Skip to main content

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 Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter