Perhaps you’ve been told that having a child is a 24-hour-a-day job. But it doesn’t have to be your job—not for a moment. Nannies have been around for centuries, but in New York—the leading edge of parental avoidance—it is now possible to outsource more-advanced child-rearing functions as well, such as shopping for clothing, going on college visits, and even initiating those awkward talks about, well, you know. How much would it cost to replace yourself entirely for eighteen years—until your child’s driver drops him off at the dorm? Here’s a rough (indeed) analysis.
Why bother, when you can hire someone else too …
… HAVE THE BABY FOR YOU
Paid surrogacy is illegal in New York State, but Intended Parents can help you find a vacant uterus elsewhere. You’ll pay dearly, however—from lawyers’ fees and hospital visits down to incidentals like your surrogate’s shrink appointments, maternity clothes, ice cream to slake her pregnancy cravings, and a weekly stipend should she wind up on bed rest.
Total: $80,000 (at least)
Intended Parents, 732-526-7013
… BURP HER
Shunning every aspect of infant care, starting with hugging, requires a 24-hour baby nurse for a full year. Expect to pay $350 a day plus a 30 percent agency fee.
Katie Facey Agency, 800-483-1054
… GET HER TO STOP SCREAMING AT NIGHT
The sleep consultants at Soho Parenting can come up with a five-day plan to adjust her schedule to yours. Then again, why does that matter?
Soho Parenting, 212-334-3744
… KEEP HER AWAY FROM THE DRANO
Even the most despairing toddler will be foiled by this company’s expert latching, gating, locking, guarding, and lead-testing of your home. CPR and car-seat training included.
Manhattan Childproofers, 212-367-3733
… GET THAT THUMB OUT OF HER MOUTH
Chicago-based thumb-sucking guru Shari E. Green claims she can kick your kid’s habit in two sessions. Fee includes travel expenses from Chicago and follow-up phone consultation.
Shari E. Green, 847-641-4444
… RAISE HER
The live-in nanny is the point guard of the outsourcing team, packing your child’s lunch, reading her bedtime stories, attending mommy-and-me classes, taking her to Disney World, seeing her face light up on Christmas morning when Mommy and Daddy call from Ibiza. Later on, someone’s going to have to go to her school plays and parent-teacher conferences. A job of this magnitude requires a live-in, which costs $1,200 a week with a 15 percent fee through Best Domestic Placement Services. (To have a fill-in on weekends, add 48 hours of babysitting at $15 an hour.)
Total: $1,856,400 (seventeen years)
Best Domestic Placement Services, 212-683-3060
… POTTY-TRAIN HER
No undignified “Wee-wee? Doo-doo?” interrogations with this Chicago- based service, which will dispatch a live-in instructor to your home for two weeks to reward your daughter’s appropriately placed bowel movements with toys.
(Includes fee, travel expenses, and two weeks of meals for the trainer; toys not included. See “Buy Her Gifts.”)
Adriana’s Services, 773-440-8283
… THROW HER A BIRTHDAY PARTY
You won’t have to lift a finger—or even show up at all—if you hire this Queens-based company to send out the invitations, put up decorations, set up the room, buy the cake and ice cream, stock the sundae bar, hire a magician, pass out party favors, put on an arts-and-crafts workshop, serve finger food to the parents, and clean up afterward. Festivities start at $825 for 25 kids for four hours.
Total: $14,850 (eighteen parties)
Bliss! Celebrations by Design, 347-267-1893
… BUY HER GIFTS
Let the personal shoppers at FAO Schwarz do it for you—they probably “get” her anyway.
FAO Schwarz, 212-644-9400
… TELL HER “NO”
If she’s giving the outsourcing team some lip, these New Jersey–based consultants can set your daughter straight with a discipline plan.
Harmony Behavioral Solutions, 973-248-5525
… TEACH HER TO SAY “PLEASE” AND “THANK YOU”
As in, “Thank you for those twenty minutes of quality time.” An hour-and-45-minute class teaches kids 6 and up how to behave in public, shake hands, talk on the phone, and hold a fork.
Etiquette Outreach, 212-977-6804
… BUY HER CLOTHES
She’ll look like you actually paid attention with a fashion intervention from former FIT student Carla Nemiroff, who charges $350 a day to sort through your child’s old clothes and $250 a half- day to shop for new ones.
Total: $43,200 (two days a season for eighteen years)
Carla’s Closets, 917-653-7110 Next: Teach Him the Birds and the Bees and More Outsourcing Parenting Tips
Why bother, when you can get someone else to…
… TAKE HIS PICTURE
Hire a candid photographer like Paloma Sendrey to capture milestones like his first steps (who’s going to know they’re not actually the first?), missing teeth (they’ll still be missing a few days later), and Sunday afternoons in the park with a sitter. She charges $575 per birthday party and $395 per candid session; count on three a year.
Total: $31,680 (over eighteen years)
Paloma Sendrey, 718-432-2365
… TEACH HIM HOW TO RIDE A BIKE
For $130 a session, bicycling instructor Terry Chin will be the one following your careering kid around Riverside Park.
Total: $260 and up
Terry Chin, 718-680-5227
… PLAY CATCH WITH HIM
Former Mets and Yankees pitcher Jack Aker charges $95 an hour to teach your kid how to throw, catch, field, and hit a ball.
Total: $950 (ten lessons)
Jack Aker, jackakerbaseball.com
… TAKE HIM FISHING
There’s nothing like a day on a fishing boat to help foster a bond between your son and … a complete stranger. Captain Brendan McCarthy will take your kid to Jamaica Bay for a full-day striped-bass excursion, then have him at home in time for dinner with the nanny.
Captain Brendan McCarthy, 917-847-9576
… TALK TO HIM
Teen “life coach” Susan Epstein will be there for your son when you’re not. Via weekly $149 sessions (phone or in person), she teaches insight, accountability, discipline, and self-awareness, which he will sorely need by this point.
Total: $1,788 (twelve sessions)
Susan Epstein, 860-437-0233
… IMPART GOOD BREEDING
For $200 an hour, image consultant Samantha von Sperling can help your teen affect the illusion of proper parental supervision, through etiquette lessons, personal shopping, and style guidance.
Total: $2,000 (ten hours)
Polished Social Image Consultants, 646-644-4300
… TEACH HIM THE BIRDS AND THE BEES
For $99 a session, a clinical social worker can tell a 4-year-old where babies come from—or instruct a teen on how not to have one.
Total: $396 (four sessions)
Lucille Barish, LCSW, 212-362-7146
… HELP HIM WITH HOMEWORK
For about $110 per hour, a Study Shack tutor can help your kid slog through two hours of homework a night so the nanny can have a break.
Total: $134,640 (two hours a week for seven years)
The Study Shack, 212-628-9129
… GO ON COLLEGE TOURS
Foist those futile trips onto a tour guide. For $1,685, your teen will be shepherded along with ten to twenty of his competitors on a weeklong trip to campuses from Boston to Washington, D.C.
Total: $1,984 (includes airfare)
College Visits, Inc., 800-944-2798
… DRIVE HIM EVERYWHERE
Even an outsourced kid needs a father figure. A paid driver from City Valet is $20 an hour.
Total: $1,839,600 (fourteen hours a day for eighteen years)
City Valet, 212-327-0500
Total costs: $4,184,633
Compiled by Merry Zide, Ariel Brewster, Janelle Nanos, Nitasha Tiku, Wesley Wade, and Amy Zavatto.