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If I Were Paid For My Homemaking Abilities, I'd Be Broke

By joslyngray |

Investopedia is reporting that it would cost nearly $100,000 annually to pay for all the services a homemaker provides. The economists say they calculated only those tasks that have monetary value (because my love and nagging are priceless, obviously) and used the lowest value for each calculation.

Private Chef, House Cleaner, Child Care, Personal Driver, Laundry Service, and Lawn Maintenance were included in the tally, bringing the grand total to $96,261 per year. It was noted that Lawn Maintenance was a “less common, but possible duty of a homemaker.”

As Strollerderby reported last May, offers a calculator that lets you determine the worth of a homemaker, based on the number of children and your region of the United States. Using that calculator, my annual worth as a Philadelphia-area stay-at-home mom of four kids is a whopping $122,011.

On the one hand, this is important information because it’s important to value the contributions of stay-at-home moms, and because stay-at-home moms need life insurance, too. If I get run over by a bus tomorrow, my husband is certainly going to have to pay for child care, both before and after school.

On the other hand, this information is totally bogus. First of all, it apparently assumes that the working spouse does none of the housework or childcare during his or her off-hours, which seems a little 1957 called and they said even Ward Cleaver washed the dishes. Also, some of these things? I don’t even do. Or I don’t do them very well. And Investopedia totally missed some of the most important parts of my job.

I don’t mean to downplay my value as a stay-at-home mom. It’s both the most challenging, and the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, and I feel incredibly fortunate that we’re able to make it work. (I also work part-time from home.)  But I don’t ascribe to the myth that as a stay-at-home mom, I’m supposed to be doing a perfect job of keeping our home House Beautiful-perfect, either.

Starting with Investopedia’s original total of $96,261, I figure my marketable homemaking skills are actually worth $57,761 plus a few popsicles. Here are 10 ways my job performance differs from Investopedia’s summary:

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Homemakers Are Worth $100K? Not the Way I Do It.

1. I am not a “Private Chef.”

I hate cooking, and I suck at it. There is no way my burnt fish sticks are the equivalent of a “private chef.” Also, I’m willing to bet that if a kid says “I don’t like this” to a Private Chef, the chef doesn’t snarl, “too bad, it’s what’s for dinner.” Most importantly, my husband does about half the cooking, so I’m pretty sure if I keel over, he’ll be able to continue ensuring that our kids eat. His famous “hot dogs on buns” are not exactly Top Chef, but whatever. Deduct: $52,260
(Photo Credit: africa. Additional Nonsense: Joslyn Gray)

Read more from Joslyn at her blog stark. raving. mad. mommy.  Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for even more funny.


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About joslyngray



Joslyn Gray is the mother of four children with a variety of challenges ranging from allergies to ADHD to Asperger Syndrome. She writes candidly and comedically about this and her generally hectic life on her light-hearted personal blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy.. Read bio and latest posts → Read joslyngray's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “If I Were Paid For My Homemaking Abilities, I'd Be Broke

  1. grace says:

    LOVE this.

  2. jen says:

    Hilarious and brilliant!

  3. amy says:

    Great piece! I love starting the day with a giggle!

  4. Shannon LC Cate says:

    My cooking may not be the greatest, but if I dropped dead tomorrow the household food costs would skyrocket. I would not hesitate to suppose it would amount to $50K per year, either. I am certain that my spouse would compensate for my loss with expensive instant food, take-out and restaurants (even cheap ones cost more than cooking at home 90% of the time).
    So while you may feel the term “private chef” sounds too fancy, the labor of a woman who is cooking most meals at home for her family and grocery shopping wisely is in fact quite high.

  5. joslyngray says:

    @Shannon — Happily for me, my husband already does all the grocery shopping for our family. Also, he’s wayyyy too cheap to order take out. But I know what you mean. There IS a huge value to what I do — I just don’t think in my case that the survey gets it quite right!

  6. Julie says:

    You’re nuts! Honest, but nuts. Sometimes I feel like you must live at my house. Have you been peeking?

  7. Jenn says:

    I’ve gotta say you’re right on about the extra costs of a child with special needs. I am our son’s personal secretary, advocate, researcher, teacher, therapist, and student of all these things. (Okay, so students pay tuition, maybe that balances out.) And don’t forget shift differential for all those late and ridiculously early on call hours, overtime, and back pay for all those sick days and vacation days and weekends you don’t get. But I hear you on the whole housekeeping thing. And the laundry. I’ve found it’s much more manageable if I just don’t wash my own clothes.

  8. Telisha says:

    Here is my blog on the “Home-maker” value. I also deducted things like cleaning, laundry and yard… wait yard what?
    Funny enough I also linked in that blog post to your “not enough ketchup in the world” post.
    I also added in Nursing ~ 7 years of caring for my husbands assorted illnesses, surgeries and health issues.
    8 years of managing my daughters asthma and allergies
    5 yrs of managing my sons dye allergy.
    Yeah, I tell me hubby every now and then that insurance would never cover what I do and that he needs to pray for my good health every night. ;)

  9. Rosana says:

    Hahaha, this is pretty funny :)

  10. cristy m. says:

    lol! had fun reading this….i can totally relate especially with the laundry stuff….hahaha!

  11. Alicia says:

    I’ve never understood this calculation. My husband and I work full-time and do all the other stuff listed as well. We cook, clean, do laundry etc… just like a SAHM does. The only thing we don’t do is 6 hours of child care per day while our daughter is at daycare or with family. So really, the dollar value of a SAHM is what it costs for daycare during the day. Much, much different.

    (but your commentary is hilarious – well done)

  12. crystal says:

    I love this! Daycare alone outweighs what I could make during an 8-3 job. And with 4 boys (3 in school 1 at home) and countless appointments, school holidays and school functions I can’t afford NOT to be a SAHM!

  13. Melissa says:

    I have to say I totally agree with this. I’m not even a stay at home mom, but today I called out of work because I am sick. If someone were paying me for my worth today, I’d have to say my value was about 20 bucks. I kept my child (who is also getting sick) and myself alive, but that is it. No real cooking, cleaning, or much of anything else. It’s 6 o clock pm and I’m still trying to gather the strength to get in the shower.

  14. CW says:

    One job I did not anticipate (nor do I particularly relish) that I have somehow found dumped on my plate recently is psychotherapist to my mother-in-law. Over the past two years, my sister-in-law, who was previously a nice, sane woman has turned into first Bridezilla and then after she got pregnant with twins on her honeymoon, Preggozilla. MIL gets all worked up over SIL’s drama and for whatever reason has decided to turn to me for emotional support. As if I don’t have enough to deal with in my own life with an autistic preschooler and homeschooling two others. I sure WISH I was getting the $300/hr that a shrink would…

  15. Fannie says:

    Bahahahahaha. Do you live at my house, too? The laundry/housekeeping situation is kind of ridiculous over here and I only have 1 kid!!! What am I going to do when there are more? I guess I’ll just need more laundry baskets. :)

  16. Angela says:

    Bwahahaha this is hilarious! Great job :)

  17. Tammy says:

    I don’t understand why nobody mentions this… If one were to have 9 full time jobs (to get the required salary) that would be 360 hours/week. Alas, 1 week only yields 168 hours.

  18. Stephanie says:

    Alicia- yep, I get ya. I I did a lot more of it on nights/ weekends when I worked. Daycare,though, isn’t insignificant- when my daughter was a baby, we paid 1200/ month!

  19. Ryan Biggs says:

    I wonder if, by applying this same logic, Investopedia could guess what public school teachers are paid.

  20. Liz says:

    Sure I’m not the first to mention this, but just in case.

    Finder of lost crap=personal assistant.

    Y’know that book/movie “the devil wears prada”? The main character’s job was basically all the stuff we do for our families 24/7. We know when they’ve got some place to be, we know where they put the book that’s due on Tuesday (and that it’s due on Tuesday), where the special sparkle socks are, and the name of that one restaurant “the one with the water glasses”.

    This is why, if you aren’t already a fantastic cook, odds are you won’t manage to learn to be one in your time at home.

    Also, even cooks at a fast food join make money. Minimum wage is $15600/year.

    And if your house isn’t houskeeper-clean, it does still take work to avoid squalor. Add in at least half a housekeeper’s salary if you can actually walk through your whole house and your guests don’t keep their handkerchiefs to their noses.

  21. Itsnoteasy says:

    It is exhausting chasing at toddler around all day long. It would be much easier for me to go back to work, and put the toddler in day care.

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