Even before I had kids of my own, I'd have friends and family drone on about how hard is was being a stay at home mom and how all of a sudden you become and executive chef, school teacher, live in maid, feeding machine practically over night. This conversation was typically followed up with how much a mom would make if they earned a salary to be a stay at home mom... and it always leaned outrageously somewhere between like 200k -400k a year - I mean wow that's more money than I've ever made with my college education! This got me thinking though, yes motherhood would be a little more tolerable at times if I was raking in 200k a year to do all the things... but outside of patting ourselves on the back, and giving ourselves a sense of false monetary worth, could we really make that much raising children and tending to a family if it were a full time paid job? Is it even realistic to think about what a stay at home mom really is worth in the workforce?
First I'll admit, I am not really fond of the idea of comparing and placing monetary value on motherhood, mostly because money shouldn't be the deciding factor of ones value to begin with. But for curiosity's sake let's explore how much a stay at home mom would make if compared to a full time job.
Motherhood is often compared to working 3 full-time jobs... but I'd like to think that its the difference between having a full-time job and running a business. And actually if you think about it, most entrepreneurs work almost as hard as moms do... so.... ;)
Let's start with estimating how much it would cost to outsource the labor itself. A stay at home moms responsibilities are to tend to the children (whether this is shared with your partner or not its still a high priority). cook/feed the family, house cleaning is a must regardless of whether your home is spotless 24/7 or not. and when the babies are well.... babies overnight hours blur into day time hours so we will add in an over night nanny service.
Food: The average private chef probably makes about $40 an hour and on average makes about $400 for the week cooking dinner for a family of 4. Although to me, $400 a week seems a little low... but that's just for dinner. Now figure your average stay at home mom makes 3 meals a day plus snacks and we are up to about $1,000 a week give or take! That's about $52,000 a year!
Cleaning & Home Management: An average cleaning lady makes around 25-40 an hour... but lets not forget you are a live in cleaning lady - ahem, I mean stay at home mom.... but for maths sake lets take a round $30 and hour and you'd maybe spend about 12 hours of your week truly cleaning the home - that brings you to about $18,000 a year
Child Care: in my state the cost of a nanny is about $23 per hour, but lets not forget these amazing children you are raising need more than just babysitting you are a nanny and a preschool teacher rolled all into one. You teach them their first and most fundamental skills. So for a regular 8 hour day making around $23 per hour you'd be making $184 a day - but you're live in so those working hours could fluctuate and in reality as the HBIC you're probably working well over 10 hours so that bring us to a yearly total of $83,000 for child care and education.
Entry Level Night Nurse: Don't think I'm going to short change us here ladies. Every one of us at one point has been siting up at 2AM sobbing while rocking and feeding our screaming newborns - and while there is no compensation big enough to take the edge off post partum hormones if we were paid the wage of a night nurse that would be a good $200 a night. That's right, all those sleepless nights add up to $73,000 a year!!!
And now for the grand total:
Cooking- $52,000 yr.
Home Management - $18,000 yr
Child Care & Home Schooling- $83,000
Night Nurse- $73,000
$226,000 per year - for at least the first couple of years. Once the kids are sleeping through the night a stay at home mom would make $150,000 per year! That's still a big chunk of change!
I think our American society has programmed us all to find personal worth and value with education and job experience and a lot of us are beating ourselfs up as mothers for not adding to your families financial security - but as you can see, the truth is, if you were being handed a paycheck to raise our future generation you'd be making more than 80% of people working their day jobs. So while money isn't all that matters this just goes to show you that you deserve that break momma and you're doing a great job just as you are.
What are your thoughts on stay at home mom pay? let me know in the comments. :)