I remember reading somewhere that a stay-at-home mom’s salary hangs somewhere around $112,000 a year. This includes overtime, which… lets’ face it…it should. The hourly average comes out at .25 below $18 per hour. Where we live, we pay a good sitter $15 per hour, so that hourly rate is, if anything, low (insert wide-eye emoticon here).
The two things we do not value enough in this country are stay-at-home parents (I’m including Dads here, because times have changed, people!) and teachers. It’s ironic, really, because as Americans, we want to be the best in all things and we value family so very much.
And if we value family so much, then why are moms… and dads who stay at home so under-valued/under-appreciated?
For my son’s entire tenure at preschool, I was always asked, “What else do you do?” because most people assumed, even though I was obviously a stay-at-home Dad that I must be doing something else. Why?
I was primary caretaker (the “Mom” people would say) for our son. Yes, I still held a part-time job outside of the home but my main role was to take care of our family at home. My husband and I juggled our self-employed schedules so that one of us could be home at all times. We were extremely fortunate that we could do this as many families need to hire outside help to accomplish a working two-parent home.
I “worked” less so I could be home most of the time.
In my life, I don’t ask other “moms” what they “do” because I assume that they are stay-at-home moms. I always feel that asking them, “Do you work?” Or, “What else do you do?” seems to imply that taking care of their child(ren) is not as important as a paying-job, where a check is cashed.
My own Mom did not get a check cashing job until my sister and I were well into our teens. She had her days to herself. She had time to watch her soap operas…while ironing. She could blare her Elvis LPs…while making the beds, dusting, doing laundry and cleaning the bathrooms. She was able to go out and shop all day…for groceries, clothes for us, household items. Then she could just relax until my Dad came home…while she made us snacks and cooked dinner.
In between, there were chores like: taking us to doctor’s appointments or dropping us off at friends or sports, but otherwise what a fun day! (Insert same emoticon from above here)
I didn’t fully appreciate all the things my Mom did until I had kids of my own.
Until you are a parent, you can’t. My Mom not only cared for us in the obvious ways, but also in the invisible ways we often forget – staying up all night when we had fevers, changing thousands of diapers, teaching us to walk, and comforting us to make us feel safe and loved.
There is intrinsic satisfaction in all of this, to be sure – another thing I didn’t fully appreciate until I had kids.
But, I firmly believe Moms should be celebrated. And, the one holiday I feel should be a true Hallmark-holiday is Mother’s Day.
I’m a good son, but I’m not perfect. Days may go by, and I might neglect to call my Mom. And, I often forget that that one phone call from me means so much to her.
So, one day each year, we get to formally acknowledge, appreciate and say, “Hey Mom! Thank you for everything you did to keep me alive…and happy!”
And if you’re lucky, like me, you get to have it posted online for her (and all) to see.
So, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thanks for everything you did to keep me alive, safe and happy!
I love you.