In a moment of publicity genius, Salary.com compiled research to determine the value of a stay-at-home mom. The verdict: $134,121 a year.

And then the arrows started flying. The economists complained that the math is sloppy. (By the way, one of my brothers is an economist so I know that economists think everyone’s math is bad except their own.) The working moms who don’t make that much feel slighted. (They actually took time from their busy day to post petty, indignant comments like, “My friend says she spent a lot of extra money when she was home with her kids.”) And men are complaining that no one is paying attention to their contribution. (Take note: Men earn about 25% more than women in comparable jobs, so you do the math.)

But that is not the point. The point is that our society only values work that is paid, and people are not paid to parent, and that is a problem. The discussion should be about how to shift society so that parenting is more valued. That is what we should be talking about.

The Salary.com survey is a good way to start people thinking about how to value parenting.

4 replies
  1. JT
    JT says:

    These articles are always bogus. Your work is worth what others will pay you for it. The work of a typical housewife is no different from a fulltime housekeeper or nanny. That’s worth about $10-$20/hr, or $20-40K a year. The reason many (not all) moms stay at home is simply because they wouldn’t make much more than that at work after tax. Not too many moms leave six-figure incomes to be stay-at-home moms. Even then, it’s probably because the dad makes more than enough that it’s not a financial burden.

  2. Andrea >> Become a consultant
    Andrea >> Become a consultant says:

    Most of the stay at home parents I know left high-paying careers. We don’t hire nannies or daycares to look after our kids because it doesn’t make sense to have someone with limited education looking after your kids when you have graduate education. People don’t seem to see that they’re not getting the same quality when they outsource to a nanny or daycare.

  3. T
    T says:

    I think it’s better to have an extremely successful parent working long hours than one that works 40 hours.

    Here is why: the parent(s) knows how to be successful.

    Too many average Joe parents overprotect their children. They muck into their businesses when they shouldn’t, especially if their kids are more ambitious.

    These parents think they are protecting their kids from trouble. But in fact they impede on their kids chance of success.

    As a result, either the kid gives up on their dreams or their relationship is strained.

    Why would that be good?

  4. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    It’s Mother’s Day and salary.com has released its’ 12th annual Mom salary survey. The top ten jobs of a Mom lists ‘Daycare Center Teacher’as #3 ( http://www.salary.com/what-s-a-mom-worth-in-2012/slide/10/ ) –

    ” Annual salary: $26,881
    Hourly pay: $12.92
    Stay-at-home moms: 13.7 hours a week
    Working moms: 5.5 hours a week

    If your child isn’t at daycare or in school, mom is often in charge. And even if your kid isn’t in daycare, there’s no school on weekends. So that means she needs to be prepared.
    Taking care of one or more kids on a regular basis is hard work. If you’re not ready to keep them entertained and interested, you could have a full-blown riot on your hands. That’s why the moms in our survey are masters of playtime, naptime, lunches, sharing, arts and crafts, Play-Doh, story-time and – when necessary – proper discipline.”

    So, as you can see, this portion of the salary figure implies your child is in daycare or school. No mention here on this slide or anywhere else on the survey if you’re homeschooling. It’s too bad since not only is homeschooling a good way to educate your child but it also saves school districts money and increases the teacher to student ratio.

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