Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Value of Mothering

Funny that I'm writing about mothering on Father's day, but you can't have one without the other, can you? And I'm feeling like motherhood has fallen on tough times. So if you'll excuse me while I get on my soap box...

I'm hearing some disturbing murmurings about how a woman ought to contribute financially to her family. How she can't possibly be fulfilled personally or professionally if she doesn't get out there and experience the real world. Since I'm new to being a full-time mom, I thought I'd do a little research about my market value...

Stay-at-home mothers wear many hats. They're the family CEO, the day care provider, accountant, chauffeur, counselor, chef, nurse, laundress, entertainer, personal stylist, and educator. Based on a 90-hour work week, has estimated that a fair wage for the typical stay-at-home mom would be well over $90,000 for executing all of her daily tasks. Factor in overtime, and the appropriate salary takes a leap of around $25,000.

Mom jobs

Job title, Annual salary
Child Day Care Worker $20,259
Teacher $44,824
Taxi Driver $27,346
Facilities Manager $73,239
Short-order Cook $27,477
Laundry Attendant $17,917
Janitor $22,440
Counselor $27,638
CEO $545,268
Administrative Assistant III $37,143
Accounting Clerk III $34,842
Licensed Practical Nurse $38,111
Plumber I $33,155
Automotive Mechanic I $30,725
Cake Decorator $21,340

Jobs listed in order from largest to smallest component of a stay-at-home mom's job. All salaries are national averages. Source:, 2004.
<;" The estimate composite salary calculated by's team of compensation experts for a stay-at-home mom is based on a 90-hour work week, consisting of six 14-hour days and one 6-hour day. Job titles, responsibilities, and qualifications were considered and weighed on a scale of importance, frequency, and average time spent on tasks per day. Hourly rates of pay corresponding to the 15 job titles in the above table were applied to the 90-hour model and multiplied by 52 weeks a year to determine an annual salary. It assumes the mother has two children of school age.

And Another article from Fox News:

Study: Stay-at-Home Mom Worth Nearly $117,000 a Year

Thursday, May 08, 2008

BOSTON — If a stay-at-home mom could be compensated in dollars rather than personal satisfaction and unconditional love, she'd rake in a nifty sum of nearly $117,000 a year. That's according to a pre-Mother's Day study released Thursday by, a Waltham, Mass.-based firm that studies workplace compensation. The eighth annual survey calculated a mom's market value by studying pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mom performs, ranging from housekeeper and day care center teacher to van driver, psychologist and chief executive officer. This year, the annual salary for a stay-at-home mom would be $116,805, while a working mom who also juggles an outside job would get $68,405 for her motherly duties.

One stay-at-home mom said the six-figure salary sounds a little low. "I think a lot of people think we sit and home and have a lot of fun and don't do a lot of work," said Samantha Russell, a Fremont, N.H., mother who left her job as pastry chef to raise two boys, ages 2 and 4. "But they should try cleaning their house with little kids running around and messing it up right after them."

The biggest driver of a mom's theoretical salary is the amount of overtime pay she'd receive for working more than 40 hours a week. The 18,000 moms surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours — meaning they'd be spending more than half their working hours on overtime. Working moms reported an average 54.6 hour "mom work week" besides the hours they spent at paying jobs.

Russell agreed her job as a stay-at-home mom is more than full-time. But she said her "job" brings intangible benefits she wouldn't enjoy in the workplace. "The rewards aren't monetary, but it's a reward knowing that they're safe and happy," Russell said of her sons. "It's worth it all."

While I might not be bringing home any bacon (maybe a little bacon with our photography business, but trust me, it's very little), I sure am adding value to our family. The truth is that I am dependent on my husband's income to pay our bills. There is no way I could be home if he didn't get up every morning and put on a shirt and tie and drive to work in rush hour traffic and sit at his desk all day, only to face another hour of traffic on his ride home. But he's also dependent on me - to take care of our home and tend to our son. He recognizes my value, and knows that I'm not sitting on the couch all day watching soap operas and eating chocolates. And no matter what some may think, no SAHM is sitting on the couch watching TV all day. It's just not possible. I've never seen dirty clothes walk themselves to the washing machine or food jump out of the refrigerator and cook itself. No dish has ever lowered itself into a sink of hot water. And on and on and on...

So this Father's day, I'm thankful to all you dads who recognize that the work your wife does at home is just that - WORK. And to all you mothers who are working this incredibly important job, hats off to you!


Rebecca said...

What? SAHM's don't get to eat cheesecake and watch Oprah every day?!? I'm so disillusioned. (And I'm KIDDING for all you other blog readers.)

Rebecca said...

And 2 more cents....
This post illustrates how very valuable SAHM's are, and is the perfect argument for why they should carry life insurance.