FORT WAYNE — Most are familiar with the TV ads for a credit card in which costs for individual items are mentioned, culminating with a “priceless” tag for a moment, feeling or something else that tugs the heartstrings.
Tickets to a baseball game – X amount of dollars, with other specific prices mentioned for a hot dog and a souvenir. Ah, but the smile on the child’s face for his first game – “priceless.”
And so on Sunday, a similar parallel can be drawn, when mothers of all shapes and sizes and ethnicities and ages are honored on Mother’s Day. Their recognition could be a special card, a longer hug, a meaningful gift, a call, a “thank you” and even a lingering memory for the moms who are missing.
We can thank them for all the tasks they have done and will continue to do, when in truth, the sum of all her parts is considered “priceless.”
Thanks to a 2013 report from Salary.com, which surveyed more than 6,000 moms, a stay-at-home mother’s annual worth is an estimated $113,586.
Salary.com asked mothers what their top 10 most time-consuming jobs are and how much time per week they spend on each task. On average, a stay-at-home-mom works 94 hours per week.
Here’s the breakdown according to Salary.com. (Salary price is per hour.)
•Facilities manager, 10.8 hours per week at $31.59.
•CEO, 3.3 hours at $54.58.
•Laundry operator, 6.2 hours at $9.95.
•Computer operator, 8.9 hours at $15.82.
•Housekeeper, 14.4 hours at $10.10.
•Cook, 14 hours at $13.56.
•Child care teacher, 13.3 hours at $13.08.
•Van driver, 8 hours at $13.61.
•Janitor, 7.8 hours at $9.95.
•Psychologist, 7.3 hours at $38.03.
With a 40-hour base salary of $37,549, the website also figured 54 hours of overtime worth an additional $76,037 to account for the $113,586 total.
“It didn’t say anything about refereeing,” said Kristi Williamson, a 37-year-old mother of an 11-year-old boy and two girls – ages 8 and 5. “How much does a referee get paid?”
She’s informed that their pay depends on the sport and the skill level, from middle school to professional. A college basketball referee, for example, is paid more per game than a high school official.
“Elementary school age,” deadpans Williamson, who lives in DeKalb County. “Fighting, but I wouldn’t call it a sport. It’s really their pastime.”
Williamson said she performs other tasks that aren’t mentioned on the Salary.com list: seamstress, landscaper, hair stylist, pet care worker.
“You really don’t think about putting a price tag on any of the stuff you do,” Williamson says. “It’s called your life. You take the kids to school, you pick them up, you fix lunches and dinner when they get home, either you or your husband helps with their homework, you play with them, you put them to bed and you start all over the next day. That’s what my mom did, and that’s what I do.”
The Salary.com survey also takes working mothers into consideration. Responding mothers said they work an additional 58 hours at home. Using the same 10 tasks and the average hourly rate as the stay-at-home moms, working mothers’ base salary is $40,260, and their total salary worth is listed at $67,436. Of course, the total number would increase depending on the working mother’s salary as an employee.
Amy Danise, senior managing editor of Insure.com, which is a website that supplies insurance information, used Bureau of Labor statistics on hourly wages to calculate how much a mother would be paid if she were outsourced.
“There are lots of ways one could calculate mom’s value,” Danise says. An intangible that cannot be determined, however, is love, compassion and support. “That’s the function we can’t put a dollar value on,” she says.
So what’s a mom worth?
It all depends on what the going rate of a chauffer is; or a chef; or a nurse; or a teacher.
There will always be a dollar value for those tangible tasks. But for being a mom, her worth is priceless.