One of my readers asked me last week to write about hiring a nanny. I thought it was an interesting topic considering I don't currently have any children. The reason I decided to write about it anyway, is that my wife and I had already been discussing the use of a nanny in our future when the children do come.
Before looking at the financial aspects of this, I realize this is also a very personal decision. Can you trust leaving your children with someone you don't know intimately? Will they raise your children as well as the parents can? The answer to that will vary based on your situation and beliefs and is entirely up to you to decide.
I personally believe after 8 years in school, my wife wouldn't be happy as a stay at home mom. If your not happy as a parent, you're not doing your children any favours. As much as we want to believe that staying home with this children is all bonding moments, in reality it's a lot of cleaning, cooking, and discipline. In some cases the stay at home mom is expected to make extra income, such as with a daycare. With a nanny both parents can come home to relax and spend time with the children. Those "first" moments can then be experienced together.
On the financial side it's important to measure the cost of hiring the nanny. It obviously doesn't make sense to go back to work if the income from that work doesn't provide enough to cover the child care costs. What I like about the nanny is that they generally cover the other services that the stay at home mom provides, like cleaning and cooking. Daycare might be a more affordable option, but then when you come home you still need to cook and clean which means you're giving up time for money. Time in this case that you're losing with your children.
Having two working parents obviously provides more income which can reduce the financial stress on the family too. If you've ever grown up in a home with financial struggles you'll understand the effect that that can have on the children too. This can also alleviate some life insurance costs. If one parent passes away the family is not devastated. Although insurance on the death of both parents needs to be considered.
Not everyone is going to respect your decision to hire a nanny. In fact when I mentioned it to other people there is often a long awkward pause. Living like everyone else though will just leave us in debt like everyone else. Remember, only you know what's best for you and your family, so don't let other people make that decision for you.
So what do you think? Is it worth the cost to you?