Need to find some help at home with an infant.
November 2, 2012 11:19 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to find help for baby watching / around the house (for a couple of hours) for a mom with a infant?

I have a 4 month - mom is at home with him all day. She is a bit overwhelmed and can't find much time to prepare food and eat / take a shower, essentially do anything either unattended or longer than 5-10 minutes.

So I am looking for someone to help out my wife for a few hours (maybe cut up some fruit/watch the baby for a short period of time), not necessarily a nanny or babysitter. A high school student would be fine (even recommended by my pediatrican). I am new to my area and don't know anyone with older kids.

Any ideas on where to find someone? Preferably where I could find or post online?

I've tried checking craigslist but I don't need child care.
posted by wongcorgi to Human Relations (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Your local high school might have a job posting board or a staff member who helps students find afterschool jobs. You can call them and see what they recommend.
posted by decathecting at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2012

Alternatively, if you're a member of a religious community of any kind, or the YMCA, or any sort of community group, see if they have a program for teens or some sort of outreach office you could put out the word through. In fact, if they have a nursery there, it's possible that they have people who volunteer there and would like some paid hours. And those folks will have childcare experience and likely have been background checked and CPR certified, which might be even better.
posted by decathecting at 11:22 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

You or your wife could ask for tips from other parents and caregivers in the local playground. is more weighted towards full-on nannies and babysitters, but you could probably find someone to do what you're looking for there.

Since this is mothers-helper situation, i.e. the person won't be alone with the kids, you might also be able to get a local college student through Task Rabbit.
posted by alms at 11:23 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe you could find something on
posted by sparklemotion at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Call your local high school, or even a senior center if there's one in your area. Perhaps a nice older person would love to come play with your baby while your wife get's some well deserved "alone time".

Here's some information on the Foster Grandparent Program.

Another option is to do a Co-Op with another parent, perhaps someone from your old Lamaze group.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:25 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you know people with younger kids, ask them who they have as babysitters, and ask them if they know any responsible older kids. Ask at the local high school and nearby churches. Find a local Cadette/Senior/Ambassador age Girl Scout troop and ask there. Don't be afraid to ask boys, too!

This is actually how my brother got started babysitting. I was an in-high-demand babysitter all throughout middle and high school, and when I was booked (and my younger brother was old enough), I started suggesting that they let him come over and play with the kids for a while as a parent helper to see how he fit in with them. And then once I left for college, he went and sat for them as the primary sitter. Long story short: just start asking people!
posted by phunniemee at 11:25 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Find out who offers babysitting classes locally (Red Cross, YMCA, local parks-n-rec department, or perhaps even all of the above) and ask them about the best way to post or circulate your opening. Also, if there is an active neighborhood e-mail list or web forum, it's a great place for these sorts of questions (and a good resource to know about in general).
posted by drlith at 11:35 AM on November 2, 2012

Teens who work or volunteer at a church nursery might be good candidates. If you don't go to a church, maybe someone you know (like a co-worker) does.

I've always heard this type of job described as a "mother's helper."
posted by Area Man at 11:39 AM on November 2, 2012

Seconding the idea of checking YMCA, Parks&Rec, etc for babysitting classes - and thus babysitting class graduates.

Also, when I was at home with our first, and feeling overwhelmed (yup, 4 months was about that time), I found solace and comfort in getting out of the house to meet up with other moms. Mothers & More was a great help to me. Other mothers are also a great resource for finding a little extra help (and in my experience, they're happy to swap time, too.)
posted by agentmitten at 11:43 AM on November 2, 2012

Just want to say you're doing a great thing by figuring out how to get your wife & baby another pair of hands. It's a very recent Western invention that new mothers with babies are so isolated at home. Infants and toddlers are a lot of work - and she needs to keep up her own strength, which means sleep and eating well. You're being a great partner by figuring out how to get someone else to help out for a few hours -- a few hours a day or every other day has been a godsend for many friends in similar positions.

If you don't already have a housekeeper, consider getting one 2x a month for awhile - even if nobody does any cleaning between that, the house will remain relatively clean and tidy. Housekeepers will often do a load of laundry or two while they're home, and change the sheets on the bed. It's a worthwhile expense for the first year, if you can swing it.

See if your city or neighborhood has a mother or parenting listserv. That's frequently a good source of info on everything from babysitters to second hand furniture to preschools, etc.
posted by barnone at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Where are you in Seattle?
Madrona Moms
NE Seattle Moms
Green Lake Moms
Ballard Moms
Seattle Moms
Moms meetup groups
A Seattle mom friend said PEPS is great.
posted by barnone at 12:06 PM on November 2, 2012

We just found a college student for this type of help through (although in our case we wanted someone to help in the evening when both of us are at home and we need to get some chores done). We looked for people who say in their profiles that they're willing to do light housework/cooking/laundry as well as babysitting.
posted by medusa at 12:21 PM on November 2, 2012

We needed someone like this and put an add out for a "mother's helper" on some local listservs. I think that's the correct term for what you are looking for. We found a really nice student with a flexible schedule to help out.
posted by JuliaKM at 12:38 PM on November 2, 2012

Does your neighborhood or town have a moms/parents listserv? That is how I found my babysitter. I don't know why you don't want to go the full-on babysitter route - why not just hire a sitter, and then let your wife decide how to use the time? Better to hire someone good enough to trust with the baby and have them to household tasks too.

Also - try babywearing! Stick the baby in a Bjorn or Ergo and your wife will have her hands free to make lunch or do a load of laundry.

And I have no idea what kind of baby you have, but at 4 months many babies can spend some time independently in a bouncy chair or swing, giving mom 15 mins to shower or whatever. They should also be starting to take regular naps. I think that maybe if your wife gets some good, professional childcare to relieve her a bit, she will have energy and patience to work on these skills!

Lastly ... How is her sleep? It is much harder to cope with a baby during the day if you get no sleep. If there is any way to get her a little more sleep by taking over a night feeding for her, do that.
posted by yarly at 1:06 PM on November 2, 2012

I posted on local college career boards and got tons of responses.
posted by snickerdoodle at 1:07 PM on November 2, 2012

Seconding the local parent groups.

I have found a teenage babysitter on my neighborhood page from which may or may not be active in Seattle but if it is it's a great way to plug in to your neighborhood. She's taken a babysitting certificate thing through the Girl Scouts, and she'd been praised by a few of my neighbors, and she's been great.
posted by ambrosia at 2:09 PM on November 2, 2012

Calling the secretary at a local college with an early childhood program, an education major, or a nursing major will get you great responses.

Also, just let everyone you work with or know socially know that you're looking for a teenager to mothers helper or babysit. SOMEONE has a reliable teenaged next door neighbor who's ready to start babysitting!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:09 PM on November 2, 2012

Mother's helper is what you are looking for. How about asking the local girl scout troop?
posted by molasses at 2:29 PM on November 2, 2012

When I was looking for a mother's helper ages ago I was in contact with a local shelter for teens. These were girls who were in school during the day and in the shelter at night, and who needed job training. I would have been there when they were in my house -- I just needed someone to play with my kids while I worked in another room -- and they would have been screened by the organization. Our schedules didn't match up so I didn't pursue it, but I thought it was an interesting idea.

I also posted an ad on Metafilter Jobs. Didn't work for me, but maybe more people read it now.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:57 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can heartily second PEPS. It's a great way to get involved with other parents and set up reciprocal relationships (so, not exactly what you're asking about, but it might do the job).

However, since your child is already four months old, you'd have to act immediately to get in a group, and you might not be able to find one. Typically the groups start with kids who are all 3-4 months old.
posted by gurple at 4:11 PM on November 2, 2012

Also, being in a PEPS group would take time away from your evenings, a couple hours once a week. I found the experience hugely valuable, and I'm very glad we did it, mostly because of the relationships that came out of it. But it is an investment of time.
posted by gurple at 4:12 PM on November 2, 2012

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