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Mother’s Helpers and Nannies: What’s the Difference?

Mother Comes Home to Mess

Need an extra set of hands? Not sure the difference between a nanny and a mother’s helper, or which position would best fit your family’s needs? Don’t worry. We can help!

What is a mother’s helper?

A mother’s helper is an individual who helps out a stay-at-home parent when they have more on their plate than they can handle, but do not necessarily need a nanny. Mother’s helpers are often recently out of school or enrolled in college. These jobs are typically part-time and well-suited for students who have less experience but are interested in pursuing childcare full-time.

What do mother’s helpers typically do?

The name says it all; a mother’s helper assists the mother (or other stay-at-home parent) with whatever she happens to need. Common mother’s helpers’ duties include babysitting stints, light cleaning and housekeeping, shopping, errands, cooking or meal prep, and chauffeuring the kids wherever they need to go. They’re by no means limited to that, though!

A mother’s helper might be there to watch the kids while the mom runs out to pick up something at the grocery store. She could be there to drive the kids to soccer practice and afterward throw their sweaty, grass-stained clothes in the wash. Some moms will hire mother’s helpers when they have multiple kids, in order to maximize one-on-one time with each child; others want them primarily to take care of the errands and daily responsibilities they don’t have time to attend to themselves.

How is a mother’s helper different from a nanny?

The biggest difference between a nanny and a mother’s helper is a nanny will have sole-charge responsibility for the children in her care while the parents are out of the home or otherwise engaged. A mother’s helper will work to assist a stay-at-home parent and typically remains under the parent’s close supervision.

One way to think about the difference is in terms of focus. A nanny focuses primarily on the children’s needs; a mother’s helper focuses on the mother’s.

When might a mother’s helper be more appropriate than a nanny?

Oftentimes, stay-at-home parents who need extra help either request mother’s helpers or part-time nannies. If you’re in this situation, consider your needs: Do you need someone to look after the children, or do you need someone to take on the household tasks that you’re unable to complete while you’re watching the children? Do you need someone to help you maintain your sanity as a parent?

If you need a person to support you and the household more than the children, you are probably looking for a mother’s helper. If you need someone to focus on and care for the children, you are probably looking for a nanny.

How can I find a mother’s helper?

There are many different routes you can take when looking for a mother’s helper, but the safest way to find a reliable, trustworthy caregiver is to use a reputable nanny agency. At the Nanny Authority, we work with part-time and full-time nannies, governesses, mother’s helpers, summer nannies, travel nannies, and more! Our trained specialists will be able to help you determine exactly the best position for your family as well as connect you with a variety of qualified and experienced childcare professionals. Contact us today to find out more about our service!