.  I'm just done.  Every single time I've tried to find help over the past few years I've come to the conclusion that there just isn't going to be any help.  It's just not worth even looking.  We'll just muddle along somehow.

 

Ugh.  :(  (((Hugs))) I have one really challenging kiddo ( ADHD/inattentive, high impulsivity, oppositional) and frankly I would be overwhelmed with two.  I really do think if you can make it work that finding help is better than muddling through.  

 

Any chance for a year of private school kindergarten, small class size?  For a year?  It's a thought.

 

Could you gently ask what changed her mind? Because if there's a particular thing that you could shift that would help her be more comfortable with the arrangement, then you could still try it.

 

Definitely.

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I'm so sorry this didn't work out!!!

 

Have you decided about putting the older kids in school in the fall? When does school start? 

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I asked her why she changed her mind and she said she decided it was too far of a drive (we live 6-7 miles out of town) for the money and she felt we were more laid back than she was and she wouldn't be able to enforce safety rules she felt comfortable with. We could always pay a little more, but either she would be frustrated or they would be frustrated if she was always trying to keep them from climbing everything, and all that energy would come out somewhere else. Like she gave an example of not letting her 5 yo nephew climb to the top of a playground dome jungle gym because she thought it was unsafe...that is nothing compared to some of the climbing my 5 & 7 yos do, and they are fine doing it.

 

I think it's going to be hard to find anybody because nobody wants to drive out of town. This has been an issue in the past with mother's helpers and trying to sell stuff on Craigslist too.

 

The older ones are not going to school. I have looked into K options for the 5 yo, but the private schools are not big enough to have buses and it would be a 40+ min round trip getting him to any of them and I don't want to do that.

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