Using A Mother's Helper
While You Work

Being a work-at-home mom requires balance, hard work, determination--and maybe even an extra hand in the form of a mother's helper! In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how every stay-at-home working mom could benefit from back-up child up care, a few hours a week.

About Working Mom 3.0

Mother's helper playing with toddler

When you're a stay-at-home working mom, success can be a double-edge sword. You toil for months, years even, to build a flexible career that allows you to be a working mother with a work and family balance. I have been lucky enough to make the morning hours before my child wakes, and his afternoon nap, as my "office hours." But I know those days are slipping away. Once the kids get older, naps get shorter, activities grow and, perhaps,  a brand-new baby is added to the mix -- so it may be necessary to bring in a child-care provider to help out a few hours a day, while you work from home.

Here are a few things to consider

1Find the right person for the job

You sought a non-traditional career for a reason, so it's important to define your expectations of a mother's helper to continue the work-life balance you want. If you plan to work from a home office while the mother's helper is "on duty," make that clear during the interview process. Cynthia Reinacher, founder of The Columbus Nanny Company recommends that you seek a sitter who is "resourceful, creative and will keep the children engaged. This way, they will want to spend time interacting with the nanny instead of trying to get to Mommy." She also suggests giving the mother's helper a list of your children's interests and favorite games, as well as any supplies needed for art projects and crafts.

2Take off your mommy hat

Responding to pleas for "Mommy" while your mother's helper is on duty won't help anyone. Mary Schwartz of SitterCity recommends hiring a mother's helper whose background specifically matches your brood's needs, so that you are confident enough to step away from "mommy world" for a couple of hours.

3Identify the time-wasters

If you are comfortable having your mother's helper shuttle the kids to and from school or to after-school activities while you work, it can save you a lot of time. Schwartz says to make certain the care provider has a valid driver's license, car insurance, and a safe vehicle during the interview -- and know that you should pay for the gas they use on the trips. If the mother's helper will use your car, add additional driver coverage to your insurance policy.

Reinacher also suggests having the mother's helper pitch in on chores like folding the children's laundry or light dinner prep if the kids are napping during his or her shift. Make sure to address this issue openly during the interview. Never assume that your care provider will take on these tasks -- and be prepared to pay more for a chlld care provider who does.

About Working Mom 3.0

The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one.

Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.

This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms.

More tips for working moms

Working Mom 3.0: Proving yourself
Working Mom 3.0: Little ideas that can
Working Mom 3.0: Lead by example

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Comments

Comments on "Working Mom 3.0: Child care and a flexible career"

Veronica March 16, 2013 | 3:50 PM

I finally caved and hired a nanny one day per week so I can get extra work done. I really do get ahead having a whole day to myself, and can focus on the kids more when I'm with them.

Nicole January 21, 2013 | 12:40 PM

I'm considering hiring some help now that I'm working almost full time from home with little ones. It's doable, but it's stressful, and I don't really have time to clean or cook which I hate.

Shannon August 15, 2012 | 9:01 AM

I would absolutely love to be able to have a little extra help every now and then. Even for simple things, like going to the grocery store or bank! Unfortunately, I think a lot of people can't afford the extra help they would like, so I just try and make sure I have some alone time each evening and morning when the kids are still sleeping.

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