Hiring a Nanny vs. Leaving the Workforce Temporarily
There has been a lot of attention paid lately to the cost of employing a nanny and whether it makes more sense for a mom to stay home from work rather than incur the cost of child care. Lilian Faulhaber, an associate professor of law at Boston University recently wrote an article for the New York Times which discussed the tax code’s treatment of child care in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/04/opinion/lean-in-what-about-child-care.html
In an increasingly competitive job market and a poor economy, many women don’t want to risk their value to employers by taking time off to stay home with their children. College is expensive, and giving a child the education and financial support necessary for them to compete in the world as adults is more important than ever. On the other hand, with an increasingly complex world, our children need a predictable, loving and organized home environment more than ever so they can develop the emotional stability and solid coping skills they’ll need to grow into adults who can manage a competitive and often unpredictable world.
What is a parent to do? Nannies are an expensive alternative for many families, but a very good nanny will provide the intimate loving care, attention, learning, socialization, predictability and in-home stability that many families want for their children. From our perspective, full time nanny care will most likely only be required until a child starts preschool, at about age 2 1/2. These are important years for emotional and brain development. Neural pathways are formed throughout childhood but are especially important during these early years.
Would 2 1/2 years out of the workforce significantly impact a mother’s attractiveness to an employer? It depends on many variables: her line of work, her education level, the level of competition in her chosen field, how sensitive her skill set is to rapidly changing technology, the size of the qualified labor pool in her geographic location, etc. On the other hand, nannies may look like an expensive choice at a mom’s current income level, but if a mom remains in the labor force, her future earnings from an uninterrupted career path may greatly surpass the cost of a very good nanny during those early 2 1/2 years. The cost of a nanny may look expensive now, at her current income rate, but as she progresses in her career it may turn out to have been an economically intelligent decision.
To get more tips on hiring and retaining a nanny go to: www.safeandsoundnannies.com
Dr. Ann Wycoff is founder of Safe and Sound Nannies, a full service agency.