I am often asked, “Does your wife work?”
She is a “play-at-home”/ “stay-at-home” mom. Of course she works!
But I was wondering, if she worked outside of the home, what would it take to have the exact same quality of care for our daughter?
This is what I came up with and it is shocking!
Now doing this is very dangerous. It has the potential to be covered with critique both for and against. Also, people may ask, “Why is a website about business, marketing, and counseling doing this type of post?”
Let me address some concerns about accuracy and why I’m doing this:
1. Stay-at-home Moms work really hard: It is really important. Often times at the end of my work day I come home and say, “How was your day?” as if my wife is done too. Despite us sitting and relaxing together, I doubt she relaxes like I relax. I’m out of my work environment and I’m not “on-call” for work. Hanging out with my daughter is refreshing. Now I’m not saying that it is not wonderful for my wife, I can’t speak for her, but what I do know is what it feels like to be on-call, and it is terrible. This is my attempt to value all stay-at-home moms and evaluate what it would take to create the exactly same environment.
2. I am not saying stay-at-home moms are better: Every family has to make their own choice about if someone stays home, who works outside of the home, and who works inside the home. Whatever you have decided is your choice.
3. The process of writing the job descriptions and creating wages may be flawed: In your community in-home laundry may be more expensive, maybe people shop for you for really cheap, I don’t know. I did the best with what I know in my community. For example, I have counselor friends that work in an on-call capacity and they are paid $3 per hour when they are on-call and get $25 per hour when they are addressing situations. I figured that it came the closest to what a mom experiences in lightened sleep and hyper-vigilance.
4. But she’s not a certified Life Coach?! I focused on what it would cost to replace the time, energy, and tasks that my wife does every day. By being a sounding board, it prevents me from having to spend money on a life coach. Would I use one every day if I had to pay? Probably not, but that’s the point, I get that service currently, if she was not a stay-at-home mom I would have less life coaching. Does that make sense?
5. Most importantly about the word “worth”: I understand that using the phrase “What my wife is worth” has the potential to tap into ideas of dowries, ownership, inequality, and lack of partnership. Please know, that the exact opposite is true. I hope that this article raises the status and importance of women. I full acknowledge that a wife, mom, or other caretaker’s worth is not defined by what they do or their economic impact on a family. I could have added a cheesy statement like, “Her love for all of us: priceless” but that’s not my style, even if it is true.
So here we go, this is how I came to my conclusions…
3rd shift On-call
3rd shift On-call: 8 hours on-call x $3.00 per hour (local rate) + $25 per intervention (2 per week) x 7 days = $218 (56 hours per week)
11:00 pm-7:00 am on call wage $3.00 per hour and $25 per hour
- Sleep light enough to wake and get across the house within 2 minutes
- Function well during third shift to be able to potty train, change a diaper, give water, and show love to a child
In-home Catering (local rates)
$3.95 per breakfast + $1.99 kids = $5.94
$6.95 per lunch + $4.99 kids = $11.94
$9.99 per dinner x 2 adults + 4.99 kids = $24.97
+$5 delivery charge per meal = $15 per day
$57.85 per day x 5 days per week = $289.25 (2 hours per day x 5 days = 10 hours per week)
- Create meals that are acceptable, tasteful, and aesthetically pleasing for a toddler
- Multitask while also completing other stated roles
- Think about organic, fair-trade, sustainable practices, while avoiding feelings of guilt about the ease of not thinking about these topics.
- Pre-soak dishes to save time later
Home-pick up Laundry Service
$10 pick up + $6 per bag (5x) + organic/environmental baby clothes fee $5= $45 week (8 hours per week)
- Sort lights and darks
- Remove random things from pockets left by unfocused husband
- Try not to feel guilty for no longer using cloth diapers, even though they were already purchased
- Find new solutions for rashes and unusual skin outbreaks due to reactions to random perfumes or dyes.
- Fold clothes
- Sort clothes and return to each individual’s bedroom
In-home Occupational Therapy Services
$65 per hour x 2 hours per day x 7 days per week = $910 (14 hours per week)
- Observe age-appropriate development, create treatment plans, and explore new toy options, while still remaining friendly, engaging, and interactive to create an environment of explorations, creativity, and happiness.
- Explore new options for interventions
- Stay current with modalities of engagement and learning
Personal Grocery Shopper
$15 per hour x 5 hours per week: $75 (5 hours per week)
- Understand the “dirty dozen” regarding organic essentials
- Stay within a budget
- Acquire and utilize coupons when appropriate
- Create and maintain a list of needed items
$180 per week (4 hours)
- Have a macro view of the home’s needs
- Understand micro-level needs of home cleaning
- Create and maintain an on-going list of items that need to be focused on
Privately Owner Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rate $.565 per mile + $14 per hour
Total driving average per week: 75 miles x .$565 = $42.38
3 hours per day x 6 days per week = 18 hours x $14 per hour = $252
- Lift any number of items while keeping the care, safety, and emotional care of a toddler in mind
- Ability to lift up to 50 pounds while twisting, turning, balancing, and keeping sunglasses on one’s head.
- Avoid desire to text and drive, despite the ability to save time and multitask.
- Follow all traffic laws while also balancing the return-on-investment for speeding.
- Envision the most efficient routes while driving and occupying a toddler’s longing for attention.
- Occasionally hold hands with a toddler while maintaining a safe driving environment.
- Remember all items needed for errands including but not limited to diaper bag, grocery list, and toys.
- Text partner prior to leaving for errands to see if items are needed that were not on the list.
60 hours per year x $35 per hour = $2100 divided by 52 weeks = $40.38 per week average of 1.15 hour per week
- Assess fidelity of the housing structure, create list of needed upgrades (windows, basement, bathroom, etc.)
- Gather up to, but not limited to, three bids from potential builders.
- Find deals on items
- Find a perfect balance between saving money and having high quality work
One-on-one day care
4 hours per day x 7 days per week = 28 hours
$22 per hour for Master’s level worker x 28 hours = $616
- Engage toddler in a reflective, creative, consistent, yet flexible environment that values social justice, equality, faith, and family.
- Utilize an assortment of toys and resources to engage and stimulate learning.
- Build socialization through planned play dates with other mothers that you may or may not enjoy spending time with.
- Value every moment of every day.
Spousal Life Coaching & Counseling
1 hour per day x $150 per hour x 7 days per week = $1,050
- Actively listen and engage to accurately understand situations.
- Provide time-sensitive opinions that value a husband’s autonomy.
- Challenge ways of thinking while understanding that a husband may still do what he wants.
- Actively encourage and value small steps forward
In-home Potty Training Expert
45 minutes per day x 7 days per week (5.25 hours) x $35 per hour = $183.75
- Design, implement, and continue a toilet training program that allows toddler autonomy, while also consistently creating routine that does not cause undue anxiety.
- Find and purchase engaging stickers that will reinforce positive behavior.
- Strategically utilize training pants (role note: this may hinder the stated “In-home cleaning” hours” and the “In-home laundry hours” this is a temporary position that may cause undue stress)
- Find appropriate balance between engaging with toddler while toilet training (ie: reading to the stated toddler while toileting and ignoring inappropriate and manipulative behavior ie: using the rest room when bed time approaches.)
Other Duties as Assigned
9.6 hours will be set to “other duties as assigned. These may be nurse, educator, artist, actor, date, stylist, in-home caretaker, family friend, concierge, being interrupted while showering or using the rest room, lack of privacy, financial planner, or sleep expert. These duties are unknown, un-assignable, and often arise with little training or expertise.
Average pay $45 per hour x 9.6 hours = $432
Total Hours in a Week: 168, total worked 166
On-call Work: 56 hours, Average wage $218
In-home Catering: 10 hours, Average wage $289.25
In-home Laundry Services: 8 hours Average wage $45
In-home Occupational Therapy: 14 hours Average wage $910
Personal Grocery Shopper: 5 hours Average wage $75
In-home cleaning: 4 hours Average wage $180
Taxi Services: 18 hours Average wage $294.38
Contractor Services: 1.15 hour Average wage $40.38
One-on-one Daycare: 28 hours Average wage $616
Life Coaching and Counseling: 7 hours Average wage $1,050
In-home Potty Training Expert: 5.25 Average wage $183.75
Other duties as assigned: 9.6 hours Average wage $432
Breaks: 2 hours per week
TOTAL: $4,333.76 per week working 166 hours. However, for accuracy in the market, we should probably give time and a half for anything above 40 hours. Therefore, $4,333.76 divided by 166 hours worked = $26.11 per hour. Time and a half would be $26.11 x 1.5 = $39.17 per hour.
40 hours x $26.11 = $1,044.40
126 hours x 39.17 = $4,935.42
ACTUAL TOTAL: $5,979.82 per week in services and duties
Annual stay-at-home mom wage: 52 weeks x $5,979.82 = $310,950.64
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Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is amazed how much fun it is to help other people in business and counseling! He helps angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples at his private practice in Traverse City, MI at Mental Wellness Counseling. Also, he is the author of Mental Wellness Parenting | A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier. To link to Joe’s Google+ .