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What Stay-at-home Parents Should Really Be Making

Yours truly, in all my stay-at-home mom glory.

These stories pop up from time to time, usually around Mother’s Day.

If you monetized everything a stay-at-home parent does each day, how much would they be pulling in annually?

According to a report by Paula Bernstein nearly a year ago right here on Strollerderby, stay-at-home parents should be rolling in the dough to the tune of $118,000 smackers.

A new number has been tallied by the folks over at Mint.com, and it doesn’t come close to the previous figure. As the Washington Post reports, if the job of a stay-at-home parent were salaried it would draw, on average, close to six figures: $96,261.

Why so much less than the earlier figure?

Here are some excerpts from the Mint analysis:

Private Chef: The American Personal Chef Association reports that its personal chefs make $200 to $500 a day. Grocery shopping is another chore that needs to be factored in. … Grocery delivery services charge a delivery fee of $5 to $10. Total cost for services: $1,005 per five-day work week times 52 weeks = $52,260 per year.

House Cleaner: Professional maids or house cleaning service providers will charge by the hour, number of rooms or square footage of the home…. Total cost for services: $118 per week times 52 Weeks = $6,136 per year.

“Child Care: The International Nanny Association’s 2011 survey found that nannies make $600 to $950 per week in gross wages, on average. Total cost for services: $600 a week plus perks/benefits times 52 Weeks = $31,200 per year.

Driver: Companies like Red Cap, which provides personal drivers that use the client’s own car as the means of transportation, offer a glimpse into the cost of this homemaker task. An elite membership which includes 365 days of unlimited, round-trip service is $1,000 a year plus 33 cents to $2.03 per minute. Total cost for services: $1,000 per year plus [(estimated miles driven 8,000 miles at 50 miles per hour) times 60 minutes per hour times $0.33 per minute] = $4,168 total per year.

Laundry Service: Professional laundry services charge by the pound…. Total cost for services: $0.90 per pound times 4 pounds of clothes per day times 5 days per week times 52 weeks = $936 total per year.”

Lawn Maintenance: This could include things such as mowing, debris removal, edging and trimming the lawn. These services cost about $30 a week, on average. Total cost for services: $30 per week for 52 weeks = $1,560 total per year.”

Total for a year of all services = $96,261 per year.”

In looking at Paula’s report from last year that relies on a study done by Salary.com, the $118,000 figure comes from the following duties of a stay-at-home parent: “laundry machine operator, janitor, van driver, computer operator, housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, chief executive officer, psychologist, and facilities manager.”

Look, I’m a stay-at-home mom and at some point, I even think these numbers are ridiculous. To start throwing psychologist and van driver into the mix, well, everybody who works anywhere wears a number of hats. I used to work in the news industry and, as a manager, on most days I felt like a psychologist more than a manager what with everyone coming to me with their personal crisis situations and their work gripes. But did I get paid like a psychologist? Hell no.

Strollerderby’s Joslyn Gray agrees with me. In a piece she wrote a few weeks ago, If I Were Paid For My Homemaking Abilities I’d Be Broke, she says “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.”

So yeah, while I can immediately acknowledge how hard being a stay-at-home parent is, you can’t really quantify it by adding up every job you can think of that falls under the stay-at-home parent umbrella.  I mean, if the cable goes out and I manage to fix it on my own are you going to add cable guy to the list and throw that salary in the mix as well?

What do you think?  Is it helpful or silly to try and assign a dollar figure to being a stay-at-home parent?

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