Martyr Moms

It seems that every few years someone comes out with a study of what salary a stay-at-home mom would get if she got paid for all that she does in a day.

These studies get under my skin like you wouldn’t believe.  Well, maybe not so much the study as the women who cling to them as a means for self validation.   Here are the job categories they include in computing the salary:  housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, CEO and psychologist.   They must have forgotten the job of prostitute for having sex with one’s husband.

(And yes, I also hate it when moms are called the CEO of the house.  If so, what does that make the dad?  The venture capitalist?  Isn’t it supposed to be an equal partnership?)

I’m going to ignore for a moment the fact that some of those jobs draw the salaries they do because of the training, education, accreditation and risk involved — none of which apply in the mom context. 

But if these women wanted to be van drivers or cooks instead of moms (and get paid for it), I’m sure there were avenues open to them to do that.  However, what they decided to do was become parents who are primary caretakers of their children.  If that’s a choice willingly made, that should be its own reward.  An arbitrary salary should not make someone feel any better about themselves.  If one feels unappreciated at home, then talk about it and work it out, but flashing that fake salary is just sad.

I mean, where else in life is it acceptable to quantify things of value this way?  Does someone ever say, “you should be lucky I’m your best friend because it would cost you $20,000 to pay a shrink to listen to all your bullshit and pretend to be your friend?”   Or even at work, “I deserve a raise because last week I changed the toner and it would have cost you $300 to get a repair man to come in to do it?”  No, some responsibilities come with the territory.  Don’t expect a cookie every time you do a chore.

Oh, and then there’s the new PC trend to call stay-at-home moms “work at home moms.”  It bugs is all I have to say.



  1. Mommy, Esq. said,

    May 13, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Ha! I agree – of course being a stay at home mom is work but so is the other stuff we do around the house in addition to childcare. We have to do that regardless of our work. I had no idea that there was a new PC term. I think thanks to bloggin SAM is here to stay.

  2. Theresa said,

    May 13, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Ha ha!! I love your rants, mostly because I agree with them!!

  3. jerseygirl77 said,

    May 15, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Great post! I agree, if a fake salary is what someone needs to feel validated, then they need to do a little introspection. But I think there is a difference between SAHMs and WAHMs… As far as I know, WAHMs are mothers who have home-based jobs, whether that’s selling Pampered Chef products, or freelance writing, or being lucky enough to have an employer who allows them to do from home what they used to do at the office.

  4. almostima said,

    May 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    JerseyGirl – unfortunately, in the contexts where I saw WAHM being used the speakers were explicit in stating that they were now calling SAHM the new name because what they do is “work” rather than merely “stay.” Obviously, true WAHM have their own means of valuing their home-based jobs — the success/profit of their business.

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