The life of a homemaker or stay-at-home parent includes an endless amount of demands and to-dos. Depending on the size of the home, family, pets, and numerous other conditions, a stay-at-home parent may work upwards of 98 hours a week.
According to 2019 data from Salary.com, if you are a stay-at-home parent and paid for your services, you would be looking at a median annual salary of $178,201. Why? Because many stay-at-home parents work around the clock. If you have young children, work can often mean nighttime feedings, greeting early morning risers, and late-night meal prep.
In addition, a stay-at-home parent wears many hats and must employ many skills to be a tutor, negotiator, nurse, party planner, and chef, for starters.
- A stay-at-home parent performs various jobs all under the title of the homemaker.
- According to the Pew Research Center, roughly one in five U.S. adults are stay-at-home parents. This figure is from 2018.
- Stay-at-home parents often act as chauffeurs, chefs, nannies, tutors, and housecleaners.
- The discussion of whether or not to pay a stipend to stay-at-home parents is ongoing in American politics.
- During the global pandemic, lockdowns left millions working remotely from home, and people became aware of what it is like to be a stay-at-home parent.
Should Stay-at-Home Parents Be Paid?
According to Oxfam, women reported doing more than three-quarters of unpaid care work globally when compared to men and make up two-thirds of the paid care workforce. They carry out 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day. When valued at minimum wage, this would represent a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year.
There is a growing discussion in the U.S. about whether stay-at-home parents, nearly one out of five adults (as of 2018), should be compensated for their roles in the home. While a homemaker wears many hats, some jobs would net solid salaries as individual professional careers.
Meal preparation is one of the major tasks of most homemakers. From breakfast to dinner, there is plenty of meal planning and cooking to be done. According to PayScale, a personal chef could earn upwards of $50 an hour. If three meals, not including snacks, take someone three hours a day to prepare, that's an easy $1,050 a week.
Grocery shopping is another chore that needs to be factored in. A homemaker must drive to the supermarket, purchase the food and unpack it at home. Let's say grocery delivery services charge a delivery fee of $20, and homemaker shops twice a week. It would equal $160.00 a month spent simply getting groceries to and from the store into a home, let alone cooking them three meals a day.
A clean and tidy home is the foundation of an efficient household. Typical cleaning duties include vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, scrubbing sinks, washing dishes, and making beds.
If stay-at-home parents made an annual salary it could run upwards of $178,00 or more, based on an analysis from Salary.com.
Professional maids or house cleaning service providers often charge by the hour, the number of rooms, or the home's square footage. According to Housekeeper.com, cleaners make between $20 to $40 an hour on average in the U.S. Given those figures, an experienced cleaner, like a stay-at-home parent, working four hours a day for seven days a week (a homemaker is constantly cleaning up) would make $1,120 a week, or $4,480 a month.
Stay-at-home parents provide full-time, live-in child care. This type of service from a professional provider usually comes with a host of perks, including health insurance, paid vacation, sick days, federal holidays off, dental and vision coverage, and bonuses. These benefits are in addition to drawing a salary.
According to the International Nanny Association, a live-in nanny earns, on average, almost $20 an hour. For a 40-hour week, a stay-at-home parent on that salary would make $800 a week or $3,200 a month.
A private car service might seem like a high-end luxury to most, but the beneficiaries of a stay-at-home parent get this service daily. Companies like Dryver, which provides personal drivers that use the client's own car as the means of transportation, offer a glimpse into the cost of this homemaker task. If you hire Dryver, it costs between $25.95 and $32.95 an hour. If a stay-at-home parent were paid a similar salary, they could make up to $1,380—driving six hours a day, seven days a week.
Clean clothes come at a cost when you have to pay for the service that most homemakers do for free. Professional laundry services charge by the pound. According to the website StreetEasy, laundry services in NYC, for example, charge anywhere from $1 to $2 a pound.
If a homemaker does 4 pounds of laundry per day, seven days a week, for $2 a pound, they would earn $8 a day, or $56 a week, and if you count sheets, comforters, and towels, which often weight more than clothing, that amount could be double in terms of price.
The Bottom Line
The daily work of a stay-at-home parent or homemaker can sometimes be taken for granted by other family members. However, these services could earn a homemaker a considerable wage if they took those skills to the marketplace.
Homemakers, in general, contribute a lot more to the home in addition to these tasks, and no amount of money can fill those needs.
What Is a Stay-at-Home Parent?
A stay-at-home parent usually means a parent who stays at home to run their family's household and take care of their children.
Do Stay-at-Home Parents Earn Money?
Some stay-at-home parents work part-time or freelance jobs to earn money but the role of a homemaker is a non-paying job in the traditional sense.
What Does a Homemaker Do?
A homemaker often cooks, cleans, cares for children, helps with homework, and may pay bills, keep household schedules, and do the shopping. An ability to juggle responsibilities and multi-task are key skills to have as a homemaker.