If your mom is anything like mine, she spent more than 18 years being the primary caretaker of the house and family. She cooked and cleaned and did all of the 1950s housewife duties you’d expect and a host of others -- managing the family finances, checking homework, coordinating playdates and extracurriculars, sitting as judge and jury on endless sibling fights, volunteering at school events, giving up control of the car radio, nagging us about spending too much time in front of the TV, making doctor appointments, giving pep talks and big hugs or, when needed, real talk. Heck, I even had my mom read this article before publishing.
Moms do it all. And they do it all on top of their workdays, in between their own social lives and interests, and often without much thanks from their children or from society. And while fathers are more likely than ever to chip in on the housework, mothers still bear most of the brunt of housework and child-care duties. Though as my mom pointed out after reading this, “it’s not a series of chores, more like running a child development project, with a very long time line.”
Taking unpaid housework for granted is dangerous, argued Noah Zatz, a UCLA School of Law professor, in a 2014 New York Times debate about “Wages for Housework.” By keeping housework an invisible labor we are devaluing the work and the people who conduct it. “Unlike the low-wage worker, the ‘housewife’ gets no credit for contributing to the household economy. That means no protection against future disability, unemployment or retirement via Social Security or related social insurance programs,” Zatz wrote.
A recent Pew study revealed 29 percent of mothers did not work outside the home -- a 6 percent increase in stay-at-home mothers since 1999. But the results of Salary.com’s 14th annual Mom Salary Survey, puts a stay-at-home moms' annual income, if she were paid for her work, at $118,905. They also found a working mom would have to add $70,107 to her annual salary to compensate for the 60 hours of housework a week she does on top of her full-time job.
We think our moms and everything they do for us is priceless. But in an attempt to provide a dollar amount for those women whose work isn’t being acknowledged, we have put together a quiz. Let us know how much time you spend on each category, and we’ll let you know the equivalent job titles and national median salaries.
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