Thursday, May 03, 2007

Just saw on the teevee that stay at home moms would make $138,095 a year if you tried to hire out all the work they do. The jobs covered include housekeeper, day-care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive officer and psychologist.

And, yeah, I think that's probably true, but disingenuous nonetheless. In our house, I'm a plumber, handyman, EMT/Pharmacist, and CFO, not to mention a few of the items from the list above. Of course, I'm not good enough at any of them to actually make a living at it (except computer operator, obviously).

Most would agree that this isn't about money, as much as it is about valuing the work that stay at home parents do. When my mom retired, part of the motivation was that they were building a house, and they constantly needed someone to be available for the cable guy, tracking down this bill or that, taking the dog to the vet, etc. To quote my mom, "We needed a wife." Even without kids at home, their life was complicated enough that they needed someone to make it their full-time job.

Every single couple I know goes through this negotiation. Some do it once, and somebody decides to stay home and do life maintenance for the family. For others, it's ongoing, with every obligation or chore delegated to whichever spouse has the combination of availability and ability to make it happen. Or you hire it done, which increasing means both spouses need to work.

And suddenly it's about money again.

Really, though, it's about divorce. And that's a different post.

1 comment:

moreena said...

100% I had exactly the same reaction to this story when it was trotted out last year at this time. Or maybe it was 2 years ago? Obviously, my brain is too overworked by all my many jobs to keep track.

But your last line of this post is spot on. Absolutely.