Parenting is hard work, and it’s largely thankless. Unless you count cute homemade cards from your kids as “payment,” no mom gets payment for their years of round-the-clock, stressful work. But every year, Salary.com estimates what moms would earn if parenting did pay like a “real” job.
The company made a list of all the “hybrid roles” that moms play, including executive housekeeper, bookkeeper, and teacher. It combined current salary information for all of these many roles to calculate a medium annual “salary” for moms.
This year, it came up with a salary of $162,581.
Whew! Salary.com thinks moms should be rich?! You know what? Yes — moms should be rich.
While it is extremely unlikely that moms will ever actually get paid a salary, let alone a salary this high, it’s a useful thought experiment. The surprisingly high number demonstrates just how much work moms do — they work a million jobs at once. And that, really, is the whole point.
“We would like to recognize both professional and stay-at-home Moms on their unwavering dedication to their families and responsibilities,” says Salary.com.
Stay-at-home moms work nearly nonstop, and they wear a lot of different hats. On any given day, a mom might have to do the equivalent work of a nanny, housecleaner, chauffeur, and bookkeeper, among other duties.
Of course, stay-at-home moms don’t get paid for these jobs. They’re forced to find another way to financially make it work, often by relying upon their spouses, stretching their savings, or going back to work earlier than planned.
But what if stay-at-home moms did get paid the average wage for all of the many jobs that they do?
Every year, Salary.com does the math to figure it out.
“We selected a handful of jobs that reflect a day in the life of a Mom,” says the posting. Using its handy “Salary Wizard,” Salary.com input all of the current salary information for those jobs.
Some of the jobs that it used for its “hybrid salary” included academic adviser, CEO, groundskeeper, laundry manager, staff nurse, and day care center teacher.
The resulting salary: $162,581.
Stay-at-home moms work an average of 96 hours per week, according to these calculations.
This year’s annual salary is $5,000 higher than the 2017 calculations. In fact, the salary just keeps getting higher and higher every year!
Importantly, Salary.com writes that the salary is for moms in general, even working moms. Theoretically, all moms (and to a certain extent, all parents) do some combination of these jobs on a daily basis.
And not surprisingly, people on the internet have a WIDE range of feelings about this salary number.
Some people are 100% in favor of how high the salary is. Motherhood is hard work, and if the salary seems a bit extreme, maybe that’s because people don’t actually recognize just how hard it is.
Others took the salary as an insult to working moms, who also do a great deal of parenting work throughout the day.
If pigs fly and this salary thing actually happens? Cut the check for all moms, please!
And of course, countless men chimed in with a “WHAT ABOUT DADS?”
If they do the same work, it follows that the salary would be the same.
Other people disagree with the notion that you should put a number on parenting. If you choose to have kids, then you should be happy to do the work for free, according to this mindset.
“To say one deserves a salary for these things is absurd. Having a family is a decision to take on these responsibilities,” one working mom agreed.
“It is not a career. It is not employment.”
And at least one mom injected a little humor into this increasingly tense and scary conversation.
She joked about the dime that she found doing laundry the other day.
We all know that moms aren’t going to magically start finding a salary in their bank accounts for their parenting work anytime soon. The point of Salary.com’s calculations is not to propose a new fiscal policy, but to remind folks that parenting is work, period.
Instead of arguing about the specifics, maybe just text your mom and say thank you.