The life of a homemaker or stay-at-home parent is one that 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 mom (or dad), 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 in order to be a tutor, negotiator, nurse, party planner, and chef, for starters.

Should Stay-at-Home Parents Be Paid?

An analysis from Oxfam in 2020 reported that unpaid work by women (and even in 2020, women stay at home doing unpaid labor more than men, according to the organization) in the U.S. would be worth $1.5 trillion in 2019, using minimum wage per hour for its calculations.

There is a growing discussion in the U.S. about whether stay-at-home parents, nearly one out of five adults, should be compensated for their roles in the home.

Key Takeaways

  • 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.
  • Stay-at-home parents 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.

We examined some of the tasks that a homemaker or stay-at-home parent might do to find out how much his or her services would net as individual professional careers. We only take into consideration tasks that have monetary values.

Private Chef

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 $65 an hour. If three meals, not including snacks, take someone three hours a day to prepare, that's an easy $1,365 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 a grocery delivery services charge a delivery fee of $20, and a homemaker shops twice a week, that's $160.00 a month spent on simply getting groceries to and from the store into a home.

House Cleaner

A clean and tidy home is the foundation of an efficient household. Typical cleaning duties include vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, scrubbing sinks, loading the dishwasher, 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 square footage of the home. 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 constant cleaning up) would make $1,120 a week, or $4,480 a month.

Child Care

Stay-at-home parents provide full-time, live-in child care. This type of service from a professional provider would usually come with a host of perks including health insurance, paid vacation, and 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, $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.

Driver

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 on a daily basis. Companies like Dryver, which provide 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 $22.95 an hour. If a stay-at-home parent were paid a similar salary they would make nearly $4,000—driving six hours a day, seven days a week.

Laundry Service

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 Angie List, the average price (although it may vary by region) to wash, dry, and fold clothing may be as high as $3 a pound.

Items that take longer to dry such as comforters, blankets, rugs. and winter clothes are assessed at a price of $5 and up. If a homemaker does 4 pounds of laundry per day, seven days a week, they would make $336 a week.

The Bottom Line

The daily work of a stay-at-home parent or homemaker can sometimes be taken for granted by his or her family members. However, these services could earn a homemaker a considerable wage if he or she 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.