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The Worth of a Stay-at-Home Mother

I’m going to say it: I get agitated when people post those infographics or studies that breakdown the job of stay-at-home mother and assign it a salary.  According to the latest figures, Salary.com places the average stay-at-home mother at $113,568.  They even allow you to calculate your own personal salary, adding in how much time you spend being your own housekeeper, cook, and daycare center teacher.

Except.

You know, whether or not you’re responsible for another living human, you do the vast majority of the jobs on that list simply to keep yourself alive and not living in squalor.  The fact that you do extra — such as grilling 4 chicken breasts instead of 1 — and your kids benefit too is beside the point.  Beyond that, I find the concept of assigning an enormous salary to a parent to be offensive because if we look at it closely, the child becomes the employer in this scenario since I am doing these tasks for them, and therefore, they are my boss.  And seriously, my kids are not my boss.  And I can’t be fired.  So… no.

money

Image: 401(K)2013 via Flickr

I looked at Salary.com’s list for creating my personal paycheck and broke down the tasks into three categories — do it anyway, do it only for the kids, or do it but definitely not like a professional who deserves to be paid.

Do It Anyway

  • Housekeeper (I’m the one who doesn’t want to live in a messy house.  Based on all the toys they leave in the living room, they could care less)
  • Cook (Last time I checked, I needed to eat too)
  • Facilities Manager (I don’t really think I do this job in addition to these other jobs.  Right?  It’s just as another description of these other tasks.  Sorry, Salary.com, you can’t get double paid for the same work)
  • Computer Operator (I have to get online too)
  • Janitor (How is this different from housekeeper?)
  • Laundry Machine Operator (Got to wash my own, so I might as well throw the twins’ clothes in as well)
  • Bookkeeper (Seriously, balancing my checkbook does not make me a bookkeeper, but fine)
  • Administrative Assistant (If I didn’t keep the calendar, I would miss out on my own appointments)
  • Groundskeeper (If that’s what we’re calling mowing a tiny patch of grass, then sure, I’m a groundskeeper sometimes)

Do It Only For the Kids

  • Daycare Center Teacher (I deserve buckets of money for my homework help.  Seriously)
  • Van Driver (Van driver sounds a bit perverted.  I’m more like a sedan driver as I schlep them to their various activities)

Maybe Do It But Not Like a Professional

  • Psychologist (Do I listen to their school woes?  Yes.  But it’s a slap in the face of psychologists to believe I can do their job just because I sat on a bed and listened to the longest tale ever of can-you-believe-she-said-that? while surrounded by stuffed animals)
  • Chief Executive Officer (My understanding of CEOs is that they’re paid the big bucks because everything is riding on their head.  They also have a board.  I don’t need to manage a staff or board just because I’m one of the heads of this house.  Why should I be paid like a CEO?)
  • Staff Nurse (Should I really be paid a salary to slap on a Band-aid?  I mean, isn’t that a little offensive to nurses who risk their health and go through years of schooling to do their job?)
  • Event Planner (I hardly think calling the pool to set up a birthday party counts as the same thing as an event planner)
  • Nutritionist (Giving an orange as a snack doesn’t make me a nutritionist.  It makes me a human who doesn’t want scurvy)
  • Logistics Analyst (Really?  I deserve a salary for ordering a movie from Amazon?)
  • Interior Designer (Putting the cushions back on the sofa after they’ve been co-opted for an American Girl Doll hospital doesn’t make me an interior designer)
  • Plumber (Yes, I’ve unclogged a toilet.  No, that doesn’t make me a plumber)
  • General Maintenance Worker (Again, I’ve screwed in a light bulb.  That doesn’t make me a maintenance worker)

So there are exactly two things I do on that list that I do solely for the kids and a few more that I may do, but not like an actual professional who holds those titles.  And the rest were going to be done anyway whether or not I had kids.  And no one calls it your job if you don’t have kids.  They call it managing your personal life.

Listen, I am technically a SAHM (or really a WAHM, but who’s counting?) and I have a deep respect for the amount of work it takes to be at home with kids day-in-and-day-out.  It takes a certain type of brain and a certain type of stamina to find it enjoyable.  It’s the same type of brain and stamina that is drawn towards being a teacher, another job that not everyone would find a good fit.  So, yes, I enjoy very much being a SAHM because it fits my personality.

And I hope to G-d that my kids appreciate how fucking good they have it with a parent who is always at the ready to sit with them for hours while they do their homework and bake homemade cookies and drive them to the ends of the earth (or, at the very least, the ends of the county).  I’m certainly aware of how much I benefited growing up with a stay-at-home parent. (Thank you, mum!)  And I was equally fine when that parent became a work-outside-the-home parent. (Thank you, mum!)

I’m not saying that stay-at-home mothers shouldn’t be appreciated BY THEIR KIDS (and given Hallmark cards in May as a show of gratitude.  Come on, wouldn’t that be sweet, a whole holiday in May set up to honour mothers?  Oh… wait…), and there are certainly special needs parents who do real hands-on nursing, homeschoolers who put in a six-hour school day at the kitchen table, and spirited kids who force their parents to spend more than a little time giving counsel.  But when the vast majority of that work was going to be done anyway, I’m not sure we can quantify a SAHM’s salary.  It’s just called… housework.  And that exists whether you have children or not.

I would say that this was my two cents, but I’m underpaid, so I sort of need those pennies.

29 comments

1 nicoleandmaggie { 01.28.14 at 8:15 am }

You could be an economist. 🙂

2 a { 01.28.14 at 8:29 am }

This sort of thing probably wouldn’t happen if people would stop saying “Oh – you’re a SAHM? Must be nice not to have to work!”

I have to disagree a little bit, though. Sure, I clean the house, but picking up after myself is less complex and engenders much less rage than picking up after other people. When I lived alone, I rarely had to do dishes, because what’s the point of making an elaborate meal for one?

On the other hand, even though I work, I still do all that stuff. And I get no appreciation for it (whereas my husband thinks that he should be thanked for every little chore he does – it’s only work if he does it, apparently). Someone should double my salary!

3 Rachel { 01.28.14 at 9:17 am }

I’m sooo glad you wrote this. They drive me crazy too…

I absolutely appreciate and respect the parents that stay home with their kids. I’ve done it before with my nephews – and it’s not for the fainthearted. I really think they do a great thing, and it’s definitely only for certain people who can handle it. I respect and admire these parents, because I really don’t know if I could do it. It’s a lot of work, but I admire that they’re doing it because they love them and they want to raise good, healthy kids. I am truly sorry that their husbands or children are not more thankful, because they really do SO much for their families.

Having said that, I feel like everywhere I look on social media, people are shoving in our faces how much work is involved as a SAHM. I have never seen a single statement on there claiming it’s NOT a lot of work being a SAHM, and yet I see – every single day – a post about how much work it is, and how much money they think they should be making and all the huge and difficult things they do for their children. I don’t see, anywhere in these posts, anything that suggests they’re grateful for these children. All I see is complaints about how much work they are and how under appreciated they are. Maybe that’s the infertile in me rearing her ugly head. I know it’s spurred by the people who say to them that “it must be nice” or “it’s not a lot of work” … but then maybe these statements should be sent to those people, not the vast majority of us who don’t think being a SAHM is an easy job.

Sorry, I rambled. I want to close this with I respect and admire all the work that SAHM’s do. I do. However I have people who think my job is easy because it’s a desk job. I have people who think I don’t work as hard because I’m in an office, not out mucking stalls. And in one area, they’re right I don’t put out the physical expenditures they do. But by the end of the day my brain is aching and exhausted because all I do is think and write. So it’s all a matter of perspective, and I think most, if not all, jobs experience the same kind of ignorance some where along the way.

4 Marianne { 01.28.14 at 9:36 am }

The first 2 years I was a part time worker, I worked every weekend two 12 hour shifts as a nurse, while my husband worked a M-F 10-12 hours a day job. Thus we didn’t have to pay for daycare/nanny and bonus – lots of one on one time with each parent. But it SUCKED. I never had a break. I got all the responsibility of a SAHM, yet never had my husband at home to help, never the weekend to regroup and clean the house, etc. Oh man it was tough. Plus colic made the nights oh so restful. But I digress.
2.5 months ago we moved to the Middle East for DH’s job. Biggest draw (for me) was it made it financially possible for me to be a SAHM. (Kind of a WAHM, as I am still teaching an online class, but the income is so small that it really doesn’t count).

And life is SO. MUCH. BETTER. I have energy, I can spend a few hours being totally engaged with my daughter, reading, playing, flash cards. But I also sometimes veg out with her and watch a video. Or let her play on the iPad while I take a bath. And then I get some help on the weekends!!

I do feel unappreciated sometimes. I think all housewives do. It is hard work, but it’s the kind of hard work I thought I might never be blessed enough to get to experience.

5 Heather { 01.28.14 at 10:02 am }

I work outside the home at job that is, at times, pretty stressful. My husband stays at home with the kids (pre-k and 1st grader). So he makes sure that all the stuff we need to do gets done. Homework, bills being paid, etc.
He is, hands down, the best home manager. I tell him that all the time. Does he deserve a 6 figure salary? No, not really. Because, like you said a lot of it is the same stuff that we would do anyway.
I think he deserves a ‘bonus’ when I have a 55+ hour work week and he is a solo parent for much of the week. We do that for each other though, I’ll take the kids out somewhere so he has ‘alone time’ on Saturday and he’ll do the same for me on Sunday.
The other thing that rubs me the wrong way about those stay at home parent calculators is that they assume you can, and should, put a price on doing your job as a parent. What my husband does with my girls? Is priceless. He cares about them, he talks to them, he feeds them nutritious food, he plays with them, etc. Not for a salary but because he’s their dad, he loves them. You can’t put a price on that.

6 Alexicographer { 01.28.14 at 10:47 am }

I think the kind of calculation you describe is useful when the question is, “Should the AH spouse carry life insurance, and how much?” And, otherwise, right, I get the reason why people want to calculate this stuff, but I also see your point.

And. My life would be much, much simpler if I weren’t a spouse and a mom. I’d ditch cable and stop worrying about which school district I live in and being within walking distance of a school. And to be honest (given that I am a wife and mom) there’s pretty much no amount of money you could pay me to be AH, whether S’ing or W’ing. No, no, I mean, there is. But it would be a LOT. But that reflects my personal preferences, I don’t know that it means that my work is (inherently) easier than running my household. Though I find it so.

I think I’m rambling. Over and out.

7 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 01.28.14 at 10:49 am }

I actually love those things where they assign non-monetary things monetary values. (Apparently male fertility is valued at about 300k in 2007 dollars. Fascinating!)

But it doesn’t seem like they’re doing it *for real* here – they’re just adding up what people in various arguably-related roles do on an average hourly wage basis. And to be honest, I wouldn’t pay me much at all as a psychologist (let’s not even talk about my worth as a housekeeper).

If you’re going to do it, do it properly, is all. This sort of thing should be less about the arithmetic and more about deep judgements over the sort of value we, as a society, place upon certain events and experiences and/or the avoidance thereof. Otherwise it’s just silly.

8 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 01.28.14 at 10:58 am }

Oh! Thought of something else.

They actually did a study (of many) on end-of-life care givers and it turns out that having your son mop your brow in your final hours is worth a lot more than having a trained professional mop your brow in your final hours. So I don’t know if your comments about professionals such as psychologists/nurses (any of the nurturing roles) are really correct. You may not be doing much more in one sense than slapping on a bandaid but if you asked your child how much they’d pay for a bandaid to be put on by person X/person Y (etc) you might find you’re actually selling yourself rather short on those ones.

Not to disrespect these professionals or their training, but you’ve got to realise where the value lies, and it’s not all in knowing your shit or acting competently. (And as a parent, thank goodness for that, am I right?)

That said, most of the time you wouldn’t pay the absolute earth to swap a family member in for all these things, so I think “priceless” goes a bit too far. Being able to buy food and shelter (or have a job done professionally) is still worth something, after all, and at a certain point you’d say, “Love you and all, but for what it’s worth I’ll make do.”

9 Sharon { 01.28.14 at 11:23 am }

I think that those calculators are more correct if you look at the “value” as what it would cost to outsource the services provided by a SAHM, rather than what she should actually be paid. Because you’re right: a lot of that stuff would be done anyway, just as part of maintaining a household–though maybe not to the same degree–and the services moms provide (nursing, counseling, teaching) are not exactly on a par with professionals.

Just my $.02.

10 fifi { 01.28.14 at 11:37 am }

My mother used to use that line with me and my brothers, that she was a “chauffeur and a nurse and a cook” etc. For years, I let it wash over me, until the day when I told her “if you were a real cook, you’d learn not to burn things.” Ingratitude, thy age is 14.

11 Pepper { 01.28.14 at 12:11 pm }

Agree. But I still get really irritated when people assume that because I do not technically get paid for anything I do, I therefore do nothing. Heck, I was a teacher for 10 years and did lots of stuff I didn’t get paid for. I still did it. We as a society place too much value on the idea of salaries. I’m happy with what I do. I think I’m a pretty sweet SAHM. Would I like a little extra cash? Sure, but who wouldn’t? Whatever…

12 Peg { 01.28.14 at 12:19 pm }

So glad you wrote this. I’m not a SAHM or a full time working mom since I work 3 days at home and 2 days in the office. I’m not a good fit inn either category and find the whole “mommy wars” thing silly. Putting monetary values on roles within a family is absolutely absurd to me. My role in our family is wife/mother…does that mean I should get paid when we have sex? My six year old cracks me up all the time…does he get paid for providing entertainment? Monetizing roles within a family just seems a waste of time and energy to me. So I figure out that I’m worth$130k for the stuff I do to take care of our family…what does this information do for me? Make those around me value me more? I get more from a simple thank you from my 13 year old for a nice dinner OR an extra hug from my husband after a long day dealing with the kids and their issues. Since none of that cash is coming my way, knowing my economic value as a mom does nothing. We are a family, not a business.

Sorry for the long rant…these things just seem a bit silly and feed the SAHM vs working mom construct. It doesn’t foster understanding and empathy between moms in either camp…or certainly me who doesn’t fit in either.

13 Katie { 01.28.14 at 12:28 pm }

The other point I notice when reading this list: which of these tasks do working mothers (and fathers because this doesn’t all fall on the women) NOT have to do? Housekeeping, cooking, and even grounds operatoring are tasks that most people do, not only whether-or-not they have kids, but also whether or not they have other, out-of-the-home jobs. And the extra tasks that get tacked on with a child don’t disapear if you work outside the home either. I get offended with the suggestion that people working outside the home don’t do these things at all, or at least that we shouldn’t get theoretically paid for them like those that stay at home to do them full-time. I don’t think any less of SAHMs (or SAHFs), but I also resent when working mothers are percieved as less motherly.

14 Working mom of two { 01.28.14 at 1:11 pm }

Thank you. I get irritated by these too. I’m not saying being a sahm is easy. I was one for the first 5 mo of my kiddos’ lives and that period is certainly hard. But what gets me is that us working patents still have to do all that stuff on yo of working a full time job. Cook/clean/keep house stocked with dipes etc./plan activities/pay bills/take care of sick children/etc. etc. Now that is hard. So excuse me for saying this, but I DIO think being a parent and working FT IS harder than being a sahm. There, I said it. I would love to have nap time every day to relax or more realistically catch up on cleaning/organizing/etc.

15 Melanie { 01.28.14 at 1:24 pm }

I love this post so much. Can we be best friends? 😉

Seriously, I am at a SAHM and I have always hated those breakdowns that claim we are all those things AT THE SAME TIME. I am not putting in 40 hours a week housekeeping, AND 40 hours driving them around AND 40 hours counseling them AND 40 hours teaching them, etc. It’s just silly. Stop it, people. No one would pay me over $100k to do what I do, in my own home, for myself and my own kids. It’s a hard life to live and it can be isolating and you definitely need to have the right personality to enjoy it. But that doesn’t translate into a high paying job.

Thank you for wording it better than I can.

16 Eliz Frank { 01.28.14 at 2:09 pm }

I couldn’t stop laughing even though I know this is a serious matter and the comparisons need to stop. I kept thinking that hmm, they forgot to add surgeon for when we fix boo boos. Oy vey!
Thanks again Mel for ICLW. I completed the rounds on all the blogs with this address. I learned a lot and had a good time of it too. 😉
Best wishes,
Elizabeth

17 Nicole { 01.28.14 at 2:11 pm }

My beef with the list is that a lot of the jobs on the SAHM list are EXACTLY the same as the WOHM or the WAHM or any combo. Raising kids is hard work. I’ve been a working mom for 2.5 years and a SAHM for 2 years. The difference they should factor in is that I feel less guilt on a daily basis. I get more sleep than when I was working because I am not doing laundry in the middle of the night all of the time just to keep up. Once your kids are in school as a SAHM you have it made. How much time does it really take to clean the bathrooms and vacuum if both your kids are out of the house? The hardest work is up front in the toddler years but honestly no matter have you slice it a mom is a mom! I got unfriended by someone on FB because she was posting about all the “work” she had done with laundry, cleaning, making lunches, etc and said that it was “the life of a SAHM” and I simply replied “Sounds like the life of ALL moms” because it is!

18 SRB { 01.28.14 at 2:16 pm }

I don’t know…I look at infographics like that as a way of highlighting the value of the unpaid/invisible work (that most persons) do, broken down into dollars and cents in order to communicate with the lowest common denominator. And then there’s the link-baity aspect. However, I can appreciate them (as both a SAHM and a WFHM) because while I don’t necessarily believe I “deserve” to be paid a wage, I certainly feel the work I do is “worth” more than the $0 I earn for it. They (the graphics or memes) are a poor attempt of defining the worth and value of a stay-at-home-parent, but that is what it is, essentially. This discussion (of worth and value) is just so much larger than an estimated dollar figure.

19 Geochick { 01.28.14 at 2:29 pm }

I wonder how much I make as a working mom? I mean, according to that website, I have a full-time job ON TOP OF ALL THOSE OTHER DUTIES. Ok, so S helps, so maybe I’m only half doing all that stuff, but I still have to do half of it.

The whole thing is asinine and it’s making me mad. I like your counterpoints to most of that list. Duh, have to eat, have to clean, have to do laundry. Whether there’s kids or not.

20 Pam/wordgirl { 01.28.14 at 2:35 pm }

Hi Mel,

I’m always lurking and have meant to comment but have been so off my game lately. I’ll preface this by saying I am a stay-at-home mother who has her own creative work. It isn’t as if I don’t have a dog in this fight it’s just that I look at this is such a personal choice… I know where my limits are and made a decision for my family etc. etc. I was shocked to realize it has been seven years maybe more since I’ve been in the college classroom teaching.

At any rate I’m going to show my age here and say that as a child of the second wave feminists those numbers seem to really come out of a time when we were trying to shift thinking about women in the workplace. It is interesting to me that while many conversations have evolved over time there seems to be something disconnected in the conversations of feminism as if the feminism of even 20 years ago is not applicable in the same way as today.

To be completely honest as a child of the late 70s and 80s I see today’s world as being so commodified. Everything is about what we buy, becoming a brand, buying and selling… It’s no surprise me that we need to continue to quantify these things with numbers. Technology has this miraculous power to do so much good, level differences, bring us vast amounts of knowledge… And yet what we use it for? Selling things.

I know, I know… It’s all a matter of perspective. For every misuse of the technology there are amazing things that people are discovering but I still feel a little jaded right now.

File this comment under crotchety old lady post 🙂

So anyway, this particular conversation about attributing wage to the stay-at-home mother belongs to the conversation started 40 years ago and yet we don’t contextualize it for this modern age.

Xo

Pam

21 Jenn Porter { 01.28.14 at 2:56 pm }

I’m a SAHM and think it’s ridiculous too. Yes, I am worth a lot. But so are working mothers, many of whom have to do almost ALL of the things I do, and also work full time outside of the home. So there.

22 ANDMom { 01.28.14 at 4:54 pm }

I think the problem with all of it is that it’s not a competition. Just as their is no Pain Olympics, there is no best way to be a mom/parent. It’s hard staying at home. It’s hard working out of the home. Parenting is just flat out hard – wonderful and messy and awful and amazing, but hard! – and both ways have benefits and drawbacks.

Yes, assigning a monetary value because of the varied tasks is stupid – but really, no more stupid than 95% of things that come down the internet pipeline. The true monetary value in staying at home is what you’d pay in childcare for the hours that you would work – which wildly varies based on location and childcare needs – and in how much time off/lost pay would be accumulated by the working parent/s to tend to parental duties (medical appointments, tending sick children, etc). For some families maybe it’s not much, and the value is in the non-financial sense. For some families it means it’s ridiculous for both parents to work because they are spending more in childcare than one of the salaries they are bringing in.

In the end, none of it matters. I’m doing what I feel is best for my family, and you’re doing what’s best for yours. I work hard, you work hard. Maybe if we spent more time acknowledging that and less time trying to “win”, there would be less a need for stupid internet calculators to provide a measure of “worth” for a segment of the population that continually feels looked down upon.

23 chickenpig { 01.28.14 at 6:41 pm }

When I was laid off from my job, I didn’t get another job because I couldn’t find one that would pay me enough money to keep two babies in infant care. Do you have any idea how much that shit costs??? When I worked as a day care teacher I only made $8 an hour. It isn’t how much money you MAKE it is how much you save your SPOUSE by them not having to pay it to someone else. We live on 2.5 acres, when my husband wasn’t here to mow the lawn we paid my nephew $50 bucks a week to mow it because I couldn’t trust my kids to behave for the hour and change while I rode around on a tractor. I don’t think if my time as being what doing laundry is worth, it is the value of my time that I could be doing somewhere else, or my husband, and that isn’t cheap. When I go back to work in the spring, we will pay the babysitter nearly $200 a week just to cover the 2.5 hrs a day between the time he goes to work and the time I come home (he works second shift when I’m working). My husband doesn’t pay me to watch the kids from the time he is out of the house and from when they get on the bus, or from the time they get off the bus until the time he comes home (obviously), but if I walked out of here tomorrow and didn’t look back he would be paying a crap load in childcare…as most working parents do. But…now that all of the kids are in school full day, I’m really only a SAHM because my employer won’t pay me to work year round. I hate being a day care worker and a housekeeper, I’ve been paid to do both, and those jobs suck.

24 Queenie { 01.28.14 at 9:49 pm }

At least people are talking about it. Because it’s rare to hear anyone talk about the value of stay at home dads. And we’ve lived in 3 cities and one small town in the last 4 years, and we have yet to meet another one. Seriously, why aren’t there more men doing homework and baking cookies and driving the kids around the county?

I am soooo off-topic, but that’s where I went with this, because I think it’s weird that in this enlightened age, we don’t know more stay at home dads.

25 Brid { 01.28.14 at 11:54 pm }

And really, doesn’t this type of thinking–that there’s this financial disregard for a very serious practical value–just make people feel bad about themselves?

26 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 01.29.14 at 5:58 am }

I had to come back to this because we had a great discussion about it last night – so here’s my revised comment.

There are two ways to calculate the salary of a SAHP depending on why you want the info. If you want to know how much life insurance to buy, then you do it the salary.com way. It doesn’t really matter that you do it anyway even without kids or that you’re not a professional. If you were gone and your spouse had to assign your work to an outside person s/he would have to start paying for it at full professional rates (and the fact that they would get a slightly different service for their money is neither here nor there – a psychologist isn’t going to do a half-arsed job at half price just to imitate what you were providing).

Of course, your spouse (or whoever would take over care of the house and children) could also start doing your job themselves, but then they’d have to give up something else. If they’re spending a lot of time sipping martinis by the pool at the moment then of course there’s more leeway in the system to save costs than if you’re both up to the hilt in looking after everything and making ends meet.

Either way, unless everyone in your house cooks their own dinner, it means if the cook goes then the cook needs to be replaced somehow – there is nobody there anymore who is “doing it anyway and can throw on an extra couple of chicken breasts no trouble”.

Of course, in this model, the SAHP works for My Household (Inc) which is a sort of cooperative organisation with appointed directors which utilises a range of services from cooking to childcare, and not actually for the kids (I’m with you on that one).

The other way to calculate salary is the way I was talking about the first time. This involves basically “translating” non-tradable things into monetary terms as a tool to explore and discuss their value, bearing in mind that money has no inherent value and is only a tool for exploring, discussing and agreeing upon the value of goods and services in a society where our circles of transaction have widened to the point where social ties are no longer a workable means of deciding who should do what or get what.

It’s not immediately obvious what good this type of calculation does individuals, because we all assign value according to our own preferences and we vary widely on that. But here’s the thing: we all make these choices within an environment which either supports or discourages our values. And translating non-tradeable things into monetary terms is one useful tool for assessing whether the way our society is put together is a good reflection of our collective values, and if not, then maybe policies need to be changed so that people are more free to exercise their values.

Putting things in monetary terms is also a useful tool for making things “the government’s problem”. This is more of a psychological trick. You can lobby til you’re blue in the face for this or that policy change “for the sake of group X” but until you get people to think of it as the government’s responsibility to make a change then good luck with that. Putting things in broad economic terms makes it easier for the government to believe they should do something where the government is used to thinking of its role as primarily economic.

So in this example, calculating the monetary worth of a SAHP might be a good tool to use when discussing policy changes which affect people’s abilities to choose how (and even whether) to parent.

Anyway, I love this stuff and I also think it’s really important to look at the job of a SAHP from these angles.

27 JB { 01.29.14 at 8:47 am }

Seriously just had this conversation with my mom. I work, and I do all these things. And like A said, my husband feels that he should get praised when he does one little thing, like bringing the baby’s towel downstairs. (though, in his defense, he thanked me this morning for everything I do to keep our house running)

I don’t know how I feel about all of this. Part of me wants to be a SAHM, part of me thinks I’ll go stir crazy or become some crazy-obsessive banner maker or something to fill the void left from leaving a career? I don’t know.

In other news, my blog is private right now. Trying to figure out it’s direction.

28 Working mom of two { 01.29.14 at 10:35 am }

I guess the point is as a working parent it’s irritating when I am dead tired and my bathroom hadn’t been cleaned for weeks and we’re having pasta yet again to see sahms complaining about how hard it is to go everything. Yes, it is. But try doing that along with a 40+ hour a week job plus commute time. And it’s not always “this is the choice for my family and that is your choice.” For many of us it is not a choice. I dobt work for the glory of my career or to keep up a lavish lifestyle summering on the riviera. Rather, we couldn’t afford our mortgage on our modest house, a decent car, etc. I would actually prefer to be a sahm for the first few years of my kids’ lives. But the reality is wevdpent over 100k on fertility tx. I’m a highly educated professional int now mid 40s and realistically even if I could afford to quit (DH can’t either) it would be extremely hard to find a job in this field at my current level in my late 40s. So I am really sick of sahms making it sound like I chose this over my kids.

29 nicoleandmaggie { 01.29.14 at 1:05 pm }

BTW, a really fun discussion is about whether or not we should tax the work that SAHP do. 🙂 http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/haig-simmons-taxes-is-the-tax-system-unfair-to-paid-labor/

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