30 answers

What Should I Be Expecting from My 12-Year-old Mother's Helper?

Hi Mamas! I have a fun, loving and active 2-year-old son. About 6-months ago, I hired a 12-year-old girl as a mother's helper. It was agreed that she would be happy to help with some light cleaning (i.e. folding laundry, windexing glass/mirrors) in addition to engaging my son, depending on the day. She is only responsible for 1 task at a time... be it cleaning or caring for my son. I could have hired someone older and more experienced (and paid more, of course), but this is a family in need so I hired this young lady on as a way to also help them out. I've been paying her $5/hr (which is what she asked for) with bonuses and meals/snacks. I do understand she is very young, however, I would love some feedback as to whether or not what I'm feeling and expecting of her are normal?

- She constantly scolds my son (he's a normal, active boy) and earlier today, she shrieked at him. I went to see if there was maybe an emergency. He'd knocked down a small pile of clothes. I did ask her to be firm with him but not to raise her voice again. I've never confronted her about anything like this and she did seem sorry and embarrassed.
- How long should I be expecting her to fold clothes before she's tired? She needs a break every 10-15 minutes, complaining of hand cramps, then goes back to what she'd been doing ONLY if I ask her if she'd mind finishing up. I'd like to think I'm a reasonable person but I don't know... even for a 12-year-old, this seems like very little stamina for a girl who claims to be "really mature" and capable. (Oh, I pull all the undergarments so she doesn't have to feel like she's anywhere in the vicinity of our cooties.) Also, if I'm not in her field of vision, she breaks every 5-minutes sometimes. Ha!
- She is always wanting to show me recipes from her home econ class, show me her dance moves, show me how well she plays guitar (she couldn't play anything... no, not a single chord, and actually broke a string trying to "tune" it for me. haha.). All of this is fine. She's 12, and young and excited that someone is paying attention to her. However, at the end of the day I am paying her and she is at work. I'd like to think a 12-year-old is capable of understanding I am paying her for her services and that we can chit chat once her work is completed. Yes? No? Am I a slave driver?

These 3 examples are a few of the things that have been bothering me. I would much rather pay someone double or triple and not feel like I'm pulling teeth to get some simple, easy work done. At the same time, I feel bad if I take this opportunity from her. I would love to train her but feel she's difficult to teach due to her "I'm so mature" attitude. Sorry if this sounds petty. I'm really wrestling with it and would love some feedback as to what a sensible mom should do? I have a cordial relationship with this girl's mom. If you feel I should voice my concern, should I kindly inform the mom? Not sure what to do. My son has a lot of fun with her when they play, but I can't get work done for more than 20-minutes at a time before she's in my space, wanting to "tune" my guitar or something of that sort. Aiyaiyai.

Am I a big jerk? Please help! :)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi all. Thank you so much for your thoughtful, honest responses. I do admit that perhaps I was expecting a little too much from this girl. I did some thinking and realize though I'd like to hire someone primarily to engage my son while I'm busy, I'd like to be able to comfortably ask them to help with light household work. I've started contacting a few gals from a local university after receiving recommendations from friends and they seem promising. I've continued to ask the 12-year-old to come hang out with my son as needed but less frequently, while making my expectations more clear with her (i.e. I'll come check on them once I'm done, etc).

Thanks again! :)

Featured Answers

Im sorry but you have hired a child to do a job she is not capable nor old enough to do in my opinon. I would look for someone who can do what needs done without needing babysat herself.

3 moms found this helpful

She's twelve, and clearly thinks of you more as the "mother" than she as the "helper." If you don't want to spend time with the girl, which is reasonable, then you should find someone else. But I think she thought she would be would be working with you as the mother's helper.

3 moms found this helpful

No, but the child (12 year old) needs you more then you need her

Tough decision.

Blessings....

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Um...she's 12. At best I think she's an extra pair of eyes on your son while YOU get some stuff done. Just my .02.

And the 5 bucks per hour you pay her probably isn't going to help her family into the next tax bracket.....

7 moms found this helpful

Hmm. Kinda. A little bit.
I've hired a mother's helper just a couple times. The reason was that she was such a smart, sweet girl and SO gentle and patient with my little guy. Like REALLY patient, and he liked her. I commented about it at the playground, and she said her mom said she'd make a great babysitter when she was a couple years older (she's 11). I thought that was sweet. She had a lot of intelligent questions about our travels, and people, and I thought she was a thoughtful girl. SO, I approached her mom first and asked about a mother's helper "job" for a week while I was unpacking (we'd just recently moved into the neighborhood).
For an 11 year old girl, I set the living room and playroom up first, and just asked her to play with the boys and keep them entertained, while I was in the kitchen unpacking and cooking. Then when I moved upstairs, they did too. They played in one of the boys' rooms while I was in the other bedrooms unpacking. It was for 2 hours maximum, and we all had snack together and she got to see some of the stuff we've collected from our travels. Since then, she's come over a few times for a couple hours to play with the boys while I clean toilets or clean chicken or whatever. Things I need to do but don't want to do with little children underfoot. That's really all. Just play with the kids and keep them happy and safe so I can get some things done. I'd feel really weird about asking someone's child that age to clean. Cheaper than a babysitter, but helpful in a very basic sitting kind of way. (But I change the diapers, and I am there if anything happens; I would not leave her with the kids, since she's a kid herself).

4 moms found this helpful

She's a kid.
Not a 'worker' nor employee.

She is being a kid.
Per her capacity.

But no, she is not mature.
She is not ready, for the expectations you have.

3 moms found this helpful

She's twelve, and clearly thinks of you more as the "mother" than she as the "helper." If you don't want to spend time with the girl, which is reasonable, then you should find someone else. But I think she thought she would be would be working with you as the mother's helper.

3 moms found this helpful

Im sorry but you have hired a child to do a job she is not capable nor old enough to do in my opinon. I would look for someone who can do what needs done without needing babysat herself.

3 moms found this helpful

Not a jerk, but maybe a little unrealistic. It sounds like she doesn't get much attention at home and is seeking approval from you.

My understanding of a mother's helper (and what I expect when I 'hire' my cousins for this) is to *help* the mother by playing/distracting the children while MOM does the cleaning/chores she can't get done while watching the kids.

What I would do is "re-tune" (har har) your expectations to ONLY include playing with your son while YOU do what you need to do. That, or fire her and get someone older and more capable of filling the role you want filled.

2 moms found this helpful

No, but the child (12 year old) needs you more then you need her

Tough decision.

Blessings....

2 moms found this helpful

You're not a big jerk, and she's not "really mature and capable".

You need to sit down with her and tell you that you have a problem with her and that you cannot continue to have her working for you if she cannot fix the problem. Tell her that she cannot scold your son. She has to talk sweetly to him. And she cannot get hand cramps from folding clothes - she is a big girl now.

You also have to tell her that her working for you is not about showing you how she can do fun things like dance, home ec, tuning the guitar. You are working and she is supposed to be working too. If she cannot do what you ask, that you have to hire someone else.

You need to do this. She has to learn that you aren't HER babysitter. Really and truly.

D.

2 moms found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.