Stay-at-Home Moms Deserve a Salary

Rant 29

money in jarI 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

a mom's life, childcare, work


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Sunshine

@fleurdelys3110 - unless you are independently wealthy or run a single-parent household you are dependent on your spouse's money, just in a different way. . You likely also use daycare, schools or family to care for your kids while you work. That type of dependence might work for you but doesn't for everyone.

cleig... cleigh717

Its not crazy. Statistically its better for all children. So by staying at home I'm statistically more likely to raise betr quality kids, so why shudnt that be recognized? Not by my husband who makes our money directly but by the government. Children r the future. There shud be a financial incentive for families who r borderline can/can't afford it. Like an extra child-credit or whatever come tax time. I have heard of other nations doing it its not that ridiculous. I do appreciate my payment of kisses and hugs and being bonded but I wish more women could make that a reality. The formative yrs r critical. Our society really discounts the maternal bond. Best example: how our country views breastfeeding. Its sad.

PAmom... PAmommy32

I am a SAHM and my husband and I have a joint bank account.  Even when I did work and make a salary we still had the joint account and both salaries went into that same account.  We do have separate credit cards but that is for convinience and we each have access to each others accounts.  I never ask to take cash out of our account or to spend money on anything because it is our money.   That said, we also pay bills and manage our financials jointly so I know how much I can safely spend.   I would be a little annoyed and underappreciated if I had to ask for money but I think that says more about the marital relationship than it does about whether or not a spouse contributes monetarily.  I think as long as the financial setup is working for the couple, whatever it is, then it is fine but it needs to work for both husband and wife.


fleur... fleurdelys3110

@Sunshine -- I'm not saying you shouldn't use any of your spouse's money at all, just that I personally could not be completely dependent on my spouse to make money in case something should happen. I would then have very limited finances and options. I would never be willing to put myself in that position.

Kaela Wheeler

One of the previous commentors mentioned being ok if "your husband gives you some spending money". I think that's the attitude that needs to be avoided if you and your spouse are going to do the single income family arrangement. My husband doesn't "give" me any of "his" money. It's our money and we both consult with one another on when/how to spend it. I don't need a salary because the money going into our joint account is just as much my salary as it is his. We're both grateful to one another for the contributions we make to our family, monetary or otherwise.

nonmember avatar Vanessa

Whn you decide to be a SAHP, you agree to a monetary salary of zero. That is your salary.
I agree with Kaela. "Giving" a SAHP a bit of money is ridiculous. When couples agree to have one person at home, part of that agreement is that the earner will be earring for two. I am a stay at home wife ( no kids yet) and I have access to all of our money. I spend the majority out of our joint account but we do transfer several hundred every month to my personal account for buying my hubby gifts so they will be a surprise (this way he doesn't see a transaction on our account). I also have my own cc, (obviously paid off by our joint acct). His money is my money and I don't have to ask or wait for permission to spend it.

Telep... Telephus44

Different money arrangements work for different marraiges.  To say that this system you've outlined is a necessity for all SAHM's is silly.  I know some marraiges that handle money this way and it works well.  Some marraiges have one common pot and that works well for them too.  Some married couples have completely separate finances.  It's about finding what works best for YOUR marraige.  If you are unhappy with the current system you have and want to change it, please do.  But don't assume that everyone needs to do it the same way.

Nellie Athome

If you have to have a salary to find worth in what you do I pity you. Be it a SAHM or volunteer work the value comes from doing the best job possible. It is articles such as this one which devalue SAHM. And, oh yeah, I am a housewife, my husband brings in 98% of the income but we both have $100/month for our own frivolous use.

Frida266 Frida266

Absolutely!!!!  I had 4 kids with my first husband who was a jerk and I got no alimony and never got the half of his military pension I should have which would total about $120,000 right now.  I had two more kids with My second husband and am still raising them.  He was crazy, esp with money and abusive and I didn't get anything from him either.  My health started to fail when I was with him and haven't worked in a while and am completly broke, don't know how I'm going to pay my rent or buy gifts and those two go through life, la, la, la without a care in the world.  I pretty much raised these kids on my own.  You should get a salary, SS benefits and a pension.

Cari Dato

Cleigh717, do you realize that for the government to "give" people money to stay home, that money has to first come out of someone else's paycheck? Also, the money to run the government agency that is going to oversee the payment has to come out of someone's paycheck. How about you just let my family keep more of my husband's paycheck to begin with, and we can all save the cost of running another government agency?

11-20 of 29 comments First 123 Last