The old adage that “a mother's work is never done” remains as true now as ever. Today's stay-at-home moms are learning what their predecessors always knew — they'd be making a lot of money doing their job outside the home.
Just in time for Mother's Day, an informal study conducted by Web site Salary.com shows that stay-at-home moms would earn an average of $131,471 annually, including overtime, if they received a paycheck.
A sampling of the 5.4 million stay-at-home mothers were asked to come up with job titles that fit a general description of their daily routines.
The titles — which reflected the most time-consuming parts of their day — include day-care center teacher, van driver, housekeeper, cook, chief executive officer, nurse and general maintenance worker, the survey showed.
Of course, a stay-at-home parent does not work typical office hours. The hypothetical median salary is based on a 100-hour work week and assumes caring for at least two children of school age.
“The importance of this calculation or this estimate is just calling attention to the fact that being a stay-at-home mom is not a cop out, it's not the woman's way out of the work force and it's not a job of no value,” said Bill Coleman, senior vice president of compensation at Salary.com. “There is a lot of value there, and some would say it's even priceless.”
Salary.com, which tracks what jobs pay, suggested that the annual base pay for a 40-hour stay-at-home mom's workweek would be $43,461. Mothers would earn an additional $88,009 a year for 60 hours of overtime each week.
“I think I should definitely make that much,” said Joanna Butti, who stays at home to care for her twin boys. “It's a hard job.”
Coleman said feedback on the figure was mixed. Some felt mothers deserved more, some less. In general, though, many were pleased to see a figure above $100,000.
“Stay-at-home moms are enthusiastic and upbeat about their jobs, they didn't seem to need external validation,” Coleman told Reuters. “They were also happy that they were getting attention, and that somebody was out there telling the world that what they do is valuable, and perhaps more valuable than one would expect.”
Mothers said you cannot attach a figure to the time spent with their kids.
“I'm giving 150 percent of myself to them many hours a day,” said Debra Miley, who stays home with two-year old daughter Olivia and four-month old son Gregory. “You cannot attach a dollar value to the time that you spend nurturing your child if you're lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom.”