8 Things Moms Do That You Can't Put a Price Tag On

A few times a year, there's a lot of talk about assigning some sort of monetary value to the work that stay-at-home parents do. Typically this kind of work is referred to as mothering work, specifically, because as a society we've more or less decided that child-rearing as an occupation should be avoided by men lest they catch a serious case of cooties. A new article by Laura Fitzgerald Cooper in the Washington Post, however, is asking us to start thinking about valuing the work mothers do in a different way.


Assigning an enormous but fictional salary to stay-at-home moms, which is what usually happens during conversations about the worth of mothers, is a dead end to progress. It's a convenient way to feel good about how much we really care about mothers, without actually dealing with any of the things that would do more than pay lip service to their value: national paid maternity leave policies, say, or publicly funded day cares, or a universal 401(k) program. Besides, pretending that mothers are basically worth of the same salary that doctors, CEOs, and chefs make devalues both the work that those actual professions do as well as the choice that these women have made: I stay at home with my kids, and my husband and I did the economic calculus to figure out if and how that was going to work. I don't need a pretend paycheck to make me feel good about that choice.

That said, there are plenty of examples of non-monetary ways to value mothering work suggested by Cooper in her piece: For one thing, an emphasis on valuation and respect from the non-primary parent. Of course, valuing the work that moms perform is hard to do without having an idea of all the minutiae they actually deal with day to day. So let's run down a list of things Mr. (or Ms.) Non-Primary might not be aware of.


Image via © PathDoc / shutterstock 

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