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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-06-28 07:29:55




If you’ve got the cash, you can now outsource
every aspect of parenting from potty training
to night feeds, but could the new breed of
chequebook parents be doing more harm
than good? asks Aoife Stuart-Madge.

elebrity mums shelling parentingtrend
out mega bucks on
an army of hired training, they can’t see the wood for the McPhee and promises to bring harried
help is nothing new: trees. A lot of parents feel reassured by parents back from the brink of sleep
Kate Middleton has having an expert there.” deprivation by training your tot to sleep
through the night. She charges between
Creportedly just hired live- Teresa Boardman runs Nanny Options €180 and €280 for a two-hour consultation
in ‘supernanny’ Sadie (, a Dublin-based nanny and follow-up care. O’Reilly insists the
Rice, Brad and Angelina service. As well as providing traditional clients she meets are concerned parents who
are rumoured to have up to 12 nannies on nannies, she offers maternity nurses at a are simply at the end of their tether; parents
the payroll, while model Lara Stone hit the cost of €16 per hour (a typical shift lasts who are often ashamed to admit they
headlines last year for admitting she leaves between 10 and 12 hours). In addition need help. “For Irish parents, there is an
her son with his nanny for ‘days at a time.’ to taking care of night feeds, a maternity embarrassment factor there,” says O’Reilly.
But these days, it’s not just the A-list who nurse will tidy the nursery, sterilise bottles
are prepared to pay through the nose for an and wash the baby’s clothes. “Most of our Added to this embarrassment is the fact
extra pair hands when it comes to the trickier maternity nurses are employed to look after that this generation of parents are not used
part of parenting – ordinary mums and dads newborns,” explains Boardman. “Having a to failing. “I’m 40 now and my generation
with the cash to spare are increasingly roping night’s sleep really helps parents cope.” – who are now in their 30s and 40s – were
in trained outsiders for help. told we could be anything and whatever it
The trend for third person parenting However, Boardman says the idea that was we were going to be amazing at,” says
– dubbed ‘outsourced parenting’ in the her clients are trying to palm off parenting O’Reilly. “The parents I see usually both
States – is already commonplace among duties is a fallacy and that the majority have successful careers, then suddenly they
elite parents in LA and New York. And of her clients are families in which both are confronted by this teeny tiny person
one traditional nanny is no longer enough: parents are working. “For them, it’s a they can’t deal with. For the first time in
you can also avail of the services of baby necessity,” says Boardman. And as small their lives, they are struggling.”
nurses, sleep trainers, live-in potty trainers, Irish businesses begin to boom, so has the
behavioural experts and even ‘thumb- demand for services like Boardman’s. “It’s However, psychotherapist Stella
sucking gurus’ who will help your tot break often for families who are self-employed O’Malley, author of Cotton Wool Kids:
their thumb-sucking habit. or run their own businesses. I have one
NYC Potty Training is one of the many family who employs a maternity nurse 24 What’s Making Irish Parents Paranoid?
emerging parenting companies in New hours a day, six days a week because mum (€14.99, Mercier Press), believes the
York. Their experts promise to toilet train is self-employed and she had to go back to rise in parental outsourcing services is
toddlers within two days for around €1,500. work quickly.” Boardman adds, “Having symptomatic of a wider problem. “In the
Founder Samantha Allen says many of her somebody that is going to look after the previous generation, there was always one
clients are motivated by competitiveness. nursery duties takes the pressure off the or two pushy parents; nowadays they are
“The pressure to parent children perfectly the norm,” says O’Malley. “Parents have
and competition between parents about the
level of development of their child definitely “Our generation were told we could do anything…
motivates people,” she says. Whereas parents have successful careers, but when they’re
keeping up with the Joneses at the school presented with a teeny tiny baby they can’t cope –
gates used to mean buying a parenting for the first time in their lives, they’re struggling”
book, it now means hiring an expert to fast-
track the process, adds Allen. parents so they are not bogged down with become more competitive because they are
If outsourced parenting sounds like the ironing, cooking and washing… the nanny constantly being told by society that they
preserve of Park Avenue princesses, it might can do all that.” are not good enough. It is often parents who
surprise you to learn that the trend has work long hours who tend to spend more
already permeated Irish shores. There are Boardman also recently introduced a money on their children – as a compensation
now a host of experts popping up around popular ‘nanny tutor’ service where your for not spending enough time with them.”
the country who can tackle the messier part nanny can offer tuition in anything from
of parenting so you don’t have to. reading to music or maths. There’s also This pressure on parents has serious
Aoife Lee runs Parent Support her popular personal shopping service ramifications, warns O’Malley.“In my work
(,a Dublin-based company where mums-to-be can pay €60 to have as a psychotherapist, I see clients every day
offering a range of services including potty one of Boardman’s expert team shop all who are anxious, depressed and stressed.
training, which costs €50 an hour for a their nursery needs for them. “We’d have a There is a problem with our entire culture
recommended three to six hours. “At the consultation over the phone to ask simple of parenting – each parent feels ashamed
initial consultation I meet mum or dad at question like whether mum or dad jog,” that they are finding parenting so difficult.”
home to find out what they have tried Then explains Boardman. “In that case, a three-
I come back with a plan, which we then put wheeler pram would be more suitable than a So if services like O’Reilly’s can alleviate
into action together. In the case where mum Bugaboo, so you can run with baby in tow.” some of that stress isn’t that a positive
and dad are both working, I would offer to thing? Allen certainly seems to think so.
engage with staff at the crèche.” When it comes to a restless baby, Niamh “The majority of parents that contact me
Lee says getting a third party involved is O’Reilly, a sleep consultant ( about my services feel ashamed that they
all about helping stressed-out parents see and author of No Fuss Baby and Toddler need to ask for outside help, so it breaks my
the light. “Parents can be overwhelmed by Sleep (€14.99, Mercier), can swoop to heart to see families attacked as ‘outsourced
all the information that is out there. Often, the rescue. Dubbed Ireland’s supernanny, parents’. The reality is that they have tried.
when a parent is stressed or upset by potty O’Reilly markets herself as a cross between And, in truth, I imagine all parents could use
Mary Poppins, Mrs Doubtfire and Nanny
some extra help.”


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