The title of this post feels so ostentatious somehow. But, truthfully, I could not live my life without the help we pay for.
(1) We have a cleaning service that comes every other week. The do deep cleaning, sweep, mop, dust, clean the kitchen, toilet, and shower. They don't do dishes. If I unintentionally leave anything dirty in the sink, they will intentionally ignore it. The only straightening they do around the house is that they make Star's bed and line up all her little stuffed animals. They seem to love that.
(2) My husband and/or I cook dinner only a few nights a week. The other nights, we use SpoonRocket, OneLessThing, or Munchery. I enjoy cooking - I really do - but with the time pressure of getting it on the table at a certain time so we can all eat as a family and let our daughter get to bed by 7pm, cooking from scratch is not going to happen most days of the week.
(3) We pay people to finish getting Star ready in the morning and walk her to school 4 days a week. Generally I have two people doing this job - each of them takes 2 days a week. Having two people in this role gives me security; if one of them is busy or sick (or quits!), then the other one can hopefully step up a bit. The people in this position gets to our house at 7:30 in the morning. When they drop her off at school, the helper signs her in, and sends us a text (ideally with a picture) saying that everything went fine. This is probably the most crucial job for our family right now. Star's school starts at 8:30am, and not a minute earlier. So, if I take her to school, I generally am not "free" until 8:45 after I check her in, say hi to her teachers and the other parents. Then, I wait for the bus, then BART and get to work by 10am. That's too late. I like my workday to start by 8:30am, so I can end the day on the earlier side and spend evening time with my family. We are currently interviewing for this position. We loved 1 of our morning people last semester and she was going to stay with us this semester, but she changed her school schedule at the last minute and now we're scrambling to get these roles filled again.
(4) Nannies and Babysitters. I rarely pay for a babysitter. We are really lucky because my parents live close by and they willingly spend a lot of time with Star, and we are in a babysitting coop. But, I'll happily pay for a babysitter if neither of those usual options are available. When I do hire someone, I'll use one of our morning helpers, or a nanny that we used in the past.
Having all of these services lined up lets my husband and I both work full time, and frees up some of our non-work hours to spend with each other (when we're not grocery shopping, paying bills, arranging playdates, exercising, and seeing our own friends!)