When new father Steven Nelms and his wife Glory realized that they couldn’t afford daycare for their son Ezra, Steven became curious about the work that Glory did that everyone seems to take for granted. After all, stay-at-home parents don’t reap any financial rewards for busting their butts all day, but we don’t deny that they do. So just for fun, Steven started crunching the numbers and consulting experts and found out that based on the duties and current average wages in the United States, his wife and other stay-at-home parents should be making a salary of $73,960 a year.
For reference, the national average median income in the United States is currently $51,939, according to the most recent U.S. Census. And instead of making a very comfortable salary — in any state — stay-at-home parents make nothing.
Here is the breakdown:
Cleaning Service: $50 to 100 per visit at least once a week.
Personal Shopper: $65 per hour at four hours a week.
Chef: $240 a week.
Laundry: $25 a week at the bare minimum.
PR Assistant when she accompanies him to work functions: $75 per hour.
Nelms points out on his blog that the average salary for a professional nanny is $705 per week, or $36,660 a year. And all that work is not even for their own kid. But he also didn’t want people thinking that he was praising his wife for “doing the right thing” by staying home with their child; this experiment wasn’t supposed to be about patronizing moms, which is why I chose the phrase “stay-at-home parent” throughout — an increasing number of you readers at home with the kids are dudes, which is great because they are also your kids. But no matter which parent has taken on the domestic duties, they’d be making some pretty decent bank if they were earning a salary. That’s why Nelms said that even though he and his wife couldn’t afford daycare, he also couldn’t afford her and that makes him feel so many feelings:
The fact of the matter is that our income doesn’t even come close to covering what she does for our family. I would have to make over 100K to even begin to be able to cover my living expenses as well as employ my wife as a Stay-At-Home Mom!
In short, I can’t afford for my wife to stay at home. And I’ve tragically failed to show my wife the appreciation that she deserves. She loves me, loves our son, and loves our family, so obviously she isn’t doing any of those things for a paycheck or even for recognition. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to know that as a Stay-At-Home Mom her appraised salary is nearly double my actual income.
As one of the great philosophers of our generation once put it, love don’t cost a thing. So know that love will be accepted in lieu of money to cover the cost of your screaming guilt.