Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Guess how much it can cost parents to 'lean in' to their careers (you may want to brace yourself)

Stock photo/Thinkstock

"Don't just lean in, save up (for the hired help)."

The Daily Beast's Hannah Seligson and her husband have no kids, but are slowly funnelling their savings into a 'nanny fund,' just as they would for retirement. This, Seligson argued in her piece on Friday, will help ensure that both she and her partner will be able to keep 'leaning in' to their careers – without going insane.

In among the squawking over Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's much-debated tome, Lean In, Seligson is calling for an honest calculation of how much money it actually costs to do it right.

Story continues below advertisement

"About and on women and the barriers they face in cracking the glass ceiling, no one is saying what is glaringly obvious to anyone thinking about how to have a big career and a family: start saving for the army of help you'll need to pull it off," she writes.

Seligson points to an interview Sandberg had conducted with Time, in which she declined to address the issue of domestic help, arguing that it isn't a question anyone would dare ask a prominent man. When Time's Belinda Luscombe requested to ask the question of Sandberg's husband, Dave Goldberg, Sandberg again declined to comment.

"Whether or not you have high quality childcare – and how much of it you can afford – can make the difference between leaning in and leaning out," writes Seligson, hazarding this about advice-rich executives: "I'm willing to bet that they have backup nannies, drivers, baby nurses, cooks, weekend nannies, housekeepers, and people who come to pack lunches and do the dishes."

So, if you're not inclined to "turboparenting" and can afford to "throw money at the problem" (not a bad call, Seligson argues), how much will it set you back?

Upward of $96,261 (U.S.), claims Seligson, pointing to figures sourced from Investopedia, a website devoted to investing education. This is her number crunching for a pricey city such as San Francisco:

A full-time nanny costs around $36,868/year. Then there's the baby nurse, because if you only take two weeks of maternity leave, as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer did, it's hard to work full-time and get up every three hours. That's $1680/week ($10,080 for the six weeks). A housekeeper comes in at $25/hour. At a modest five hours a week, that's $500 per month ($6,000 per year). Preschool in New York City can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $32,000. And full time daycare is no bargain, clocking in at $24,000.

With those head-spinning figures, it's no wonder so many ambitious moms and dads end up "turboparenting" through their adult lives. On the other hand, you could just lean out, morphing into the happy "feminist housewife" of New York magazine's dreams.

Story continues below advertisement

Sign me up the day annual pay hits $96,261.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Zosia More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨