Really, Are We Still Debating the “Working” Mom Thing?

If you’re a mom (or even a dad) who is currently making the job of raising kids your full-time job and who is also wrestling with the idea of buying a business opportunity or franchise, the recent raging and politically charged debate about what constitutes a “working” mom may hit close to home. Personally, I find the whole exchange exhausting and somewhat pointless given this is now the 21st century.

For the life of me I just can’t understand why so many of us are all still intent on one-upping each other when it comes to this issue. Isn’t raising a great kid hard enough in today’s world? I don’t know about you, but I need all the help, support and encouragement I can get, especially when I make decisions that aren’t necessarily easy. And who among us moms and dads hasn’t had to make those?

Maybe it’s high time we stopped taking one another’s inventory and agree that life is just too complicated for any parent to be casting aspersions on any well-intentioned other for the choices they feel compelled to or must make given their own life circumstances. Perhaps it’s time to find common ground.

I’ll start by calling attention to the fact that for the twelfth year running Salary.com is helping to crystallize for each of us the one aspect of this debate that I hope most if not all of us can agree on, and that is this: Mothering (and fathering, by the way) can be tough, so tough that it warrants acknowledgement as a job worthy of compensation like any other. And because we tend to think of a job in terms of the responsibilities it entails coupled with the compensation it commands, Salary.com has once again tried to quantify the value of mothers in this regard.

What can I say? As imperfect a science as it may be to do so, I have to applaud the effort.

And what an effort it was! More than 8,000 moms calculated their hours and evaluated their time spent by job description for this year’s study, all to remind us once again that parenting in any form―despite all of its incalculable rewards―is also hard work.

In fact, Salary.com estimates that an average stay-at-home mom’s 2012 total salary would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $113,000 if she were to be paid what she is worth. Now that’s a paycheck! Moreover, the at-home portion of a working mom’s annual salary is also estimated to be considerable coming in at roughly $67,000. This amount is then combined with her “in addition to being a mom” job’s salary to provide a more accurate picture of total annual compensation in an ideal world.

But that’s the thing, right? It’s not an ideal world. Parents don’t get paid for the job that they do, nor should they. Choosing to have a child is a labor of love. Trite I know, but it’s true. And you just can’t put a price on that.

To view Salary.com’s recent announcement, go to What’s a Mom Worth? now!

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