When I married my husband, we had five babies in seven years and moved 11 times in 13 years. I also had two stepdaughters for a total of seven children to support. I left a nice job as a broker to have a more rewarding career as a SAHM (stay at home mom). One of the questions I frequently heard was: "Do you work?"
What do you mean, do I work? I would think even though I politely answered, "Yes, I work very hard as a stay-at-home mom." Sometimes, an unsuspecting troglodyte would go on to say something totally thoughtless such as "Well, I meant do you really work. Do you have a job?"
I would bite my tongue until it bled.
What I wanted to say was, "What do you mean do I really work? I work a heck of a lot harder that you do, mister! I'm an accountant, a contract administrator, a chauffeur, a teacher, a nurse, a soccer mom, a stylist, a wife and a chef! Plus 10 other job specialties! I do all these things as a mom—I'M A CEO MOM, MISTER!"
They usually didn't ask the same question twice.
These days, as a financial writer & speaker, the Founder of Heroes at Home, podcast co-host at "The Money Millhouse," an admissions liaison officer —and a mom, I've talked with scores of spouses who work outside the home because of the status of our economy and by necessity–not choice.
Each year, Salary.com issues a report on what a mom's time is really worth. According to this site, "Based on a survey of more than 40,000 mothers, Salary.com determined that the time mothers spend performing 10 typical job functions would equate to an annual salary of $112,962 for a stay-at-home mom. That's a lot of worth associated with this great job of motherhood!
What is your time worth? You can log into a calculator that tells you what you would be paid on the economy for all the work you do as a SAHM or as a mom who also works outside the home and inside the home.
How effective is the mom's work outside the home? Does it pay to work in today's economy with rising prices and a modest hourly wage? Many spouses who move frequently do not often have the luxury of annual pay raises at the same company. For example, let's look at Jennifer.
Jennifer was an administrative assistant who needed to work outside the home to make ends meet. She made an average wage of $9.50 per hour and felt she contributed greatly to the family's finances. She only had one child in day care, traveled a short distance to work and paid no state income taxes. Then Jennifer attended one of my Living Rich for Less seminars and was challenged with the idea of "crunching the numbers." She completed the "Working Mom's Compensation Chart" and was shocked.
The amazing fact Jennifer discovered was, by working full time, she was making $3 per week! She didn't realize how those extra pizza nights (because she was too tired to cook), and the trips to the beauty salon (to maintain a professional hairstyle), and all those lunches (away from home) added up. She realized she needed to make some dramatic adjustments. She decided there was a better use of her energy and quit her job outside the home.
But Jennifer didn't stop there. She implemented some money-saving strategies found on this blog and is making ends meet at home. She has less stress in her life and the freedom to contribute to her family's financial needs through saving money and by launching her own home-based writing business. In her case, a penny saved was more than a penny earned.
Once you come up with a figure, ask the big question. Is my time, energy and effort worth ______ dollars a week? It may be worth it, and that's great for you if it's your choice.
Whether you are a SAHM or a mom who works outside the home—your work is priceless in terms of all you do for your family and for others. You deserve a Happy Mother's Day! Thanks for your hard work, you're leaving a legacy through your children that will last for decades to come.
Ellie Kay is the best-selling author of 15 books, a media veteran of 2800+ interviews and the founder of the nonprofit, Heroes at Home 501(c)(3). As a speaker at more than 1000 events, she's earned the elite Toastmaster Designation of Accredited Speaker, an honor she achieved in 2015 out of four million Toastmasters past and present. She is married to the world's greatest fighter pilot, and they have seven financially smart Millennials as well as six grandchildren. To follow her blog or contact her, go to www.elliekay.com and www.heroesathome.com. The Kays make their home in Los Angeles County, California.
This article originally appeared at elliekay.com.
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