Hannah Seligson of The Daily Beast has issued the latest in the endless rounds of analysis of Sheryl Sandberg's peppy how-to-get-ahead-in-business manual Lean In, this time estimating the costs of what it takes for a proper coastal yuppie to replace the labor of a housewife. The price tag is pretty astonishing: $96,261 per year. Seligson does revise the number downward—after all, the original figure is from a site that assumes you would hire a driver and a personal chef if you don't stay at home—but even $24,000 a year for daycare is staggering. She suggests that women who want to lean in do so by socking away money to cover these costs long before they start having children. As a bonus, you can probably get your husband to pitch into the childcare fund more easily than you can get him to pick up a mop.
What's an ambitious woman to do? Obviously, the price tag put on your employment is just another version of the pay gap, and for some reason, the elegant solution of professional women refusing to have children until someone fixes this situation has been taken off the table. It's a major conundrum. So why not look to men for answers? Men have managed the sticky situation of both having a job and having a home life for decades now. Their solution is possibly even more elegant in its simplicity than the "don't have children" one: Marry a woman.