I’m a chief operating officer. I help provide leadership and set visions and goals. I make sure the appropriate systems are in place to make the day-to-day operations run smoothly while laying the foundation for the future.
I am a bookkeeper – I ensure expenses are paid and income is accounted for. I am a coach, cheering on the sidelines, providing encouragement and direction to my team.
Sounds like a big job, right? I make exactly $0 annually for all of my hard work. That’s because I serve all these roles for my family – a job with no salary.
Tallying up the pay
This job is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s a job without sick time or vacations. It’s a job that doesn’t recognize holidays or weekends. It’s a workplace I never leave. And Salary.com says the role should net me more than $162,000 per year – a number recently highlighted in recent People feature.
This stay-at-home mom salary was calculated using the hybrid roles of moms, like bookkeeper, tailor, coach, event planner, teacher, logistics analyst and more. Salary.com estimated what each would make annually and applied it to 96 “work hours” per week.
In fact, the “salary” was actually up from $143,102 in 2016 and $157,705 in 2017. That’s a pretty substantial raise.
A demanding gig
The role of stay-at-home mom comes with a stigma – one that implies it’s an easy job.
While I do work part-time, and some of those hours at home, the hours that I’m home and focused on my family are some of the most demanding. There is laundry, meal prep and cooking, cleaning, homework help, chauffeuring and mowing the lawn.
While the Salary.com research estimates a 96-hour work week, moms know it’s more than that. I can’t just leave the job at the office. I can’t just walk away and take a break when I get stressed out. The to-do list is never “out of sight, out of mind.”
And then there’s the guilt. The guilt that I’m not contributing enough. The guilt that I should take on more at home, volunteer more at school and give more of myself because I don’t provide as much financially as I once did or as I could if I worked more hours outside the home.
I’ve worked full-time, outside of the home, and juggled my home life with three small children. It’s hard too. I feel guilty that I don’t have the added pressures of a working mom.
The bottom line
It’s nice to know that there is some recognition of the role of mom in the past several years. I hope stay-at-home moms see that they are working hard, despite not going to an office every day.
While I think it’s admirable to quantify the income potential of moms, it’s certainly not a role we enter into expecting to get paid – in fact, we know early on how hard it will be.
We power through morning sickness and deal with the discomforts of pregnancy. We experience labor and recovery while caring for a baby. There are sleepless nights, messy diapers and the agony of teething.
We nurse our sick children. We advocate for them. We worry for their safety and their futures. We make birthday treats to celebrate half birthdays. We turn pasta into cell models and check over math we haven’t had to do in years. And we do it all for love.
What is the actual stay-at-home mom salary?
We are paid in kisses and hugs. We know we are appreciated when they smile or say “you’re the best.” We feel valued when our husbands say “thanks for everything you do.” That makes it all worth it.
No paycheck could ever take the place of their love.
This post was originally published in 2019 and is updated regularly.