The results are in. If paid, stay-at-home moms would earn $134,121 a year. In this same alternate universe, working moms would make $85,876 annually for the “mom portion” of their working day. Too bad the people making these calculations aren’t also writing the checks. But heh, it’s a good start.
The job description “MOTHER” implies the following occupations: chauffeur, housekeeper, financial manager, caregiver, social worker, therapist, seamstress, cook, laundress, nutritionist, recreational worker, and receptionist. It might also require these skills: budgeting, multitasking, the handling and disposal of bio-hazardous waste, catering, conflict resolution, scheduling, conflict resolution, and organization, to name just a few.
So in light of ALL the work on my plate, I made an executive decision (because I happen to be mid-level management around here) and decided to outsource a time-consuming task: ironing. I’m horrible at it. I don’t even remember my mother teaching me how it’s done. And in the time it takes me to iron one Eddie Bauer shirt I could change 5 diapers, wash the dishes, and swiffer my kitchen floor. The nice little dry cleaner down the street only charges me .75 cents per shirt. You see where I’m going here?
Let’s break it down, shall we ladies? If I make a hypothetical $134,121 per year, I earn an hourly rate of $64.48. Now if I take 10 shirts to the local dry cleaner I pay $7.50 which is equal to 8 minutes of my hourly rate. However, if I were to iron those shirts myself it would take me at least an hour (needless to say I’m ironing impaired), which, if you ask me, is a waste of my imaginary income.
When my mother-in-law (bless her!) comes to visit, she does my laundry and all our ironing. That job alone can keep her busy 8 hours a day (never mind there’s a dirty, heaping pile of it in my basement when she first arrives). (Note: She always tells me that she doesn’t care who he is, Tommy Hilfiger makes shirts that are ridiculously difficult to iron).
But, Shauna, you say. That money is make-believe, so all your calculations are ill-founded. To you I say, my sanity is also make-believe. But that’s neither here nor there.
The point is, ironing my husband’s work shirts takes me forever, and even then they don’t look professionally pressed. (And I’ve been told that hanging them on the shower rod and squirting them with a water bottle doesn’t get the job done either.) So I contribute to the success of a local business instead: the dry cleaner. And I’m happy to do it. Because heh, with the money I’m pretending to make, I can afford it.