A question about additional domestic help.

(10 Posts)
CrispyFB Tue 20-Aug-13 17:15:03

We have three DC, 6, 4 and 2, and (if all goes well) expecting #4 in March. We always wanted four close together, and spent a year TTC this one so hardly unexpected!

DH works long hours, and I am a SAHM since we had DC2.

I suffer badly in pregnancy - very bad nausea, heartburn and fatigue (plus spotting and cramps) for the first trimester, then early onset SPD from the start of the second trimester which leaves me in a wheelchair by the third trimester and I will need an ELCS. So as you might expect, the cleaning and tidying I'd normally do is falling by the wayside with no sign of improvement for nearly a year if all goes to plan!

DH is too exhausted to tidy much when he gets in from work but he makes the odd token gesture every now and again. The children will sometimes pick up their toys but it's a battle of wills, one I am usually too exhausted these days to enforce. Getting through the day right now with all the children intact is considered a "win". I am swamped. And miserable living in a pigsty.

We have no family within a few hundred miles who could help (and they're infirm pretty much too) so we're in this on our own. I also feel crap asking for help from people because we chose to have this many children and I feel that pretty much it serves me right.

The tidiness of the house is rapidly going downhill - funnily enough three young DC seem to have no concept of keeping things tidy despite our best efforts. We live in private rented (long story) so we need to keep the place in a decent condition in case of inspections. DH does earn a reasonable amount, so we could possibly get a cleaner for the next year.

But a cleaner just cleans, right? Is there such a thing as a cleaner that tidies as well? Picks up the toys, clothes, and rubbish and discarded orange peel and apple cores(!), unloads/loads the dishwasher, puts the washing on, sorts the washing out (no ironing needed!), does all the stuff I am supposed to be doing but physically can't now? Not every day, but once or twice a week for a few hours would probably be enough. DH might be more inspired to help if there were only little tasks left to do each day.. not the behemoth he is faced with when he gets home these days, so he just doesn't bother. I don't blame him either.

Any ideas? If such a person does exist, would they be called something besides a cleaner, and where is a good place to find somebody trustworthy?

Thank you!!

Nettee Tue 20-Aug-13 17:28:18

I think they would be called a mother's help and would have ambitions to become a nanny one day. They would probably be paid less than a cleaner but might want more hours. Advertise on gumtree and see what happens

MrsZebra Tue 20-Aug-13 20:32:52

I had 4 under 3 at one point. I found a brilliant lady who came in twice a week for a total of 5 hours (weekly). She would tidy/clean, stack dishwasher, ironing etc. She would also watch the baby/ toddlers if I needed a shower but not a nanny etc
I found her through a local cleaning agency but they're called housekeepers as they did more than cleaning. With agency fee, it was ) £10ph but I'm in the SE.
Good luck, it gets easier & more fun quickly.

joanofarchitrave Tue 20-Aug-13 20:41:56

Advertise for exactly what you are looking for - maybe try Gumtree/local (i.e. www.gumtree.com/yourtownname).

CrispyFB Wed 21-Aug-13 10:31:50

Thank you all! I'm a bit wary about Gumtree as I've not used it before and I'm not sure how trustworthy the people I would get on there might be? Especially as I know I am going to feel extremely awkward with somebody tidying up my mess in front of me even if I'm paying (I totally feel like a failure) so would much prefer to often be out whilst they're here, so trustworthyness is extremely important.

I don't so much need help with the children (well, not at this stage) so I'd feel I'd be misleading somebody who wanted to be a nanny!

MrsZebra - That sounds like what I am looking for! I'm in the SE too, Hertfordshire, so it's good to know the likely cost.

ModelVillage Wed 21-Aug-13 19:26:47

You are looking for a nanny/housekeeper. I also second gumtree. It would be easiest to find help for a full time job... Part time or evening and mornings only are harder to find...

This is the way I do it: ad on gumtree, then hopefully you'll get a few dozen replies. Then you phone the ones you like best and in that convo you'll know if you kind of get along and the nanny/housekeeper will tell you if she likes your pay/hours/conditions.

Out of those phone conversations you meet maybe up to 20 in a local coffeeshop and that's it. We live quite centrally in London so maybe you might get a few less replies not sure. The ones you really like you can invite to your house for an hour and see how they blend in or not and if they like it.. You could even get the to test work and pay of course.

Don't feel like a failure... I don't understand that? I mean in the end you need to hire someone who you will feel comfortable around. Don't plan on being out, that sounds hassle!

Anyway, congrats and good luck! Great idea to get some help in..

CrispyFB Fri 23-Aug-13 11:27:15

Thank you for your reply!

I'm not sure we could afford a fulltime nanny/housekeeper - DH earns well, but not enough for that and it would be an extravagance! Also it sounds exhausting meeting 20 people in a coffee shop at the best of times, let alone right now when I'm in survival mode.. and what would I do with the children when I met them? It's hard to have important conversations with them being, well, children the whole time!

I was really hoping I could find some sort of agency where I could get several hours a week with references etc already checked and so on!

I would agree with you if I was looking for fulltime help as it would be important to make sure you get on with them, but at this point I'm definitely just looking for something a bit less. Unless there is no middle ground for the sort of help I need, which would be annoying.

Bonsoir Fri 23-Aug-13 11:30:52

A part time housekeeper is what you need.

LongStory Sat 21-Sep-13 22:31:31

I've had some kind of domestic help throughout: more or less depending on ages of kids and whether I was on mat leave. I've never gone through an agency and have advertised on gumtree + the old staple of the local newsagent window. I always ask for two phone numbers I can call to get character references. Never had a problem - found lovely people with minimum hassle and much better rates of pay than the agencies.

A couple of years ago when #s 4 & 5 turned up, it worked well for D* if I paid her just national minimum wage for 16 hours and she could then claim working tax credits, so we spun her hours out a bit and she cooked us a wonderful tea a few days a week. Bliss!

HystericalParoxysm Sat 28-Sep-13 19:53:16

My cleaner does all this, and more. Tidies, does laundry, dishwasher, changes beds etc, even ties up the DDs' hair as it's not my forte grin am I just lucky then?

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