The Going Rate for Moms
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, work-at-home mom, or mom who works outside of the home, you still carry the unofficial job title of Mom. This most important job title, however, is rarely seen with the respect that is deserves when it comes to the actual workload that it includes, especially if that job title of Mom isn’t preceded by another formal title. No matter how far society has come (or gone), there simply is not a high level of honor placed on the Mom title – it is placed on Technician, Doctor, or Administrator. Anything but Mom.
Experts in wage compensation over the past decade have been looking more closely at how much a mom’s time is worth, using some of the most common tasks as a base guideline. Moms do work as doctors, nurses, office assistants, janitors, teachers, and more every day. They just don’t get paid like it. Research shows that moms, no matter if they work full time out of the home, part-time from the home, or are dedicated full-time stay-at-home moms, all work roughly 97 hours each week when everything is calculated.
You can actually use a salary wizard to calculate, based on how many hours each week you spend as an employee, a mom, and in between, doing various tasks, what your Mom Paycheck would be if you had to hire someone else to do those same jobs. While you can’t cash the check in the bank, perhaps you can cash it in your mental bank for those times of self-doubt when you might wonder how much exactly you are contributing. Better yet, print a copy and casually leave it behind on the living room table for others in the house to see!
The Energy of Moms
What can’t be calculated easily, however, is the mental energy required of a mom who is tasked with managing children and a family. While I know there are some amazing dads out there who have in many ways taken on the traditional role of Mom, statistics still show that moms are bearing the brunt of the family responsibilities, even when they work outside of the home.
Statistics actually show that of the estimated 98,000 dads who stay at home, only 16% do so to care for children (illness or disability account for 45%, inability to find a job is 11%, and 9% because they are going to school). Compare those with more than 88% of the more than 5 million mothers who stay home doing so to primarily care for their children. So, sorry amazing dads who take on the role of caring for kids – I know you are out there, but on this one I’m just going to focus on the moms.
Moms who stay home and take on the full time job of caring for family and the home, and those who also take on the role of work-at-home mom (yes – redundant), might be faced with the challenges of proving their worth. Add to the imbalance that the tangible jobs like driving children to 3 different practices each day don’t include the unseen. Moms are often also charged with the mental components of motherhood, some of the most difficult and time consuming parts of the job.
Examples of Moms’ Mental Energy
- Planning for well-baby check-ups, high school sports physicals, and bi-yearly trips to the dentist
- Being aware of the deadlines for extracurricular sign-ups, Girl Scout cookie orders, and science fair registration
- Making sure the kids get new gym shoes, haircuts, glasses for school, and the right kinds of snacks for class parties
- Knowing how much TV time is too much, where the rest of the socks disappeared to, and when was the last time the goldfish tank was cleaned
- Remembering to purchase “just in case” trinkets and gifts for teachers, birthday parties, and coaches
- Meeting and remembering their children’s friends and their friends’ parents, where they live, and which ones have allergies to the dog or the pizza you might serve
OK – so I know that these seem frivolous and perhaps insignificant, but they represent just a minute fraction of the kinds of information that mom are expected to carry with them, remember for instant recall, and act upon. Dads can do it – they just aren’t expected by society to do it at the drop of a hat or the blink of a child’s eye. The next time you wonder if your work as a mom is worth it, pull out your fake Mom Paycheck and take a deep breath. The work is real, the challenges are definite, and the rewards are absolute. At the end of the day the reason why moms don’t get a paycheck is because their work is priceless.