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Tuesday, May 6. 2014
I worked part-time when my kids were young, and almost 3/4 time when they entered grade school. Right or wrong? I don't know.
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How much is the overtime my wife and I put in raising kids after we get home from work and the weekends?
Dr. Berry doesn't have a firm any grasp of how a market economy works.
Ze hausfrau is worth x dollars as a secretary or editor of Newsweak (with a small multiplier because the system prefers her to be a worker drone), minus whatever value, intangible or not, that her family places on her as a stay-at-home mom.
I always think these analyses of stay-at-home moms is silly. Really, you'd have to reduce it down to an hourly wage position...and since there are only so many 'work' hours in a day, the type of work a woman does as a stay-at-home mom is equivalent to someone working as a housekeeping or cook or child care worker. Probably barely above minimum wage.
And be honest, ladies, once the babies are past 1-year-old, you have a lot more time to spend reading the paper or watching tv while Johnny Jr. plays in the same room. Once they are potty trained and obey mom, even more 'free' time. It's not a bad gig, really.
It's silly in a way, but if you think of it in replacement cost terms, it's not so silly. What would it cost to replace the services of the homemaker for at least several years? Forget the hourly rate, you won't find anything close to comparable at any nominal hourly rate. Think substantial replacement costs and insure accordingly. It would probably take a team of professionals. Nannies, cleaners, cooks and teachers. Depending on the ages of the children of course. Lots and lots of money.
Another way of looking at it is what is the cost not to stay at home and raise kids?
What are the benefits for having a stay at home mom (or dad)?
I wonder if we want to put a dollar value on things like this. What is the dollar value of your wife or girlfriend?
It would not cost 'lots and lots of money.' A housekeeper could come in once a week and clean the house and do laundry (possibly 8 hours of work at $10/hour = $80). That's about all a normal family of 4 would need in a regular sized house. If we are deciding that working people would do NO chores, not even cook or do the dishes for themselves...well, I am not sure what to say there.
Child care for my 2 kids when they were toddlers was $300/week. So we are talking $380 worth of work per week that would be paid for.
I balk at the silly items like 'driver' and 'CEO.' The driving is parent-controlled. You don't have to sign your kids up for any activities nor drive them to school. You CHOOSE to. Therefore, it is not a 'job.' It does not have to get done.
Also, stay-at-home moms do not 100% of the time do ALL the chores in the house. Dads also do their share of work (maybe not dusting or cleaning toilets...although some do...but definitely repairs/yard work). So if we are including ALL chore-like things that are done around the house, we would have to look at the work dads are doing after work at home. My husband is MUCH busier than I am on the weekends!
When our children were young my wife was mostly a stay at home mom. I was out of the home 10-14 hours a day, plus travel, making us a living.
In addition to cleaning the home, the kids, and laundry was certainly more than 8 hours/week. In addition to that was grocery shopping, meal planning, meal preparation, monitoring their homework and play time. It also included shuttling them to and from, as well as cheering them on for activities, volunteering for school activities and youth orchestra, etc.
None of that extra-curricular activity was necessary and if it could not be provided then, well, that's life. But I believe it was all part and parcel of raising the wonderful daughters we raised. I would have wanted as much of that to continue as possible.
As you mention, men, at least in my case, do something approaching our share. Roofs and gutters need cleaning, houses need washing and painting, repairs and renovations. Their sports needed coaches.
It was more than a full time job and we each put 25K+ miles on our cars doing it.
"Your mom is dead. Sit still and behave till I get home tonight," would have been a very unsatisfactory life for them, in my humble opinion. I paid for insurance to cover $50K/year for 10 years back then and my wife thought it a great idea. Thankfully it was money spent to no purpose.
As a 'stay at home mom' I was the first one up in the morning and the last one to bed at night. We burned wood for our main source of heat in an airtight Lopi wood stove and someone had to bank the fire at night and get it up and going in the morning because it was COLD. Then after hunting season, it was standing in the kitchen picking hair out of the Venison/Elk meat before repackaging the same for the chest freezer in the garage. The last deer killed, by my now thirty-one year old son, I had made into summer sausage, hamburger and breakfast sausage. Venison can be difficult to make appetizing, yet no one has heart disease so far.
I left the same comment at the link, but it's very important to determine how much a stay at home mom is worth and then get some life insurance to cover it. We traditionally cover the working spouse in case that income disappears, but mom's imputed income would need to be replaced if something happened to her.
Agreed. First of all, Mary Poppins doesn't come free of charge and if the stay at home or partially stay at home parent dies, you need to insure against that loss. Ten times the annual income of the highest earner is a good benchmark.
This is absolutely correct! Many, if not most, young families get some life insurance to replace the main source of income for some amount of time if that earner should go toes up.
But if it is a stay at home mom who buys the farm, well, until and unless dad remarries a stay at home stepmom, he's gonna have to fund the child care - and it won't, or should it, be cheap.
Once the kids are grown the insurance gets adjusted accordingly.
A price is a market-clearing price.
Something is only traded though if it's more valuable to the buyer than to the seller. So there are two values in every trade, so that both can come out ahead.
In the case of moms, it's not obvious what is being traded and who with.
So I'd say it's a nonsense price, unless you're hiring a nanny.
That's one way of calculating Mom's value. There are others (e.g., #2).
If Mom were run over by a truck, we could calculate the value of her life in a wrongful death suit brought by her several babies and husband.
Jealous Sister could contract for a hit on Mom, the price might be some standard rate.
"For example, according to the study, per week Moms spend 14 hours as a Cook, 14.4 hours as a Maid, 8 hours as a Taxi Driver, 7.8 hours as a Janitor, 3.3 hours as a CEO, 7.3 hours as a Psychologist, 8.9 hours as a Computer Operator, 6.2 hours as a Laundry Operator, 10.8 hours as a Facilities Manager, and 13.3 hours as a Day Care Teacher."
I'm curious, who does all that when mom doesn't stay at home? And let's keep it real, not assume the working mom doesn't have a household staff.
So to some degree these tasks are getting done for both types of moms. Otherwise, you have to add that value provided by working moms to their paid salary to determine their worth.
This is clearly wrong from the start.
If you assume a minimum wage of $7.50 an hour X 40 hours per week X 52 weeks plus the overtime, you still only get to $47,190.
I question the baseline hourly wage they've applied.
More importantly, if you use market demand to determine that wage, the fact there are 'so many' stay at home moms means that wage would be lower were it not for national minimum wage laws (a completely different argument around the justification of THIS is required, but since it exists, we'll use it).
In addition, it does not factor in the reality that dad does stuff to. Let's look at things I've done over the years:
Mow the lawn
Fix, paint, build or rebuild various parts of the home structure
Cook meals 1,2 or 3 times a week - more if necessary.
Help with homework.
Help with playing cabbie to sports and school events.
Funny, I never complained about being unpaid for these things.
This whole "parents who stay home and raise kids are overlooked and underpaid" is a crock of bull. We make choices in life. Either we're happy with those choices or unhappy. If we're unhappy, then figure out how to change that arrangement.
Mom should include the value of her sexual services rendered to Dad.
While there is value to what the stay-at-home spouse does, I'm pretty sure that they are not constantly on the clock. If so, then who are the millions that watch Good Morning America, soap operas, Dr. Phil, and Judge Judy?
I think one part of the equation that cannot be overlooked is the impact it has on the children. We've seen many latch key kids go bad over the years as an empty house invites friends and trouble. Being home with them in those "curious" years can mean the difference between a directed child and one that gets into mischief while the cat's away.