When I was little, a sweet girl from my church named Kim often came over to help my mom. She would play with my brother and me and help my mom around the house. She did this for several years. I think she was around ten years old when she started, but as she grew older, my mom gave her more responsibility and she quickly became my favorite babysitter! I vividly remember begging my Mom to ask her to babysit us because I loved her so much. It made me feel so special to have a teenager take interest in me and she was just so much fun! We are still friends to this day and enjoy keeping up with each other through Facebook.
When I gave birth to my own daughter many years later, my Mom started encouraging me to find someone to come over and help me. But I was too prideful and didn't want to inconvenience anyone. And I had my own little routine going on at home and wasn't eager to mess it up.
Thankfully, after my second daughter was born, a kind lady at church came up to me and said that her daughter (12 years old) really wanted to get some experience with younger children and she wondered if Lindsay could come play with my girls every other week. By this time, I was sleep deprived and gratefully accepted her offer. I had no idea how much I would enjoy getting to know this young lady!
Lindsay has been coming over to my house every other Monday for about a year and a half now and oh, how I look forward to those Mondays! Here are some reasons:
1. I get so much done -- My girls are totally enamored with Lindsay and I can actually cross things off my to-do list without being interrupted every other minute with questions or arguing or "helping" that prolongs the chore. (Don't get me wrong; I LOVE to do things with my girls and thoroughly enjoy teaching them how to be homemakers, but it sure is nice to get a break twice a month to accomplish things in record time :) I'm always available in case they need me, but she pretty much entertains them all by herself. A lot of times, I do my baking or meat-seasoning/cooking for the month when she is here because I know that I will actually have time to focus on what I am doing without interruption.
2. I enjoy her company -- I stay at home with my little ones most of the week and I really enjoy chatting with another girl. She may be young, but is very perceptive and I truly enjoy our conversations. Sometimes we just chat about my girls or upcoming activities at church, but we often also have insightful conversations about things like relationships, nutrition, future plans, etc.
3. She makes my girls feel special -- They talk about her all week long, hope that she will be at every church activity, and proudly show off the crafts they make with her.
4. She is a great role model for my girls -- Karis watches every one of the youth very closely at church; she is often telling me things that they did or said throughout the week. She looks up to all of them, but especially to Lindsay, and I am grateful that Lindsay is a godly example for her to follow.
5. My girls enjoy different learning techniques and educational toys -- Lindsay has compiled a bag full of some special toys -- books, puzzles, games, etc, that she always brings and they really look forward to doing them with her. She often brings a special snack or craft for the girls to enjoy also, which they absolutely love!
6. She often helps out at church as well -- Our church is small and the kids stay in the service with us. I love having my girls with us, but sometimes (especially when my husband is leading the teaching time and I'm trying to rock my baby to sleep), they can be quite a handful. Since Lindsay has such a great relationship with my girls, she notices when they get restless and will often come sit with them and color, do stickers, etc, so that Mark and I can focus on the teaching. Such a blessing!
7. Not only is she helping me and my girls, but I have the opportunity to mentor her as well -- After studying Titus 2:3-5, I am convinced that it is my duty (and joy!) to encourage younger girls to be godly wives and mothers. This is an easy and fun way to do that. Over the past year and a half, I have seen Lindsay grow in confidence and ability in taking care of my girls and I am so excited for her.
What about you? Have you been blessed with a special "mother's helper" or even been one yourself? If you have little children, I would greatly encourage you to look around your church and find one of the young girls who takes interest in your kids and invite her into your lives. You will both be blessed by the experience! And if you have older girls, ask them if they would like to get more experience with children by helping a Mama a few times a month. They will learn a lot and be a blessing at the same time!