For Love and for Money

For Love and for Money

photo credit: Michele Asselin via NYT

This Sunday, Mona Simpson has a Times Magazine cover story on the delicate relationship between families and their nannies: how do we buy and sell love? How do we commodify nurture?

We don’t like to mix love with money. We want love to come as a gift that offers as much pleasure and reward to the giver as to ourselves. No one receiving love wishes to break it down to its component parts, of good sense and feasibility, much less to consider that payment may be necessary to inspire the whole project.

But this fundamental discomfort is part of what’s led to too many nannies being treated like less than working professionals:

Economists posit that pink-collar jobs — work usually done by women — are underpaid, not least because we like to believe that the products involved (love, tenderness, care) are given not sold.

While we’re talking nannies, though, it’s worth mentioning that Park Slope Parents just announced that they’ve partnered with HomeWork Solutions to create the NY Nanny Payroll Quickstart Guide, which is designed to prevent you from becoming the villain in future NYT stories. According to PSP’s Susan Fox, the guide “outlines all the steps you need to know to comply with New York State and Federal laws concerning payroll, overtime, taxes, and more” — much of which is applicable whether or not your nanny’s on the books.

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