Fifty years ago, most American mothers didn't work outside the home. If they did, it was usually because they were doing temporary fill-in work to tide the family over while the husband looked for new work or healed from an injury or illness, or to keep the lights on while the husband was away in the army. It was never really expected that women would spend the time their children were growing up away from them, at an office or at a factory, much less at a high-flying corporate job.
Now, of course, everything has changed. The American divorce rate still hovers around 50%, so it is quite likely that women with children are likely to be single at some time during their children's lives. Even if a couple remains together, the majority of couples aged 25 and older are dual-income families.
The solution to the ongoing problem of finding affordable childcare has not yet been found. Working parents are finding huge percentages of their take-home pay being sucked up by traditional daycare centers. These centers, while usually decent enough, vary widely in terms of quality, services, flexibility and cost. Likewise, parents still get caught in the crunch if a child is sick, as most daycare centers will insist that the parent find care alternatives during the child's illness.
America is nothing if not flexible and entrepreneurial in spirit, and a huge growth in both supply and demand for nanny jobs has taken place over the past few years. Nannies can do more with children and with the home than would be expected from a typical babysitter, and a nanny can always stay home and tend to sick children. If the nanny job is a full time, live-in position, the parents also have the luxury of always having childcare available on an emergency basis, as well as the nanny's regularly scheduled hours. Likewise, if the family needs or wants to travel together, the nanny is available to go with the family wherever it needs to go.
Nanny jobs are giving traditional daycare centers a run for their money, so to speak. After many parents do the math and work out their total childcare-related expenses, they may discover that it is actually more economical to hire a full-time nanny who can stay in the home and work over the summer vacation and during holidays. It can also lead to a more peaceful, less stressful, and therefore better, quality of life. A family with several children, with a wide span of ages, for example, might find life much easier if all the children are able to come home directly after school, rather than having the parents have to pick them up from various age-based daycare locations.
Of course, daycare centers aren't going to disappear overnight. They still offer a valuable service for many working parents. However, nanny jobs are going to be more and more available as parents begin to look for alternative, sane, convenient, and safe alternatives to the existing daycare monopoly. Nanny jobs, once considered to be only found among the wealthiest classes of society, are moving firmly into the ranks of the middle and working classes.