Imagine if, at the end of every day, stay-at-home parents sent an invoice detailing the services they completed... and were promptly paid for those services. Consider how much a stay-at-home mom is worth, in just monetary value alone, and then imagine if the U.S. Department of Labor, working closely with the Wage and Hour Division or the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, paid us moms outright.
This thought experiment is one that crosses my mind every so often. It's particularly prevelant in the moments when I’m reminded that in some homes, the tasks I’m completing are done by hired help. In fact, before I became a mom, I worked as a nanny for years in affluent neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York. The families I worked with often hired housekeepers, gardeners, personal chefs, and plumbers in addition to me, their nanny. I saw, firsthand, how people are compensated for the very same services I provide my family as a stay-at-home mom.
So while moms are often divided into two categories, "working moms" and stay-at-home moms, it's important to make one thing clear: stay-at-home moms work. A lot. All the time. They're just not paid for their labor the way that moms who work outside the home are. Sure, sometimes there are weeks where laundry doesn’t get done, dishes pile up in the sink, and meal-prepping takes a backseat to childcare or other household duties, but acknowleding how much we would be paid for our labor helps us all appreciate the full breadth and depth of our careers as parents.
1. Housekeeping: $26.02 Per Hour
In 2018, the average cost of a housekeeper was $26.02 per hour, according to Housekeeping.com. If women spend an average of two hours and 13 minutes on chores, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, then we can surmise that moms spend an average of a little over 15 hours a week cleaning their home.
Total pay per week: $390.30
Yearly salary: $20,295.60
2. Elderly Caregiver: $275 Per Day
Almost 8 million older adults with significant disabilities have help from family and unpaid caregivers (family caregivers), according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In addition to taking their loved ones to doctor appointments, helping them make medical decisions (or making them on their own), and completing medical tasks, like managing wound care or injections, family caregivers assist with everyday activities and tasks.
In short, these family caregivers are providing the services typically found at nursing home facility. A private room at a nursing home, on average, costs $275 a day, according to Genworth's Cost of Care survey, which amounts to $8,365 per month.
Total pay per week: $1,925
Yearly salary: $100,380
3. Personal Chef: $35 Per Hour
Americans with kids spend a total of 267 hours in the kitchen every year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture, and personal chefs, on average, are paid upwards of $35 per hour, as reported by Fash.com. If we were to use an hourly rate, that doesn't include groceries, a mom would be paid a yearly salary of $10,680 for cooking meals for her family, or around $205 per week.
The average weekly cost of a personal chef is $200-$300 for a family of four, as reported by Care.com, which also does not include groceries. If we were to use this weekly estimate, than a stay-at-home mom would be paid $15,600 per year for her cooking services.
Total pay per week: $205
Yearly salary: $15,600
4. Pet Care: $14 Per Hour
The average dog walker is paid $14.24 per hour, as reported by PayScale, which often includes their time spent playing with the dog, administering any necessary medications, and ensuring the dog's overall safety. Tractive, a GPS service for cats and dogs, says the average dog should be walked three to four times a week, for 15 minutes at a time. So if, on average, a dog is walked an hour a day, a mom should be paid roughly $100 a week for this service.
Additionally, the average pay for a dog groomer is $22,710 per year, as reported by Chron, and it's fair to assume that mom handles the dog's yearly grooming, be it brushing the dog, clipping his or her nails, brushing their teeth, and providing baths. This yearly salary, when combined with a weekly pay of $100, adequately compensates a mom for caring for one pet.
Total pay per week: $100
Yearly salary: $27,910
5. Event Planning: $100 Per Hour
Birthdays, Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and other events require a ton physical and emotional labor. From securing caterers and entertainment to preparing or buying food, there are so many hours that go into planning certain events, especially when those events are for our families. The average starting pay for an event planner, according to Glassdoor, is $50,688 a year.
If you were to pay mom per hour for planning a family event, EventPlanning.com says event planners with "amazing portfolios," charge upwards of $100 an hour, and the average cost of a party planner per event, according to Thumbtack, ranges from $670 - $1,000. While it will depend on how many hours a mom spends on an event, we can easily argue that she should be paid at least $1,000 per family event.
Total pay per event: $1,000
Yearly salary: $50,688
6. Plumbing: $45 Per Hour
Who plunges the toilet when the toddler has decided to stuff it with toys? Mom. Who is tasked with fixing the sink during the day, when her partner is at work? Mom.
On average, a plumber is paid $20.87 per hour, according to PayScale, although in some places, like New York City, the pay can be as high as $45 an hour. The average plumber salary in New York City, per Salary.com, is $68,104, as of July 30, 2019. Since there's nothing worse than fishing out poop- and pee-covered toys from a toilet bowl, we're going to go by New York City standards when it comes to salary pay.
HomeAdvisor states that most plumbers charge an average flat rate, or service fee, of $300. So stay-at-home moms should be paid $300 every time they fix the sink, unclog the toilet, or handle any other plumbing problem.
Total pay per job: $300
Yearly salary: $68,104
7. Gardening: $15.52 Per Hour
Moms do more than just tend the family garden. They're also mowing, trimming hedges, weeding, hanging decorate flower pots and planting flowers lining their driveways, and making their home inviting: you know, the work of a landscaper.
On average, the landscaping design and construction of a standard yard will cost $13,200, according to Fixr.com. The "crew leader" of a lawn mowing service, according to Indeed.com, is paid an average of $15.52 per hour. While a mom won't spend every day mowing a lawn or planting flours, the maintenance of her lawn, garden, and such, does make her eligible for the salary of a groundskeeper. The average yearly salary for grounds maintenance workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $29,400.
Cost per job: $13,200
Yearly salary: $29,400
8. In-Home Child Care: $11.17 Per Hour
In 2018, the median pay for childcare workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $23,240, or $11.17 per hour. Since stay-at-home moms are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without the time off other childcare workers are provided, it's helpful to use the hourly wage and apply accordingly.
Total pay per week: $1,876.56
Yearly salary: $97,581.12
9. Personal Assistant: $14 Per Hour
Depending on a family’s unique circumstances, the work that a stay-at-home parent does may be identical to the work of a hired personal assistant. Whether you’re scheduling meetings and appointments, managing different types of correspondence, note-taking, answering phone calls, emailing on behalf of your partner or child, picking up dry cleaning, reminding your partner of an important work deadline, or other tasks, you’re basically a personal assistant to your family members.
The average cost of hiring a household and/or personal assistant, according to HomeAdviser, is $14 per hour. Again, since stay-at-home moms are on every hour of every day, and the emotional labor of keeping the family schedule is unaccounted for in this estimate, applying the hourly wait accordingly is appropriate.
Total pay per week: $2,352
Yearly salary: $122,304
10. Private Tutor: $40 Per Hour
Some people hire private tutors to help their kids with their homework. If you’re not one of those people, and you spend many hours a week helping your child with their homework, science fair projects, and other school-related work, you’re doing the work of a private tutor.
On average, a private tutor charges upwards of $40 an hour, according to Angie's List, but the more experienced tutors can cost an astounding $85 an hour. The hours of homework a child will have each evening depends on the grade they're in. For example, a first grader should have 10 minutes of homework per evening, according to Education Week, and a 12th grader can expect to have 120 minutes of homework every day, or 10 hours a week. For our purposes, we'll apply the hourly wage of a private tutor the number of hours a 12th grader spends on homework, acknowleding that this doesn't adequately compensate a stay-at-home mom who helped her child with their homework in their early years.
Total pay per week: $850
Yearly Salary: $44,200
11. Laundry Services: $9.82 Per Hour
Laundry services can vary depending on a variety of factors, including where you live, what you're having laundered, etc., and ranges from $0.90 to $3 a pound, according to Angie's List. If a family of four goes through 20-35 pounds of laundry per week, as reported by Simply Clean Laundry Service, well, you do the math.
Total pay per week: $105
Yearly salary: $5,460
If you add every yearly salary of every job a stay-at-home mom does, she should make around $581,922 a year.
Who has their checkbook ready?