In past generations, with the exception of such special situations as a world war, it has been the tradition in most Western countries for mothers to stay at home rather than to take regular work. Although this is probably more true for middle-class white families than the population as a whole, changes in morals and traditions have made it less likely for any woman to stay at home and more likely that a woman will seek outside employment. Nevertheless, this does not negate the fact that a stay at home mother represents a real economic value to the family. To replace the services provided by a mother working from home would have cost as much as $115,432 in 2011, the last year for which such figures are available. This actually represents a drop of about $2,424 over the previous year when the estimation of the value of a stay-at-home mother was as much as $117,856. These figures are derived by combining a base pay with what would be paid in overtime for a domestic or professional worker. In 2011, moms would have earned a base salary of $36,968 plus $78,464 in overtime.
Such figures are attained by combining estimates of what a paid worker would have received in all of the roles that stay at home mothers fulfill. Such moms work an average of 96.6 hours a week fulfilling several roles such as laundry operator (an estimated 6.3 hours a week); facilities manager – handling finances, paying bills, etc. (10.7 hours a week); cook (13.9 hours); van driver (7.9 hours); janitor (7.7 hours); housekeeper (14.8 hours); day care teacher (13.7 hours), etc. To get some idea of what this means in dollars, the services of a facilities manager comes to an annual figure of $17,735, a van driver – $5,688, a Cook – $9,487, a day care teacher – $9,237, housekeeper – $7,511, janitor $3.908. Other roles filled by stay at home moms and their estimated annual worth include chief executive officer – $9,563, psychologist – $15,573, and computer operator – $8,142.
Even if mom works outside of the house the extra time that she spends working in the home has an estimated value of $66,979. Actually, although these are significant figures, the total amount has been dropping in recent years maybe because of the recession. In 2007, Salary.com, the website that provides these numbers, estimated mom’s worth at an annual figure of $138,094.
Although it is clearly evident that moms have a real economic value, most don’t give themselves credit. A study by Insure.com found that 11 percent of women valued mom’s household work at under $10,000 a year. Only 7 percent were willing to give it a six-figure salary. Marvin Feldman, president, and CEO of the LIFE Foundation puts it this way: “Just because someone doesn’t earn a salary doesn’t mean that they don’t make significant contributions to the family that could be costly to replace.” He encouraged women to consider what it might cost their spouse to hire someone to replace their services.