The Cost of Being Mom
My hubby is an amazing and hardworking man who is an excellent provider, adoring husband, loving father, and…well, a bit of a jokester. One joke that never seems to get old for him is to come in after work and, if he doesn’t see me immediately, ask one of our children, “So where’s your mom? Still sleeping?”
Now, I know he’s fully aware of how full my days, nights, and everything in between are with juggling homeschooling and breastfeeding and toddler antics; keeping up with the housecleaning, cooking, shopping, paying bills, etc; running everybody to playdates, doctor’s appointments, sports practices, music lessons, sleep-overs, and on and on and on.
But after one particularly overwhelming week, his little joke met with more of a glower from his loving wife rather than my typical, “Ha-ha, very funny.” It started me thinking, though, about the value of all that I do as a wife and mother. So, being the researcher that I am, I started digging and calculating and listing and logging and, voila, a ledger was born!
Just a couple of notes before I get into the numbers: A mother’s love is priceless, whether she’s a stay-at-home mom or not. This isn’t a comparison of parenting choices, merely a lighthearted look at my own monetary worth.
Also, I left out a few things specific to my situation (managing my hubster’s business, managing our rental properties, etc.) and the fact that anyone hired for the positions listed below would get vacations, benefits, and not be on the job 24/7!
And, after originally intending to include the cost of donor breast milk, once I started crunching the numbers and realized I’ve breastfed for more than ten years of my life, many of those years exclusively, the cost of donor milk to match what I’ve been able to provide for my children was too expensive for even the Bill Gates’ and Donald Trumps of the world to afford! So I left that out, as well.
Now, to the numbers! All of the salaries are national averages for the U.S., and in the totals I’ve adjusted for the U.S.average yearly inflation of rate 3.43%. So, here we go…
- As a homeschooling mom of six, I’ve spent the last 15 years educating my children in a one-to-one, individualized, interest-led environment…Private Tutor-avg. yearly salary $55,784.
- Being a full-time mama for the last 25 years certainly qualifies me to be an experienced…Nanny-avg. yearly salary $37,700.
- Birthday parties, graduations, weddings, baby showers, vacation Bible schools, you name an event, I’ve probably organized and executed it, often single-handedly…Event Planner-avg. yearly salary $46,020.
- Grocery shopping and delivery, clothes shopping, home decorating, school supplies, etc…Personal Shopper-avg. yearly salary $37,500.
- Someone had to spend that last 25 years providing nutritious meals yummy enough for small people to gobble up…Private Cook-avg. yearly salary $31,080.
- Sleep overs, sports practices and events, music and dance lessons, doctor and dental appointments, I’ve piled on the miles through the years…Chauffer-avg. yearly salary $25,020
- Paying the bills, doing the taxes, balancing the budget, ugh…Accountant-avg. yearly salary $61,690.
- Quiet midnight chats to soothe teen angst, daily interpreting of toddler needs, settling sibling spats, juggling the joyful chaos of a menagerie of children, animals, and the occasional contraband pet insect…Family Therapist-avg. yearly salary $45,720.
- Endless dishes, piles and piles and piles of laundry, showers and toilets and floors and sinks, beds to change, clutter to clean, toys to pick up, and dust to keep down…Housekeeper-avg. yearly salary $37,440.
So there you have it. It would take nine professionals and an average of $362,777 per year for a total of $9,069,429 over the last 25 years to even begin to replace me, lol! Not, of course, that I could ever truly be replaced. What I do, I do out of love for my children, not for money. And what I receive in return is truly priceless.
L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood , Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages , and The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline the first three books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.