I love browsing Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods and second-hand everything. There is nothing my heart desires that I can’t find on Etsy. It’s Toys R’ Us for adults. Long story short, I found a listing for this mug there. At first I smiled, then thought better of it.

Beyonce

Yes, I have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce, but let’s not discount the army of personnel on her payroll. I’ll take a stab and guess she has multiple nannies, a private chef, a trainer or four, a driver, a masseuse, a few personal assistants, and probably a full-time cleaning crew. We have no official entourage to assist our posse per se, but I do like to keep the following people around. They are crucial to helping our world spin ‘round.

A cleaning lady. Before we had kids, Dave would try to convince me we should hire a cleaning person, to which I replied by snorting my beer.  With weekends free and a modest condo, we had no real case other than his allergy to cleaning toilets. I actually used to like cleaning to Aretha Franklin on Saturday mornings. Now with kids, a cat, a house and a yard, I agreed we should get one. Our awesome cleaning lady works her magic twice a month, saves our marriage, and keeps our weekends dedicated to personal interests, schoolwork, and most important, our family. Prices run the gamut (I’ve heard of $50-85 per visit), but we shopped around on Care.com for someone in our budget. Best money we spend.

Berlinfaire

We can’t clean the house, we must ride ponies at the fair!

A few great babysitters. I should know about great babysitters – they’re everything I wasn’t as a pre-teen. Even though I took a babysitting course and plastered my ‘hood with flyers, I was mostly interested in designing the flyers. My enthusiasm for other people’s kids was tepid. Sure, we’ve used some ho-hum sitters, neighborhood kids or recommendations from family members that just didn’t knock my socks off. But we’ve found a handful of AWESOME sitters (college age, though I think high schoolers could be great too). They’re flexible, have cars and clean driving records, make up games, are authorative, and fun-loving. We use them on weekend date nights, early on road race mornings, or on kids’ sick days when neither of us can take the whole day off. Last week, our sitter covered me for a few minutes as I sat in traffic en route to Edie’s bus stop. They aren’t on payroll, but I sure love having them around.

My mom. True, you cannot go out and hire a good mom. My mom is a big reason we relocated from an awesome city to a great suburb of a not-awesome city.  As my friend Ellen likes to say, our moms are better than us at some of this stuff. When I just can’t feign patience, she can. She makes scrubbing the grill a fascinating kid activity. She sets and communicates reasonable rules, and adheres to them. She may be Mary Poppins to my kids, but she is a friend to me, a role model, and a coach, all of which make me a better mom and wife. When I moved back to town, she introduced me to her colleague, Katie, now my dear friend. Katie’s mom lives in another state; Katie and my mom recently went to a play together. So while my mom isn’t for hire, I’m happy to (temporarily) loan her out.

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