I learned about a friend's sister who gets paid to be a stay-at-home mom and felt grossly underpaid. I love being a SAHM, but come Friday, there are no checks for me to cash, no monetary number put on the work that I do all week with the kids, no salary. This mom in particular gets paid by her husband every week for essentially being the CEO of the household. I don't know the amount she is paid, but I believe it's substantial, as she has her own bank account and expenses that are designated for her to take care of out of that pay.
I was fascinated by this. When I got married and had kids, my husband and I merged our bank accounts. I was a working mom for a couple of years until I began staying home with the kids and freelancing last year. It works for us, but I will admit there are times that I wish I had my own money, something that really reflects what I do each day, and my own account.
For example, whenever I buy my husband something -- for the holidays or his birthday -- it's not always a surprise because he sometimes sees the purchase listed in our bank statement before I give him the gift. There are ways around this, of course, if I paid with cash is one way, but then I have to share why I'm taking money out so he's aware and our bills aren't affected. Same with credit cards since he is technically the CFO and takes care of the bills.
I also don't like having to ask for money. I don't like feeling like I have to. It makes me feel like I'm asking for permission, for an allowance as if I am 14 again.
I'm going to go buy myself new jeans.
Don't you have a million pairs already?
I need a million and one.
Of course, I'm not just talking about frivolous purchases. But we all deserve those too once in a while.
It's my own fault I'm not more involved in our banking, but when we married and divided up responsibilities, I was happy to give that one up. But there are times I can't help but feel that was a mistake. I'm an adult; I don't want to feel like I have to justify my purchases, but without really having a grasp on our financials, I kind of have to discuss it.
Which is exactly why all stay-at-home moms should get a salary, and perhaps even have their own bank account, or just be more involved in the banking. How much should that salary be? That all depends on how much money is coming in. And with some couples, putting a price on how much the job of a SAHM is worth could cause some major issues. This also goes for stay-at-home dads. What should the stay-at-homes get? Ten percent of the "breadwinner's" salary? Twenty or thirty percent? Should we be in charge of buying the clothes, paying the phone bills, getting the groceries?
This salary could end animosity. It may give stay-at-homes more self worth by putting an actual monetary value to all we do. It could also make SAHMs as happy as working moms, as studies have suggested those who work outside the home are healthier and less prone to depression. It could even end arguments between couples. Until it's time for a raise. Which SAHMs should be up for every year. I think it's a concept worth discussing.
Do you think stay-at-home moms (or dads) deserve a salary?
Image via Tax Credits/Flickr