Good Company

Good Company
Good Company

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Baloney: Stay at home mom "salary"

Once a year, near Mother's Day, we get a report on how much money a "full time stay at home" mom would receive "if paid for all her work" - like this one from Reuters:
A full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work, an amount similar to a top U.S. ad executive, a marketing director or a judge, according to a study released Wednesday.

A mother who works outside the home would earn an extra $85,876 annually on top of her actual wages for the work she does at home, according to the study by Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts

To reach the projected pay figures, the survey calculated the earning power of the 10 jobs respondents said most closely comprise a mother's role -- housekeeper, day-care teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive and psychologist.
I call "baloney."

First, let me say I am very pro Mother. I loved my mother. She worked at home as a professional writer and also did a lot of chauffeuring, Cub Scout leading and Little League baseball watching. Plus cooking, cleaning, etc.

My wife also works (as a publisher) from home and our four kids are all different and all great- a testament to her. She, too, has chauffeured, cleaned, cooked, etc.

But her cooking,cleaning, child rearing and the like has been shared.

By me. And I suspect that other fathers do things around the house, too. Like driving the kids to ballet, cleaning, cooking and more. And things many mothers do not do- like plumbing, carpentry, painting, yard work, heavy lifting, teaching kids how to throw a baseball, garbage take out, car maintenance, computer repair, coaching sports teams, scouting volunteer work, etc. And I, too, work a full day.

My point - Moms, whether stay at home or otherwise, do not operate in a vacuum (which, incidentally, I also do). Instead, in the cases with which I am familiar, Moms are part of a team. A partnership. And, as in most partnerships, jobs are shared, split, or divided along lines acceptable to the partners.

There are many things my wife does much better than I do.

And there are many things she does as a mother that could never be replaced by a maid, driver, cook or, as a matter of fact, by me. Like the way she loves her children and how well she understands them and nourishes them. No price can ever be put on that aspect of mothering. When our children honor her on Mother's Day, it is because of that unconditional love and nuturing and not because of her driving or home management skills.

The Reuters article, in attempting to quantify the value of mothering, completely misses the real value of Motherhood.

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