Welcome to the mommy wars, nuclear style.
An MSNBC.com story estimating the salary value of being a stay-at-home mom — $138,095 — prompted a heated discussion on the merits of staying at home with kids versus also working outside the home.
While many women on both sides of the fence weighed in, quite a few men — including stay-at-home dads — had passionate opinions on the topic as well.
Here are some excerpts:
No dollar value to staying at home
Stay-at-home moms should stop comparing their daily activities to compensable activities. Those women chose to have children, and chose to stay home. Staying home is worth $0.00. That is why so many other mothers go to work and earn money, in addition to their chosen motherly responsibilities. There are essential responsibilities in life, and those that come along with motherhood are among them. Because I put my clothes on every morning should I be paid like a fashion model? Because I drive my car should I be paid like Dale Earnhardt, Jr.?
If you chose to be a mother and chose to stay home, you chose to accept the fact that your actions are not worth any money. However, money is not the only measure of value. Of course, though, capitalist America has to turn something as natural as motherhood into a financial statement.
Staying at home a luxury
My wife is a stay-at-home mom. ... Stay-at-home parenting is a wonderful luxury, and it's a shame that it's a luxury today. I think that what it's worth is far beyond the measure of dollars, and turning it into a list of "jobs" cheapens and demeans the real work that my wife and I put in to raising our children, which is the work of preparing them to be productive, happy, fulfilled people. There's no dollar value on that.
Working parents do two jobs
I am a working, single mother. I get my child ready for school, get him breakfast and get him there. I spend the day doing my job. Then I go home. I plan and prepare meals. I launder clothing, make beds, clean toilets, stitch up ripped pants, care for my child when he's sick, ensure that he completes his homework, participate in parent-teacher conferences and attend school functions, chauffeur to sports and music lessons, plan weekend entertainment, manage my household finances, arrange for car maintenance, fix small appliances, move furniture and decorate for the holidays.
So how much of all that stuff is “extra,”deserving of special, separate note that might be due a salary if I were to perform the work for someone else? All of it is, of course — if I were doing that work for someone else.
But here's the catch: You don't charge to paint your own toenails, so it's ridiculous to say I'm due $45 because I gave myself a pedicure. It's equally absurd to say I'm due $130,000 for the work I do to raise my child and run my household.
No choice but to stay at home
Let me first say that basing this story off of a stay-at-home mom is wrong — clearly it should be written as a stay-at-home parent. I have been a stay-at-home dad now for three years. I have 3-year-old twin girls that I raise and it is not by choice as some have said here.
With the cost of daycare and the rise in gas prices, it is not possible for me to work because I would be losing money. People need to open their eyes and see that not all people who stay at home with their children are doing so because they have a choice, and the fact that stay-at-home fathers are out there, too.
Staying at home undervalued
We made a decision as a family for me to be a stay-at-home parent. ... I do not expect to be paid for what I do, but I definitely think that this choice is underappreciated. If what I do is worth $0.00 then someone tell me why I should bother to have life insurance on myself? ... I think the point of this article was to illustrate quite simply that stay-at-home parents are in fact extremely underappreciated and undervalued for what they do.
Stay at home moms have it better
I have two children, a full-time job, (and a) husband who works full time. Our children have piano, cub scouts, dance, karate, softball. We work all day and come home and have to do all the stuff a "stay-at-home-mom" has to chance to do all day. The stay-at-home moms I know always have time to do the things they want to do. I barely have time to do the things I need to do. What is so great about them? I'm tired of everyone praising them. Us working mother/fathers do everything they do and more. ... Let them try living my life for a week.
— Mom of the 2000
I am now a stay-at-home mother, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, or any amount of money. ... I didn't have kids for another person to be with them more than I would be. Yes, some people don't have a choice and they have to have childcare or at-home sitters. But for those of us who are lucky enough to be able to stay home and raise their kids, good for you! The work we do at home is invaluable, but I do it because I want to, not because I have to. I want to see my child grow up.
Both working and parenting possible
I don't choose to work nor would I choose to stay at home. I chose to contribute to society in more ways than one. I work a 40-plus hour week in my job and I am an amazing mother that works around the clock to make sure I am raising a child that will also contribute to society in a positive way.
All parenting is hard
I am a full-time working mother, who works nights, (while) my husband works days. I work nights so I can be home with my children most of the day and cut babysitting costs. I do all the work a stay-at-home mom does, and I work 40-50 hours a week as a police officer, so imagine what I have to put up with while I work. I don't want sympathy — I chose this life and it works for us. Being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of work. Anyone who raises healthy, well-adjusted children, working or not, deserves praise. It is not easy, but wonderful!
Can't afford to be home
I would love to be a stay-at-home mom with my son. It is a shame that in order to make ends meet, there has to be two incomes coming into a household. The time we miss with our children is gone forever, and the babysitters and childcare centers get to see all of the firsts, all because being a stay-at-home parent is a luxurythat normal parents can’t afford.
'Stay-At-Home Parent Strong'
I would like to see any working parent switch places with their stay-at-home spouse for one week and see just how humble it makes them. I did it. I lost 15 pounds, lost half the sleep I usually get, did half of what my wife does on a daily basis and gained A LOT of respect and appreciation for my wife. And I am a soldier. Army Strong? How about "Stay-At-Home Parent Strong"?
Shouldn't have to defend staying home
How sad that we have come to a point in our culture and society that being a stay-at-home parent has to be defended. I feel so blessed to be able to do just that. I have worked as a school teacher for nearly a decade and chose to make a financial sacrifice to stay home and raise my children. We had to be very frugal for many years to make ends meet, but we did it, and I am proud of it. My husband is an excellent father, husband, and provider and I feel it is my choice and obligation to do my part to make our home life nurturing and (a) place of respite for every family member.
No right answer
As a working mom of two young boys ... I have to say that I am completely frustrated by the continued validation that we must give to stay-at-home mothers. Are they so insecure that we must put a monetary value on what they should be doing for intrinsic reward? I work because I enjoy it, and on top of that I am a mother who is 150 percent engaged in her children’s lives. ... Please stop trying to answer the question about whether it is better to work or stay at home. That answer is specific to the needs of the mother, the child and the family as a whole. There is no one correct answer.
Staying at home the right thing
I firmly believe that the value of the stay-at-home parent is worth its weight in gold. I believe it is in the best interest not only of the child but also to society. ... Just look around and see how our children have just frankly gone mad. ... I attribute this to the lack of consistent parental supervision and discipline that children need in the early years.
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