I want to start by saying this is not one of those posts where I explain the cash value of everything I do, and give you some astronomical number that my time is worth each month. Is my time as a stay at home mom (SAHM) worth an astronomical number? Absolutely! Is that number realistic, or indicative of what our finances would look like if I went back to work? No. The number I came up with still seems astronomical knowing our current family budget. But I must say, when I was rounding up all the numbers I felt pretty validated. I felt I was generous with my time and duties as a SAHM. The monthly cost to employ someone to do the duties of a SAHM is astronomical. Even when I accounted for the commitment of motherhood not being something I expect to be paid for; when I only calculated childcare from 7am-5pm Mon.-Fri., the cost to replace me as a SAHM is astronomical. Which brings me to the point of this post, and that is that the work and time I put in each day is so much more than just ‘being a mom’, or ‘choosing to have children.’ Yes, we decided TOGETHER to have children and for me to become a SAHM. No, that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes have to remind him my worth. It’s important to know before diving into the numbers here that my husband is EXTREMELY present in the home. I know that this is not the norm (Even though it should be), so if you are a stay at home mother with a spouse who travels, or works late hours, or just simply isn’t as present at home, MULTIPLY MY NUMBER BY TEN! Because you all are the true MVP’s.
When I started doing research for this post I honestly struggled finding where to begin. There is so much I do in a day, and there is so much I am responsible for. But I also wanted to be realistic in what I am choosing to do, and what we would actually pay someone to do. I decided to start at the root of what I do, childcare. I spend every day entertaining and catering to a very bossy, very demanding, tow-year-old boy. When we made the choice for me to be SAHM my husband and I both saw my job as giving our son the most engaging and memorable childhood we could. It’s not always about buying things, or paying for activities but it is about being engaged and present as you would be at any job. The days my son sits in front of technology all day are extremely rare. If we wanted to pay somebody for the kind of care I provide for him, we would have to hire a private nanny. After some quick research on google I found the average hourly rate for a prvate nanny is $15/hour. Now I get that I am a mother, and I should not-nor do I expect to, be paid for being a mother. So no, I’m not calculating childcare every hour of the day I am responsible for my son. My ‘stay at home mom salary’ includes Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, and one night a week that I give my husband the night out. I feel like this is actually super generous as I usually spend at least 16 hours out of every day with my son caring for him and entertaining him-and I am the one responsible for getting up in the night if he decides to cry. So, as a nanny, at $15 an hour, working average hours, I would be worth $750 a week! In childcare alone…I hope it is starting to dawn on you why SAHM’s are worth their weight in gold.
Besides childcare the thing I spend my day doing most as a SAHM is running errands. Now, when I say this I am not only talking about grocery shopping, or dry cleaning. Any given week you can find me running errands for someone else. Because I am the one who is at home when most people work I am the go to for airport pickups, shipping mail, letting workers into houses. I know that even if I did go back to work my husband and I would still do the bulk of errands on our own. For this reason, I’m not going to go crazy calculating the number of hours I spend running errands in a week. Also, I have a feeling it would be pretty eye opening to actually see the hours I’m spending each week just running errands. After checking the trusty Google machine again, I came up with the average hourly salary of a personal assistant in Denver is $7, which honesty just seems wrong to me. That does not seem like a fair wage-but that’s another issue. My ‘stay at home mom salary’ includes just one hour of ‘assistant work’, each day Mon.-Fri. That makes me worth about $150 a month just as a personal assistant. If you feel like that’s not fair keep in mind personal assistants are usually young adults who are ALONE. I tote around my demanding, bossy, and usually hangry (hungry and angry) toddler along with me on all these errands-making them a trillion times harder. If you’re counting, we are already up to $3,150 a month! Which honestly when I got here my mind was already blown. Because I felt I had been very generous with my time, and duties, and this number is still massive.
The last thing I included in my ‘salary’ was a cleaning service. When I worked before we had our son my husband and I split the cleaning duties. If I’m being honest, he handled most of the cleaning. Cleaning is not something I’m good at, or enjoy. For this reason I know if I went back to work I would personally pay for a cleaning service. Obviously, it’s the dream to have your house professionally cleaned weekly but let’s be real, that’s not a reality. This was a hard number for me to stay reasonable on because this would be something I would splurge on, however I know it is NOT something my husband would want at all. He is notorious for telling me ‘I’ll take care of it’ then never doing it, not to be malicious, just because we are all super busy, and prioritize differently. Not having to play chicken with your husband to see who can let the toilet get the grossest without cleaning it worth the money for a cleaning service for me. However just writing this I can already see this argument playing out between my husband and I, that he would never pay for that service. So I compromised, I wanted to include a cleaning service fee twice a month, which I already feel is generous, but I’ll only include one cleaning service fee monthly. Thanks to several personal people I know actually investing in this service I know that for a small 2-bedroom house it would cost roughly $150. I know this will be the one thing my husband disputes in this article but I know my worth with this-and clean the house much more than once a month. Proving as a SAHM I’m worth more than $150 a month just as a cleaning service. And with that, we hit the grand total of $3.300 monthly to employ me as a SAHM.
Now, if you are anything like me this number just sounds insane. Not because you aren’t worth it but because what average family can afford that?! That’s exactly why I am worth every penny, and more as a SAHM. To me, this list barely scrapes the surface of what I truly do each and every day as a SAHM. I have always been a dedicated worker and that’s no different now that my job is to be the best mom I can be each day. I do everything I possibly can to make this time I have with my son memorable and magical. We are off on adventures almost every day of the week, we host craft parties, and organize playdates with his friends. Every week is filled with stimulating and socializing activities that keep him learning and thriving. So yes, I do spend my days at zoo’s and museums and yes I spoil him with toys, but that doesn’t mean it’s not work. A family day at the zoo once a month is very different than a playdate on a Monday with six toddlers. It’s a treat to spend a day together as a family, and this alone will prevent tantrums. After spending all week off on adventures with mom it’s not such a treat, the meltdowns become more common. I spend the average day running after my two-year-old, trying constantly stay one step ahead. I calm tantrums, I mediate fights, I keep him safe, fed, and entertained. I’m responsible for mealtimes, getting dressed, changing diapers, and being his built-in playmate. My days can be exhausting, and are always busy-I am working just as hard as my husband who works an 8am-5pm scheduled job.
If you need to remind your husband, or anyone for that matter, that you are worth your weight in gold as a SAHM, show them your ‘stay at home mom salary’. Remind them that to hire someone to do what you do would cost over $3,000 a month! And that’s in a family where we have one child, and my husband is more than helpful in the home. Most stay at home moms are likely worth much more!
Remind a stay at home mom you know that you know her worth by sharing this article and telling her thank you for all the hard work she does every day!