As the article breathlessly states, "If the typical stay-at-home mother in the United States were paid for her work as a housekeeper, cook and psychologist among other roles, she would earn $138,095 a year, according to research released Wednesday."
Uh, yeah, right. These articles always annoy me. I'm sorry, stay at home parents are not worth that much money. That's not how the market works. You don't just add up all of the various tasks you do, cross reference them to some generic job field, like 'psychologist' and then add it all up. You find out how much you are worth salary-wise by finding, in the free market, someone willing to pay you for those services. Since probably NO ONE pays someone $138,095 to fulfill the duties involved with child care, particularly when it is your OWN child, then this study is ridiculous.
On top of that, it is ridiculous to equate to a profession like pschologist, something you need multiple degrees and many many years of hard work before you could earn money as one. I'm sorry, having a functional reproductive system does not automatically qualify you to get paid market rates as a psychologist. Even the 'cook' title is silly, because it compares to professional chefs, again, people who dedicate considerable time and effort perfecting the craft of cooking. And it probably doesn't even factor in the fact that if you cook for your children, odds are you are cooking for yourself at the same time, and presumably you won't be hired to feed yourself.
I think the only way to get a "realistic" estimate on a silly notion such as this is to look at what the people who actually fulfill this sort of role are paid. E.g. Nannies. Last I checked, even nannies to the rich don't make $138,095 per year. But then I don't have much contact with those folks, so what do I know. I do know that friends who have had nannies paid them around seven dollars an hour, which would equate to $14,000 per year, call it $25,000 with generous hours of overtime, up to 60 hours per week. That's rather short of $138,095. And it shows the true economic value, if you want to reduce it to that, of stay-at-home parenting.
Incidentally, I was a stay-at-home parent for my daughter for the first six months of her life, so I am intimately familiar with everything that is involved in that and I know it isn't easy. Of course, it was also very rewarding and I'd not trade those days for any amount of money. But then, that is a personal thing. The fact is, we do NOT get paid to take care of our own. We can't even tax deduct the cost of raising a child. Child support does not reduce your tax obligation. And for good reason. We are expected to take care of our own. If you want to have a child, you need to make sure you can economically support that child. That is the proper, responsible thing to do. It is ridiculous to expect to get paid for doing that, but that is what is behind the mindset of setting a monetary value on staying at home as a parent. Does it have value personally? Yes. Is that something you can quantify with money in the form of a salary? No, it really is not. So surveys like that just plain annoy me. They aren't based in any sort of economic reality.
The choice whether to stay home or not is a personal one that depends on many factors, some of which you don't have much control over. You may feel underappreciated for doing it. I know I did at times. But that doesn't mean it was worth $138,095 per year for me to do it. (A sum that, incidentally, probably vastly exceeds the maximum salary for almost every profession).
So please, no more of these stupid articles.
1 year ago