A stay-at-home mom is a psychologist for approximately 3.24 hours a week. She also does some interior design, athletic training and event planning. Paid at the going rate for each of her professions, she would make $143,102 a year.
Where are we going? To whether we should give unpaid work a dollar value.
A Mother’s Day
After asking more than 15,000 moms about their daily time use, salary.com plugged in the data for each “job” and created a paycheck for a stay-at-home mom and the moms who also work outside the home.
Pro-rated, the CEO pay that mom would have received was highest although being an executive chef took the most time:
When we compare the stay-at-home mom to women who also work outside the home, the difference in weekly home work hours is 92 to 59 and yearly hypothetical pay, $143,102 to $90,223.
Our Bottom Line: Unpaid Work
During the 1930s, Nobel Laureate Simon Kuznets used paid production to create the basics of national income accounting–what we now call the GDP. Looking for a metric on which to base a yearly comparison of what we produce, he decided to include only goods and services that could be legally purchased. The value of unpaid work done at home was excluded because it was tough to quantify. Since then, using the dollar value of production as our yardstick, the Kuznets vision for the GDP has been our measure of national success,
But it does not have to be.
As far back as the nineteenth century, utilitarians said our success metric should emphasize happiness and, more recently, so too has Bhutan through their Gross National Happiness model. Meanwhile, the OECD has a “Better Life Index” with components ranging from civic engagement to health and work/life balance.
However, if we wanted to stick with GDP as a measure of national success, we could add negative and positive dollar values to intangibles like pollution, life satisfaction and yes…the value of unpaid work done in the home.