What is a Mom Worth?
by Wendy Sachs
I’ve always had a hunch that I am being grossly underpaid. After all, shouldn’t I be more flush given that by 9 p.m. each night I’m so wiped that my body feels like it’s been mowed down by a Mack truck and I need a triple shot of espresso just to get me moving in the morning.
Last week, Salary.com confirmed my suspicion. While I get bi-weekly direct deposits courtesy of my office gig in publicity, I’ve gotten bupkus over the past eight years for my vastly more complicated, messy, exhausting and yes, sometimes heartwarming career as Mommy.
According to Salary.com I should be earning $85,876 for the “mom job” portion of my work day while my stay-at-home mom friends deserve $134,121 for their various labors of love. Wow! Well, it’s no wonder why we moms feel so gypped. My eight years of lost wages would total a whopping $687,008. Jeez, with that kind of cash I may actually be able to afford sleep away camp, braces, college or more importantly, a long overdue spa visit for me.
Salary.com calculated the mommy paycheck based on an algorithm that took into account hours worked and the job titles that best matched a mom’s definition of her work including: housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, CEO and psychologist. The less glam jobs like launderer and van driver yielded low hourly wages. But add up the oodles of hours worked together with the more skilled and higher paying professions of CEO and psychologist, and moms are apparently deserving of some serious cash.
While I applaud the website for putting a price on a mom’s worth even if it’s just a clever PR move, I think Salary.com’s press release must have either been written by a guy trapped in a time warp or Dr. Laura. Trying to neutralize the harsh reality that women are screwed financially in their mom job, the press release sought out to prove that moms – at least good moms – have no needs, are utterly selfless and don’t give a hoot about money.
“The rewards I have by being there all the time in spite of my own needs are priceless,” said Laura Pennington, a stay-at-home mother of three from El Paso, Texas. “My children’s well-being and education are my priority regardless of the daily marathon I face from sun up to well after sun down.”
Seriously? Maybe this is one of the reasons our society doesn’t recognize the work we do. Sisters, where is the outrage? Ok, I get it that our rewards are not financial and that the mini painted flower pots, handmade cards and foam necklaces I got for Mother’s Day from my kiddies are indeed priceless. But until society truly appreciates a mother’s value in caring and raising her children, well, frankly nothing much more will change at home or in the workforce.