There is much discussion surrounding what it costs to raise a child, but a large portion of the expense can be reduced by having a mom stay at home with her kids. This often thankless job doesn't pay in the same way as a traditional occupation, however, leaving the matriarch of the family to garner her wages in snuggles and a somewhat delayed feeling of accomplishment. In honor of Mother's Day, we attempt to answer the question of "what would these homebound heroes make if they were paid in dollars?"

TUTORIAL: Credit Cards

Got Kids?
While it's not an exact science, the calculator provided at Salary.com is a nice starting point for figuring out the currency value of a stay-at-home mom. Since the amount of work will multiply with each child added to the household, a mom with a handful of young ones in the home (especially those who haven't entered school yet) will increase her worth.

The Value of Add-Ons
Customizing the value of a stay-at-home mom can get tricky, especially when you factor in the worth of all of the services a typical day may require of her. In addition to the obvious ones, such as cook, babysitter and driver (which can earn a mom between $7 and $15 an hour), there are the ones we may not immediately attribute to our mothers - and which can have a value of $25 or more per hour. They may include psychologist, groundskeeper and event planner.

To Work or Not to Work?
As if a stay-at-home mom's life isn't challenging enough, some moms rise to the occasion of a demanding household budget and earn a traditional living from home, as well. While it's not often logistically possible to be earning two task wages for the same hour, such as cleaning the house and consulting with a client, many moms combined working hours for their "mom job" and their "professional job" would easily put them at over 100 hours per week. This added strain on a mom isn't usually put there by choice; many single mothers and those who are replacing the income of an out-of-work spouse find that working from home, while difficult, can offer the best of both worlds.

Other Professional Duties
Many moms have unique lifestyles that help to increase their economic value even further. For the homeschooling mom or one that provides medical care and developmental coaching to a child with special needs, there truly is no replacement value for their work. When the mother with specialized skills does call in for reinforcement, which can take the form of tutoring services or respite care, the bill for such backup could total $10,000 per year or more.

TUTORIAL: Banking

Location, Location, Location
What salary survey would be complete without the understanding that some parts of the country just demand more cash? The Salary.com survey tool allows for parents to input their zip code to get an estimate of the economics for caring for kids all over the U.S. A more rural mom may fetch up to $90,000 less annually than a metropolitan mom.

The Bottom Line
It's easy to use calculators and spreadsheets to place a value on a mom's time and skills, but doing so may leave you a bit short. Hollis Colquhoun, an accredited financial counselor and financial survival expert for women, explains that moms "create income, not only by performing tasks that you'd have to pay for otherwise, but by freeing up money to pay for other expenses or to put into savings." She uses the example of outsourcing the mom's tasks at the cost of $2,000 per month, and needing to earn approximately $2,500 per month before taxes to pay for it. In this case, the mom's services would result in cost savings equivalent to earning $30,000 per year.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    Explaining Market Penetration

    Market penetration is the measure of how much a good or service is being used within a total potential market.
  2. Economics

    Calculating the Marginal Rate of Substitution

    The marginal rate of substitution determines how much of one good a consumer will give up to obtain extra units of another good.
  3. Stock Analysis

    The Best Stocks to Buy for Less than $10 before Year End

    Learn about the best stocks to buy under $10. These stocks are speculative but have considerable upside given their valuation and market conditions.
  4. Investing Basics

    10 Companies That Yuppies Love

    Learn about 10 companies loved by the modern Yuppie, including how this demographic's impressive buying power has boosted these companies' earnings.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    Millennials Guide: Freelancer vs. Employee

    How to decide if joining the gig economy is right for you.
  6. Professionals

    Top Financial Planning Issues for Older Parents

    Clients who have children later in life present an opportunity for advisors. Here are the key the financial planning issues that need to be addressed.
  7. Budgeting

    The 5 Most Expensive States for Child Care

    To get a better sense of how child care costs can fluctuate, here's a look at the costs of child care across the country.
  8. Economics

    Understanding Forward Integration

    Forward integration happens when a business takes over functions that were originally performed by its partners farther down the supply chain.
  9. Markets

    Should You Be a Bull or a Bear Right Now?

    Ask a bull: If the economy is truly improving, where's all the consumer spending?
  10. Stock Analysis

    What’s Uber Worth?

    Value projections for Uber have been all over the map, but the most important projection doesn't come in the form of numbers.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Duty Free

    Goods that international travelers can purchase without paying ...
  2. Negative Option Deals

    A dubious business practice that involves supplying a typically ...
  3. G.19 Report

    A monthly statistical report from the U.S. Federal Reserve that ...
  4. Drip Pricing

    A pricing technique in which only part of a product or service’s ...
  5. Behavioral Modeling

    Using available and relevant consumer and business spending data ...
  6. Digital Nomad

    Digital nomads are people who are location independent and use ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Are Social Security payments included in the US GDP calculation?

    Social Security payments are not included in the U.S. definition of the gross domestic product (GDP). Transfer Payments For ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the retail sector?

    The unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rank as two of the most important economic indicators to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do alimony and child support factor into my taxable income?

    The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, applies a different tax treatment to alimony than child support. Most forms of alimony ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do changes in interest rates affect the spending habits in the economy?

    Changes in interest rates can have different effects on consumer spending habits depending on a number of factors, including ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a VAR ...

    An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company that manufactures a basic product or a component product, such as a ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How much does seasonality affect the net sales figures of companies, such as retailers?

    Seasonality affects both sales and net sales figures of companies in different ways. For some companies, seasonality has ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!