Raising kids is a tough job, and all of us need a little help sometimes. Other than chocolate and new shoes! The question is, where do you find help? Start by thinking about what kind of help you need, and that ought to point you in the right direction.
Some parents find domestic help makes a huge difference to their parenting. Having someone who can take care of all the chores that have to be done, can free us up to spend more and better time with our littlies. Instead of being side tracked by lunch boxes, folding laundry and loading the dishwasher, consider getting someone to do it for you. And have cuddle time instead.
A professional housekeeper would be fabulous, and there are agencies which can provide whatever you’re looking for. For most of us however, a uni student, a neighbour’s daughter or a nice retired lady with time on her hands will suffice. And will certainly be cheaper. Try putting an advert in your local high schools, uni newsletters or community houses. Ask friends and family for recommendations, use Facebook, or have a look on Gumtree. Give examples of the jobs you’d like them to do, so there is no confusion about their role.
Consider hiring a cleaner for a few hours a week, outsourcing your ironing, or getting someone to stock your fridge and freezer with nutritious home cooked meals.
If it’s help with the littlies you’re after, then again, there are agencies which can provide everything from night nursing for very little ones, to after school care, holiday help or part and full time live-in nannies. Otherwise, there are au pair- finding websites that charge only a small fee, Facebook groups of nannies and au pairs, and more general search sites where you can choose what you’re looking for, or post your own adverts.
Try contacting local childcare centres, universities providing early childhood studies, nursing or teaching courses, and ask them to put a note on their noticeboard or in their newsletter. Do the same at local high schools or youth or sports centres. Ask friends, other mums at school or mothers’ group, or ask that nice American girl in the park, if she’d like some more hours.
Finding help’s the easy bit. The hard bit is finding the right help for you and your family.
But once you’ve found someone you trust, someone who’s great with the littlies, and someone who does what you want them to do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Abi Gold is a family therapist, counsellor, family mediator and writer.
And she’s a mum of four, so she knows a thing or two about juggling! Abi specialises in helping busy mums and dads to meet the challenges of raising their families, and is an expert in maternal mental health and family relationships