What’s a Stay-At-Home-Mom really worth?

What is a stay at home mom really worth?

Every so often, I see an article like this one, stating the monetary value of a stay-at-home mom. A good average estimate is around $100,000+ per year. I then see the article floating around facebook, my fellow stay-at-home moms flexing their muscles and using it as ammunition in the great mommy wars.

Can I make a confession? One that I suspect would be true for more than just myself? If this stay-at-home-mom gig were a paying job? I wouldn’t be making $100,000/year. I’d be fired. Let’s take a look at a few of the categories here, shall we?

1. Laundry operator? Well, let’s see, all too often the baskets are overflowing. I might occasionally have to rewash a load because I forgot to dry it in time. Clean clothes might even sit in the basket for a day or 2 before I get around to folding them and putting them away. Nobody would be paying top-dollar for my laundry services.

2. Computer operator. Yeah. I’ve got that one going on. Probably too much, since sometimes it affects the way I do the more important things.

3. Housekeeper. Ahem. The house is usually in decent enough order. We try to pick up a few times throughout the day, but sometimes clothes are strewn in the bedrooms, toys are strewn in the living room, dirty dishes are piled in the sink, and I pretty much never dust. Trust me, no one would pay me to keep house like this.

4. Cook. I’m a pretty decent cook, and most of our meals are eaten at home and homemade. However, there are nights when it’s fend-for-yourself (although I do keep quick meals on hand for such nights), some nights when we go out or have take out. There are times when we have a quick, thrown-together meal that may not be that great or healthy. Although cooking is probably one of my strengths in this mom/housewife gig, it still isn’t quality or consistency worth paying for.

5. Daycare teacher. I’m going to get real personal for a minute. Sometimes, my kids hear “just a minute, sweetie,” too often. Sometimes they watch a kid-show while I work on writing or blog stuff. Sometimes they have too much candy and not enough attention. Sometimes, I lose my patience and raise my voice. Obviously, some days are better than others, but there are definitely days when I would not pay a daycare teacher who acted like I do. And that’s just the truth of it.

The list goes on, but I’ll stop there. I want you to understand that I am not knocking stay-at-home-moms. I love stay-at-home-moms. I am a proud, stay-at-home-mom.  But I do want to challenge us all–we can do better. 

My friend Amy recently wrote an article about how we enable each other too much as homemakers, and I completely agree with her.

We don’t need a monetary amount to be valuable.

Because here’s the thing. If this were a paying job, I’d probably work harder at it, and I’m guessing some of you would as well. If there were real evaluations, boss’s expectations, and people to impress, my house would be cleaner, the meals would be better, things would happen on a better schedule, I’d be more present and engaged with my kids.

But it’s not a paying job. And in truth, it’s one so important that it’s priceless. We just need to be reminded sometime that our worth is so much more than a dollar amount, and we need to keep at it!  There is no paycheck, boss, or evaluation for incentive to perform. We have to be self-driven to do what’s good and right for our families, even when no one will ever see it. 

But sometimes, we aren’t. And our families suffer for it. Sometimes, I think it may be because we buy into the belief of our society that we must do more, be more. And our families and homes get lost in the shuffle of that.

Here’s another thought. We fight the battle day in and day out because we, as stay-at-home-moms, aren’t taken seriously. But maybe, just maybe, other people would take it more seriously if we didIf we really gave it our all. If we woke up every morning and did our very best job. Maybe we’d be given more respect as homemakers. Because, honestly? It’s hard to respect someone in their pj’s all day, with a messy house, surfing the internet.

Our family might be more easily dismissed than corporate expectations, but they are far more important.

Do it heartily...{from Serving Joyfully}

Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the lord not to men.” If we had human bosses, we’d do our best for them-to earn that paycheck, promotion, raise, good evaluation, etc. How much more then, should we do our jobs well when we are working for the Lord?

And we are, moms. We are working for the Lord in training up our children and serving our families. We don’t need a paycheck, or some dollar amount placed on us. But we do need to respect ourselves, our families, and our Lord enough to do a better job, and give it our all.

bundle PL mom fail long 2

PS–Maybe you’re one of the moms who is on the opposite end of things–you’re trying to hold yourself to an impossible standard and feel like you’re failing. You’re not failing! Check out this free encouraging video series for some truths you need to hear on the hard days.


  1. says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! I would certainly be fired! Even if I put in only this effort in my most favorite job ever, I definetly wouldn’t be cutting it! You’ve made me want to get up and clean! <3

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Nicole, I’m so glad you were encouraged (and a little glad I’m not the only one who’d be fired! lol). I know that we can both do better though :)

  2. says

    Thank you. Just, thank you. What can I say? Your boldness has made me think about how I go about my day. Of course, I love the scripture…and I have always reminded myself and my family about why we do the things we do (heart attitude matters!). But this really put things in perspective for me. It’s not like I didn’t already know these things, but having them right there in black and white sort of calls us out on those things. We CAN do our best…even on the days when we can only put one foot in front of the other. It still needs to be our best foot forward, with all the effort we have in us. It’s not in our own strength that we do things anyway, is it? :)

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Liz, thanks for joining in the conversation! You are so right that it isn’t in our own strength that we do things anyway, great point. I’m so glad that I’m not alone and that the post spoke to you as well.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      That’s exactly it, Joanna! None of us can be perfect–that’s not possible. But it is possible for us to give our best effort and work as unto the Lord and I know I’m falling short of that.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Girl, I am with you! Definitely talking to myself on this one…lol (although I did inspire myself to put some “real clothes” on today)

  3. April says

    LOVE this post!!!!!! It’s a real wake up call. Thank you so much for not pretending you’re perfect!!!!! I was beginning to wonder why I couldn’t be more “on the ball” all the time.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Thanks, Jenilee! PS–glad to see you back at iHN. I think you “left” at about the same time that I came on board :)

  4. Shannen Espelien says

    I could have written this myself! Goodness, you put it into perspective. Yep, I'd be fired, too. I always say I'm thankful Hubby is so forgiving. :)

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes, Shannen! My husband is a saint…lol. He really is very understanding and supportive, and somehow manages to see the best in me :) I am very blessed in that.

  5. says

    This –> “But maybe, just maybe, other people would take it more seriously if we did.” – YES, that’s it. Stop complaining about it being hard and bless your family and the world with a wife and Mom who glorifies God by living a life filled with the Highest Joy that only comes from the one who provides it!

  6. says

    I love this! And I would add, it is such a blessing to be at home. I’ve worked outside the home at the beginning of my son’s life – and that is so hard, such a balancing act. That’s a salary plus the homemakers “salary” as it were – because working moms don’t get to turn it off while they are at work. It’s such a blessing to be focused on your home and be there. You make some good points here, and I love the challenge! :)

  7. Carolyn Green Deevers says

    I found you at the Women Living Well Link-Up Party tonight. You have my favorite post for the evening! Keep up the honest and thought provoking writing while encouraging your sisters-in-Christ.

  8. says

    I hear what you're saying, and you're right. But. If this were a paying job…well, it just wouldn't be. There is no way I would ever take on an in-the-workforce job that requires juggling so many, such varied tasks. It's a whole lot easier to do one thing well than to do try to do 20 *different* things *at all*, much less to the same degree.

    I mean, sometimes I'm going to burn dinner, because I'm *also* trying to get a baby's diaper changed, referee a few fights, and transfer a load of laundry. If I were a professional chef I would be expected not to burn dinner, but I would also be free of any *other* expectations (the diapers, sibling fights, laundry, etc.) and able to focus my full attention on that one task. The same goes for everything else I do.

    We need to be honest with ourselves and do our best – but we also need to be careful to not fall into a trap of expecting more of ourselves than is realistic.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      I understand what you’re saying, although I disagree that most jobs require only one task at a time. I’ve never had any paying job that only required one task at a time. If you feel like you are giving it your absolute best, then that is awesome. This post isn’t for you, it’s for those of us who sometimes don’t.

I love to hear your feedback and value your thoughts! All I ask is that we remain respectful and civil, even when we disagree. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate you!

Thank you for joining in the discussion!