Friday, May 9, 2008

I guess I shouldn't ask for a raise

A study by Salary.com, a Waltham, Massachusettes-based firm that studies workplace compensation, declares the annual salary of Stay-At-Home moms to be worth about $116,805. They calculated the working mom who juggles an outside job would get about $68,405 for her motherly duties. This was calculated by studying the pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mom performs. But the big driving force behind the $$$ is the number of hours the job requires. Being a full-time stay-at-home mom requires a lot of overtime. The 18,000 moms surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours - over half their working hours are considered overtime.

While I know of no stay-at-home mom who would complain at such a paycheck, I also know of no stay-at-home mom who would think of their vocation in a monetary fashion. James and I kindly joke about priests getting a day off each week yet parenting never takes a vacation. And it is true every day of the year, every hour of the night, and every minute of every event. There is no time I am not on duty and no one can take my place.

Yet it is not uncommon for people to assume that stay-at-home moms sit around all day watching soap operas. I've been asked the question infamous to stay-at-home moms, "What do you do?" I sometimes want to start laughing at the question and respond with a, "What don't I do?" I do laundry, housekeeping, food shopping, baby-sitting, cooking, decorating, organizing, negotiating, driving, and teaching. And lest anyone think having a 2 year old and a 6 month old not require teaching yet, Cecilia did not learn her alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, an ever-expanding vocabulary, how to write the letter "e," how to dress herself (even if sometimes it is backwards or inside out), to be kind to her little sister, or how to pray from television. (I admit she learned "Daisy's Dance" from the Disney Channel.) Though, as yet, we have no official textbooks or scheduled school time, she is learning every day and every day we are teaching her more and more. Does anyone think she would be where she is if she spent every day in day care? She gets one-on-one attention that cannot have a price put on it, and it is not one-on-one attention with a stranger or anyone who gets a paycheck to do it, but someone who loves her.

True, I get no paycheck, no company benefits, no company car or phone. If I wore a suit it could be stained within the hour. But the rewards far exceed any monetary or material reward anyone could offer. What price would you put on time spent with your child? (Although, if anyone wants to begin paying me, I wouldn't complain. LOL)

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