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10 Essential Tasks a Household Assistant Can Help You With

Show me a parent who isn’t overwhelmed with the never-ending list of household chores and responsibilities in today’s world. Anyone?

Most of us are living in the modern age but according to research, even in the most equitable partnerships domestic tasks and childcare fall disproportionately on the Mother. This likely means they feel underwater most of the time, and in some form or another could use some help.

We are a nanny agency placing primarily full-time teacher-grade childcare professionals in private homes. However, we often see a request for a household assistant because well, there is a huge need. Often these requests come from families whose children have outgrown the nanny, or single parents who struggle to manage it all on their own. For families with kids who have outgrown the need for a full-time nanny, the family finds there is still a sizable demand for support. Even with kids away at school all day there is so much left to be done. We see a lot of household manager or household assistant requests from single parents (both moms and dads) who need a sort of “second parent” to step in because one person simply cannot do it all. Heck, most of the time even two can’t. Especially if they are outnumbered by the kids!

It is certainly true that a household manager or family assistant is a luxury service. There are ways to make it more affordable (which we will discuss later in this post). This article can help you understand how to set expectations for this role that will lead to a successful outcome. That means the job applicant will know what to expect when they apply for and accept your opening, and they will be with you for the long haul.

mom holding bags of groceries

Let’s start with a definition. A household assistant (sometimes referred to as a family assistant or household manager) is an employee to whom you can outsource specific tasks that will buy you back valuable time. Time that can be spent on other areas of your life, such as family time or self-care.

In our experience, these are the top ten essential tasks a household assistant may be willing to take on. However, be warned that if you think you can find one person to “do it all” the job may be unsustainable. A clear understanding of expectations and fair compensation will go a long way in achieving the goal of keeping this person on board long-term. One sensitive area of discussion is hiring a nanny to care for the children, and loading them up with household tasks. “Thatโ€™s a house manager position with childcare. You couldnโ€™t pay me enough to take on all that plus the full mental load of another household,” commented one job seeker after reviewing a family’s requirements. So let’s prepare by understanding first what is reasonable to ask of a household assistant.

woman running errands

1. Running Errands

One of the primary tasks a household assistant can take off your plate is running errands. The most common errands that come to mind will be groceries and dry cleaning, perhaps also some package drop off and pickup. But have you thought of having someone take the cars to be cleaned and filled with gas, including waiting around while they are serviced? How about taking the pets to the groomers or even the vet? A household assistant is spending hours each week running the errands that consume you in your off hours. (If the employee is driving their car while working for you, be sure you understand vicarious liability).

2. Organizing and Decluttering

Whether it’s tackling a messy closet, reorganizing your kitchen cabinets, or creating a system for your paperwork, a household assistant can transform your space into a more functional environment. They will begin by taking inventory of spaces that need organization, and what is needed in terms of tools to do the job. (Often this means a trip to a store that specializes in storage (after taking measurements, of course). A separate email can be created for parents and the assistant to access, and they can also help to conduct communication, which can be a huge time suck for anyone, whether they have a household to run or not.

young man organizing pantry

3. Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

You don’t have to be a chef to get a family menu organized these days. Many affordable options for home DIY meal delivery can be set up by your assistant. It would then require 20 minutes or so of their time prepping the meals in advance. If you are seeking a more customized approach to meal planning, you may luck out and find someone who likes to cook or bake. They can create customized meal plans based on your dietary preferences and restrictions, do your grocery shopping, and even prepare the meals. Keep in mind that the pay grade goes up significantly when an employee is doing more than unboxing meal prep kits and putting the time in to get them to the table. Someone who is doing full-on meal planning and prep from scratch will require about 10 to 20 dedicated hours per week depending on your family’s individual needs.

4. Managing Appointments and Schedules

Keeping track of appointments, meetings, and family schedules can be a daunting task. A household assistant can take on this responsibility and ensure that everyone’s schedules are well-coordinated. They can manage appointments, set reminders, and do all the errands related to organizing and putting on special events and holidays.

smart phone with calendar

5. Home Maintenance and Repairs

From changing light bulbs to coordinating repairs with contractors, a household assistant may be able to help, within reason. They can research and get bids on specialty tasks that need doing around the home. They can potentially handle minor repairs, and oversee larger home improvement projects on their own, based on their previous experience and comfort level. It’s very important to be clear about what this means to you when creating a job description, as this is an area where some household managers and assistants can get in over their heads. Household repairs are typically specialized, so keep that in mind.

6. Pet Care

If you have fur kids at home, a household assistant often looks forward to caring for them in the absence of allergies or the needs of any present human children. They have been known to take dogs for walks, schedule and accompany them to vet appointments, visit the pet store for feed and needs, and ensure they are cared for when you’re away. You heard right, A household assistant can be a trusted companion for your pets, giving you peace of mind knowing they’re in good hands when you are out of town.

man walking dog in city

7. Specialty Shopping

Finding a gift for someone special can be time-consuming. A household assistant can take on the task of cataloging special dates and keeping notes about what occasion warrants a gift and when. They can research and recommend ideas, do related shopping (be it online or in person), and assist with returns or exchanges.

8. Household Finances and Budgeting

Managing household finances and budgeting can be time-consuming and stressful. A household assistant can help you stay on top of your finances by managing bill payments, tracking expenses, and creating budgets. They can also assist with financial organization, such as organizing receipts and important documents, which helps when tax time rolls around. They may know their way around spreadsheets and be able to track and monitor expenses which will, in the long run, save you money.

kids in car

9. Childcare and School Support

A household assistant typically is employed when the kids are old enough to be in school and somewhat independent, but still have high needs around supervision and carpooling. A household assistant can provide some childcare support, which often includes driving to and from activities. They can also assist with school-related tasks, such as coordinating pickups and drop-offs, helping with homework, and organizing details around school events.

10. Event Planning

Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or planning a special event, a household assistant typically enjoys this role quite a bit. This is where their skills get to shine. They can take care of conceptualizing and planning an event, including researching venues, coordinating with vendors, managing invitations, and overseeing the day of.

In conclusion, a household assistant can be a lifesaver when it comes to managing various tasks and responsibilities. From running errands and organizing your space to handling meal planning and some childcare for school-age kids, they can take care of the essential tasks that often overwhelm us. Since this is most often not a full-time job for families, a great way to reduce costs is to share a family assistant with another family (i.e. 20 hours per week for each family). We have seen this work with great success among our clients!

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