I've always had a fascination with choosing between a cook, a maid, and a nanny. Not that any of the three are a realistic option for me, but you never know... someday I might be held at gunpoint and forced to pick one.
It's hard to know which to go with.
I would love a cook to provide healthy meals for my family thrice daily. That would take a huge burden off my plate (pun intended, thankyouverymuch). But I also kind of enjoy cooking for my family, so it's not a responsibility I want to hand over entirely. I really only need a cook on days when I'm really busy... or really lazy. So while a cook would be awesome, I'm not sure it would be my first choice.
I long for a pristine house, so if I could have someone provide that for me, I'd be quite happy. The problem with a maid is that maids typically clean houses that are already clean. Maids dust and vacuum and clean glass. Not pick up the 1,098 random objects my two-year-old has emptied from various drawers throughout my house or dig chewed up carrots out of my sofa cushions. Perhaps having a maid might be more stressful for me than not having a maid because I'd have to have the carrot thing under control before the maid could do much.
I would love a nanny so I could have a daily break from my kids, but for my current situation (stay-at-home-momdom), a nanny would be a bit over the top. Sure, if I were returning to work, a nanny would be a wonderful asset for my family, but right now I would totally misuse the nanny. I would be like, "Here, nanny, take care of the children while I watch Netflix." I already struggle with being "present" with my children. I'm not sure having a nanny would be a wise choice for my character development.
Since none of the three are really ideal for my circumstances, I think what I really need is not a cook, a maid, or a nanny - it's an assistant!
My assistant would be available Monday-Thursday from 9-5, Fridays from 9-2, and Sundays 10-3.* Her responsibilities wouldn't be too hard; she'd mostly be an extra set of hands for me.
I'd be able to say stuff like, "Sue," (I named her Sue just now), "please hold Eva while I give Zoe a bath."
"Sue, please run to WinCo and buy a 2 lb block of cheddar."
"Sue, please stir the soup."
"Sue, will you run outside and grab the chicken eggs for me?"
"Sue, read me this book while I shower!"
(One of Sue's primary responsibilities is to read me stuff that my phone can't read to me. This is what my life has come to).
Having an assistant isn't about having someone to boss around. It's about relieving the stress of having to choose between two things all the time. I'm always dividing myself between people and tasks, and it keeps me from truly getting things done. Sue's purpose is to tackle the other thing - the one I'm not tackling at the moment.
So when I'm desperate to change the laundry before it starts to smell, but my kids are fighting, I can deal with the fight, and Sue can change the laundry.
When Eva falls asleep in the car and needs to be carried inside, but I also need to get the ice cream I just bought in the freezer before it melts, I can carry the child, and Sue can take care of the ice cream.
Sue has the potential to meet my level of need for a cook, a maid, and a nanny without having to be exclusively one of those things.
So if ever forced to choose between a cook, a maid, or a nanny, I will first ask if Sue is an option. Because choosing Sue is a no-brainer.
*It's imperative that Sue come to church with us. We need as many responsible persons as possible to keep our pew under control. In fact, this idea is so genius that I might post a listing today for an assistant just for church. It's a good starting point.