Photo by Park Troopers | Unsplash

Who Gets the Bill?

A Compensation Plan for the Stay-at-Home-Mom

Many of us saw this study a few years ago and if, like me, you have opted to stay home with your kids, you were probably all like WTF?

If you don’t want to click the link (I get it, you’re busy), it’s a hypothetical fantasy candyland extrapolation where stay-at-home moms are compensated — with actual money and none too shabbily — for their efforts. The tasks of the SAHM are broken down and real market value is placed on each ‘title’ — janitor, cook, psychologist, facilities manager, etc. (Personally, I like that last one — ‘facilities manager’ sounds too awesome for any of my outfits and also like a huge responsibility — will there be inspections? And shouldn’t I have been issued a hard hat?)

I love this idea. I’ve been home with my kids (except for that data entry job and the catering, both of which were fabulously fulfilling and afforded me an extra latté and boxed wine) for almost 30 years now. I have way too many kids (4) and I also homeschooled, so there must be some sort of bonus.

I’ve helpfully put together an invoice of my services for the benefit of the paying entity (which I have yet to identify). I’m too lazy and burned out now to determine correct remuneration for each category, so I’ll leave that to the accounting department of the yet-to-be-identified paying entity (I’ll be able to pay for that as soon as I’m paid).

Invoice of Services Rendered

  1. Everything mentioned above (Janitor, Cook, Psychologist, Facilities Manager — there’s that shiver of minor power, again).
  2. Conflict Resolution Expert — daily, with small irrational maniacs.
  3. Master of Distraction — same as above.
  4. Interpreter — in the early years, each charge will speak an undocumented language, random and changeable.
  5. Nurse — squeamish, faints at the sight of blood, but available 24/7.
  6. Chauffeur — this position has left me with a frisson of panic behind the wheel. Is there workman’s comp for that?
  7. Accountant — still serving in this capacity with adult kids (they all have tabs).
  8. Censor — philosophically, I’m opposed, but the 5-year-old is not watching “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Decisions must be made.
  9. Public Relations Expert — sell the ragtag, unruly crew as healthy and productive savants. It takes a certain magic.
  10. Parasitologist — with a concentration in lice, pinworms, and scabies.
  11. Librarian — manage the stacks, read aloud 17,000 times (roughly).
  12. Pharmacist — manage the meds, research alternatives.
  13. Life Coach — build everyone’s best self while neglecting your own.
  14. Fashion Consultant — I’m really bad at this one, you don’t have to pay me.
  15. Medical Researcher — find out why the tiny testicle has disappeared, why the nose bleeds randomly, and what are those spots?
  16. Educational Consultant — should you go to college, where, when, why and who pays?
  17. Resumé Builder — similar magic to the PR position.
  18. Legal Aide — for those unfortunate drug and graffiti incidents.
  19. Pet Wrangler — it’s all for the kids.
  20. Referee — aligned with the conflict resolution position, but requires brawn.

There’s more, but for now we can work from this list. The aforementioned study suggests a yearly salary of $115,000, so that will be considered a baseline. Add whatever you deem appropriate for each listed position — I trust that you will be fair.

I would normally offer a discount for payment within 30 days, but it’s been 30 years now, so that ship has sailed.

Cash or check, please.


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