The main reason I’m posting this is because Annette and I saw a blurb about this on the news last night and her reaction to it (as was mine) was “what a crock.”
You may have seen or heard the story, that some “study” has suggested that U.S. mothers deserve a salary of around $134 K a year. Here’s a quote/passage from this Yahoo News article:
A full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work, an amount similar to a top U.S. ad executive, a marketing director or a judge, according to a study released Wednesday.
A mother who works outside the home would earn an extra $85,876 annually on top of her actual wages for the work she does at home, according to the study by Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts Salary.com.
To reach the projected pay figures, the survey calculated the earning power of the 10 jobs respondents said most closely comprise a mother’s role — housekeeper, day-care teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive and psychologist.
First off– and this is where I’m putting on my academic hat briefly– this study has enough holes in it to taxi a 747 through. People don’t hold ten different jobs at the same time. All of us– moms, dads, kids, etc.– multi-task like this. In our household, these tasks are not all neatly assigned to “mom,” either. I mean, I’m more of the laundry machine operator, cook, and computer operator in our
corporation er household than Annette, I think. I could go on, but at face value this, is just freakin’ stoopid.
And it’s also patronizing, ultimately. We all know that the “job” of “home maker” has been traditionally undervalued, and we all also know damn well that there’s no way there’s going to be some program to pay mothers. So what can we do to make mom-types feel better? I know! Let’s invent some crazy dollar figure for how much they are worth– but not too crazy, not like “millions” of dollars, just six figures. That will give some moms the chance to say “see, I am worth it.”
Agh! I’m going to food engineer some breakfast soon….
5 thoughts on “Mother this, buddy…”
I don’t know anything about this poll, but you should read Ann Crittenden’s _The Price of Motherhood_.
I agree that this is primarily a placative argument to bolster a hegemonic order; I mean, come on, who do you hear saying “I am the CEO of this family?” Women who are desperately trying to make their asshole spouse take a more active role, that’s who. Now that asshole can say – “it’s ok honey, you are worth more than I make! now…could you grab me a beer?”
Yeah, Steve did not phrase my objections to this story very well. What I’m objecting to is that moms simply would not make $100K a year for what they do because what they do is not valued in our culture: day care workers make minimum wage and people who clean houses don’t do so well either. Telling mom that her unpaid labor is worth a fortune is a crock because it is not — it is “worth” very little in a capital sense. I was also annoyed that the “study” was not cited in any way and these numbers were not expalined or backed up — just some blank-eyed newscaster blandly smiling and telling us to honor our mothers because, shucks, they’re worth a million!
Geez! I spent about 14 years of my life as a stay-at-home-mom and this kind of thing really pisses me off. The quality of the study is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how you calculate the “worth” of the job, the pay is still ZERO. Do I need another “pat on the head” reminder of this?? No!
Yes, as a working mother who shares household duties with my husband, this fake study really pissed me off. But I found a humourous post that goes about showing the absurdity in a round about way: http://workingmotherbacktalk.blogspot.com/2006/05/housewife-worth-134-k-dog-worth-125-k.html