What Is Mom's Work Worth?

By SHRM Online staff May 5, 2011

If mothers received a salary for their at-home duties, stay-at-home moms would be raking in a total of $115,432 for a 96.6-hour workweek and mothers working outside the home would bring in $63,472 for a 55.9-hour week, according to a recent survey.

That includes a base salary of $36,968 and overtime of $78,464 for stay-at-home mothers and a base salary of $39,763 and overtime of $23,709 for mothers working outside the home. Moms’ compensation declined from a total of $117,856 for stay-at-home mothers in 2010 and $71,860 for moms working outside the home in 2010.

The findings are from Salary.com, which looked at the salaries of 10 occupations that typically are part of a mother’s routine—janitor, cook, housekeeper, laundry machine operator, van driver, psychologist, computer operator, facilities manager, day care center teacher and CEO.

It used Certified Compensation Professional benchmarking principles to calculate the annual and hourly salary an employer would have to pay someone to perform each of the roles a mother fulfills.

“Most of us just see Mom as Mom, yet at Salary.com we see her as the compilation of 10 jobs in one person—from CEO to chauffeur,” said Evilee Ebb, general manager of Salary.com, in a news release.

“The breadth of Mom’s responsibilities is beyond what most workers could ever experience day-to-day. Imagine if you had to attract and retain a candidate to fill this role,” Ebb said.

Ebb called the value of the annual survey “straightforward,” noting that Salary.com market-priced a mother’s roles in the same manner it market-prices other jobs. “It’s a revealing endeavor that puts a price tag on the relationship that is perhaps the most impactful in any family,” she said.

The average hours mothers spend in the various roles are based on a Salary.com survey conducted April 16, 2010 through April 1, 2011 with 4,892 stay-at-home mothers and 1,724 mothers who work outside the home.

Stay-at-home mothers’ time spent per week as:

  • Housekeeper, 15.4 hours.
  • Cook, 14.1 hours.
  • Day care center teacher (responsible for their children’s social and academic development), 13.2 hours.
  • Facilities manager, 10.7 hours.
  • Computer operator (paying bills, organizing activities and communicating with teachers and coaches), 9.5 hours.
  • Van driver (chauffeuring their children), 7.8 hours.
  • Janitor, 7.8 hours.
  • Psychologist, 7.6 hours.
  • Laundry, 6.6 hours.
  • CEO, 3.9 hours.

Working-outside-the-home mothers’ time spent per week as:

  • Housekeeper, 8 hours.
  • Cook, 7.8 hours.
  • Facilities manager, 6.9 hours.
  • Computer operator, 6.2 hours.
  • Psychologist, 5.3 hours.
  • Van driver, 5.2 hours.
  • Day care center teacher, 5 hours.
  • Janitor,4.4 hours.
  • Laundry machine operator, 3.9 hours.
  • CEO, 3.2 hours.

“In this year’s results, we see that Mom is spending more time in ‘do it yourself’ mode by stepping up her facilities manager role,” compared to 2010, Ebb said. Salary.com is a division of Kenexa, a provider of business solutions for HR.

“Equally interesting is her expanded focus on being the family psychologist—perhaps a reflection on Mom’s attempts to stave off the impact of economic uncertainties and turbulent times in her household,” while her role as CEO diminished.

In 2010, the survey found mothers were spending more time cooking, maintaining the home, and serving as family chauffeur.

Mothers can calculate their own at-home salary worth and create a personalized, localized “paycheck” by clicking on Salary.com’s Mom Salary Wizard.


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