July 7, 2006

CEO's Nanny Drives A Phil & Ted's

ceo_nanny_phil_teds.jpgWell, the crisis in childcare continues apace. USA Today reports that even some CEO's are feeling the pinch as the cost of quality childcare spirals out of control.

Seems that nanny agencies who specialize in placing background-checked, multilingual nannies with college degrees in early childhood development and years of experience are commanding as much as $100,000/year plus benefits. Back in the day, such nannies only made $60,000/year. The pain is felt by CEO's right in their wallets, as the percentage of their average annual income they're forced to pay for childcare almost doubled from 0.05% to 0.09%.

When are the fatcats in Washington going to stop lining their own pockets and do something about this shameful injustice? How about tax credits for any childcare expenses over $50,000/year? CEO's deserve no less. And the hedge fund guys, too. And the lawyers. And the regular, old I-bankers. And private equity folks. And the screenwriters. But not the TV people, no way.

CEOs shell out nearly 6 figures to secure the perfect nanny [usatoday via wash post]
"Bright side"?? Wake up and smell the coffee your Guatemalan housekeeper just brewed before taking the kids to swim camp, Leslie Morgan Steiner! [warning: 10,000 angry comments alert] $100K Nannies [washpost via tmn]


My god, I haven't ever read anything in that woman's blog that doesn't make me want to beat her roundly about the head. My favorite on this column is how she felt the need to say how "at least a few dads" recognize the need for quality child care. Ye gods.

[Seriously. Doesn't she read how every CEO quoted considers their children their most valued assets and their nannies their most important personnel decisions? -ed.]

...at one time started recruiting University of Boston figure skaters...

That may have been their first problem...there's no such school! Fact checking, anyone?

[Is that the same family where the "CEO's wife" called her friend's nanny at 9:30 the night before Mother's Day, begging her to be "her Mother's Day present?" Agencies may want to turn their screening attentions on the clients instead. -ed.]

Hmmm...I'm new to her blog, but I didn't find Steiner's main point to be so outrageous - that "dollar respect" for high-end child care could reflect/spur the trend among "regular" providers (good news for providers, not so great for single parents or anyone struggling with childcare costs).

[except that the $100K nanny's agency said the actual average is still around $30K+ benefits. But I don't see how the increased value placed on specialized degrees and managerial skills will trickle down to the uncredentialed "watch my baby sit in his stroller for 10 hrs/day while you yap on your cell phone" nannyforce. I almost typed "unskilled," but then, that's part of Steiner's point, which I do agree with, that there's plenty of childcare skill/experience/expertise that is not dependent on professional credentials. But that's not what CEO's are necessarily buying. -ed,]

ugh. Steiner's rants...I mean "posts" make me want to pull my teeth out with rusty pliers. Cannot face her columns any more. And I used to be a White House nanny (the agency, not the supreme executive residence) and let me tell you, (a) I wish I made 100K, and (b) they really should screen the parents more than the nannies. Oh the stories I could tell...

"But I don't see how the increased value placed on specialized degrees and managerial skills will trickle down to the uncredentialed "watch my baby sit in his stroller for 10 hrs/day while you yap on your cell phone" nannyforce."

The hope is that as childcare as a profession gets more respect, the cell phone sitters will not be in business. More expectations, more pay, including with state-subsidized care.

But I see your point about the 30,000 vs. 100,000.

[I'm all for more respect and improved expertise, epectation, and conditions, but--and I hate to make an analogy to "shopping"--the reopening of Le Cirque doesn't impact the $2 slice business in any way. Someone making $10mm/yr deciding to spend $100k on a nanny is utterly irrelevant to the realities of middle-class or dual income families' work/childcare choices, people who face eceonomic tradeoffs of some kind when contemplating a mid-five-figure purchase.

All that said, I think when Steiner's talking about "respect" for childcare, she's also/actually talking about soothing the ego and the professional decisionmaking of SAHM's who went to Wharton and used to earn six figures or whatever, and who now find themselves doing "servant's" work. It's just symptomatic of someone who equates net worth with self-worth. Not that I'm anti-servant, don't get me wrong ;) -ed.]

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