Friday, May 04, 2007

The Worth Of A Homemaker

If stay-at-home mothers were to be paid wages, how much do you think each is worth?
Take out your calculators everyone.
They do not come cheap. And, rightly so.
When my maid was on her month-long leave sometime ago, I had to take leave from work as well. But, of course, not for a month.
Besides my normal domestic duties such as going to the market, cooking, cleaning the "upstairs" of the house, cleaning all the bathrooms and sending and fetching my two kids to and from school as well as their tuition classes, I had to take over my maid's chores - peeling onions, cleaning fish (generally preparing ingredients for cooking), storing fresh food in the fridge, laundry and cleaning the ground floor of the house.
Now if I were a stay-at-home mom, I certainly would not need a maid.
When would my days off be? Would I get any in the first place.
My maid does not have to do the things I have to do. She gets her days off. She has specific chores, and I send her off to bed by 9.30pm because she has to wake up early for her dawn (Subuh) prayers. But I am usually up before her, anyway, to get the kids ready for school.
So, how much is a homemaker worth?
More than you, brothers!
So, before you start demanding that cup of coffee after your hard day's work, think about her hard day's work.

Here is a Reuters story. We can help "localise" the calculations. But, you get the drift. And the picture.

NEW YORK - If the typical stay-at-home mother in the United States were paid for her work as a housekeeper, cook and psychologist among other roles, she would earn $138,095 a year, according to research released on Wednesday.

This reflected a 3 percent raise from last year's $134,121, according to Inc, Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts.

The 10 jobs listed as comprising a mother's work were housekeeper, cook, day care center teacher, laundry machine operator, van driver, facilities manager, janitor, computer operator, chief executive officer and psychologist, it said.

The typical mother puts in a 92-hour work week, it said, working 40 hours at base pay and 52 hours overtime.

A mother who holds full-time job outside the home would earn an additional $85,939 for the work she does at home,

Last year she would have earned $85,876 for her at-home work, it said. compiled the online responses of 26,000 stay-at-home mothers and 14,000 mothers who also work outside the home.


J.T. said...

Wow.. am I worth that much? :)
Come to think of it, maybe not so much. At least not as much as mothers. Nevertheless, work is there.
During my last trip to Malaysia, I got to experience "A day in the life of my sister, wife and stay at home mother" My goodness, I was tired by 2pm. The places she had to go, the things she had to do. Her work was not over till about 10pm. She goes to sleep and it starts all over again at 6:00am.

Thanks for this entry, Nuraina.

bakaq a.k.a ~penarik beca said...

NAS yang dihormati

Cantik dah blog ni. Baru la rasa macam Nuraina A Samad punya. Nampak feminin. Template dulu nampak tak feminin dan tak berseni.

Walaupun tak tinggal jejak, hari-hari mai and looking for your updates on TWB.

Mat Salo said...

Dear Kak Ena,

I have always known (plus my wife never lets me forget it) that in terms of dollars and sense, the Homemaker has always been tremendously undervalued. In our dual-income world these days, the women NOT only has to hold a 9 to 5, but gets to play Homemaker as well. So when does she have time for her self? Then she probably has to play the "vixen" to her partner "after hours" - but lets not go there.

Speaks a lot about women's contributions to society, but where does that leave the men?

*I ponder this while the harried wifey is doing the dishes; the crying baby on her hip... and my feet upon the ottoman, burping, and thinking of rounding-up "the boys" for the live footie near the corner Mamak's.....*

The last para is a joke, but I admit I was often guilty of similar infractions...

So how can we make up?


JT, Mat Salo: sometimes it is not about putting a price tag on ourselves. If that's the case, we are priceless. How do you assess our worth? how do you value our worth?
Appreciation comes in many forms -- respect, love, and so on and so forth...
a nice birthday present would be good. while we're at it, a lovely night out on mother's day can be magical. a luxurious holiday somewhere sounds good.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ena,
When I left the NST years ago, I told myself I had had enough of the rat race and that it was time to take a break. I would stay at home, look after the house and children, cook and have a easier pace. I did that, and after six months, believe me, I was climbing the walls! All I seemed to do was cook, shop for groceries, fetch the children from here, there and everywhere, and then send them to everywhere else they want to go. And clean and iron and wash. It gets so that I only have time to read the newspaper at the end of the day. My world became so confined, I was beginning to bore myself. My conversation became limited to what the hypermarkets had on sale! For God's sake, I even memorised the aisles in the supermarket. And the endless errands one had to do cos everyone thinks that you have all the time in the world just because you dont have a fulltime job. And worse, I had no-one to talk to about it, to complaint to, and was bugging my husband about what time he would come home cos I wanted an adult to talk to. Sure, I went to my mengaji and usrah classes, and had kenduris and weddings to attend, but after years of my journalist friends, these ladies, datins and wanita umnos were not my crowd.
I am now back in the rat race (thank God!) and I can take coffee breaks, and have other adults to talk to. I dont have to think about ironing, and washing, and pots and pans all the time, (even though there are all still there waiting for me, because I have other things to think about). And I have time to read my newspapers!
So what do I think about women who are full time moms and house managers? If you have help - in the form of a maid, gardener, and driver, I say - lucky you! But if you are doing it all alone, take it from someone who has been there - don't try to be a super mom. You dont have to have a perfect home. So what if you have not cleaned every corner of the house? And go buy food from the corner restaurant! Go for that facial, or hi-tea with the girls. Go window shopping. Heck, go for that holiday overseas with the girls (without husbands and kids). And delegate more - let hubby and kids do more. Splurge on yourself, girls. You deserve it.
Noraini Shariff

Kata Tak Nak said...

Honey here's your coffee. Tiiing RM1.50
Honey dinner is served. Tiiing RM 12.50
Honey you shirt is ironed. Tiiing RM4.50
Honey lets go to bed, ting, ting, ting, ting, ting, ting

Kata Tak Nak said...

To all readers, my above comment was not meant to poke fun at anyone,especially to the ladies. Its just a joke.

Maverick SM said...

You don't use a golden sword to cut onions. We don't have to employ a CEO from Dell or GE to be a maid. It will surely cost more that way.

The survey can't "plug and play" with figures to justify another figure.

There is always a price for everything in order to achieve a prize.

As an example, a man or a woman can elect to stay single and that way, the cost of survival is much less though we may want to consider the other aspects of life.

If the society is going to be using a certain statistics to justify whether a wife should be at home as the housewife or should be a career woman, then this society becomes a trading house and our life becomes the commodity to be traded.

Woman's Right and Feminine Jusrisprudence is what a statistic could justify. It belongs to the Moral Theory of Humanism and social needs.

Raden Galoh said...

Kak Ena, nice...nice makeover for the blog...

It's gonna be a killing topic if this is discussed in my house... Undervalued? Whohoho...another dangerous vocab...

the Razzler said...

Kak Ena ...

A Mother's sacrifices is worth so so much more .. :) :) No amount of money will be apt enough to even measure their value.

My Mother had left us a few years ago but her place in my heart can never be replaced!!

Happy Mother's Day!! to all the wonderful mothers out there ..


noraini: i think many women can relate to your story. and yes, i do agree that women shld not try to be superwomen.

KTN: amboi, amboi, amboi... eesh, eesh, eesh!
Don't worry. It is funny. no offence taken at all.

Maverick: Yep.. i agree.

Raden Galoh: I sure can understand that.

Razzler: Aint that the truth!

H A P P Y M O T H E R'S D A Y !

Anonymous said...

Here's a tribute to all mothers.

"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"
A word that means the world to me.
--Howard Johnson (c. 1915)

A mother is the truest friend we have,
when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us;
when adversity takes the place of prosperity;
when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us
when troubles thicken around us,
still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts
and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness,
and cause peace to return to our hearts.
-- Washington Irving (1783-1859)


Happy Mother's Day.

Hi&Lo said...

Altho housechores are very tiring and endless, it can be fun. I substitute this for exercise in the gym. After a job well done, I feel on top of the world. {^^}

J.T. said...

Nuraina, if I may leave a comment for Kata Tak Nak:

KTN, that was funny. I did not take offence to it either. In fact, I think that is a good and funny reminder. If men have to rely on that kind of service outside the home, their credit cards will be maxed out soon enough. hehehe

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Shahrizat Jalil thinks about this subject. Being the minister responsible for women affairs, would she recommend husbands take one or two days leave from work to stay home and do the chores. Would you suggest this to you doctor husband?

sYaNa said...

Hi Kak Nuraina :o)
~ all mothers are priceless, a solitaire ring/pendant would be a pale comparison but, as a gift, now that's a real appreciation *wink* hehehe
~ seriously, actions speak louder than words. Guys ... what are you doing for your loving wife, your mum & mother-inlaw to show appreciation?

~ Am not a mother but as a wife & a daughter, my plate is full too.

acciaccatura said...

true kak ena, its priceless. inshaAllah, save it for the hereafter.

mekyam said...

Dear Nuraina and fellow visitors,

Probably because it's not a job, the Reuters article didn't mention 'friend' in the list of roles the homemaker play. But friendship has to be another very important sustenance mothers provide. It's the ultimate unconditional support. She's the friend you know would LITERALLY go through fire for you.

Save very few exceptions, I think most people can say that their mom is/was their first best friend. Who else will always have our best interest at heart, look out for us, be our #1 fan even if everyone on God's earth think we're not good for much...

Okay... if I go on, I'm going to start bawling. So I better get to what I came to do. Or rather, to share.

Mother's day won't be for another 8-9 days but may I share something I wrote my late Mom for my birthday in 1999...

once i was inside you
all snug and warm and fed.
your tummy was my world;
your soft dark womb,
my bed.
i could feel
your sense of wonder
at the life growing within.
i could feel your hopes, your prayers,
the worries --
what my addition
would mean.
i trained my ears
to sounds of you.
your croons of love,
the whispers of your hand.
nine months and more
i shared your life,
the beats of your heart,
my constant friend.

now you are inside me.
still assuring, but
even more protective.
worrying and fretting
with every little advice
you give.
i can always
hear you
wherever i may go.
"have you done this,"
"have you done that?" and
"didn't i tell you so!"
i admit
there were times
when i dearly wished
you were not within.
but then darling,
what would i do
if you're not with me
through all of life's
thick and thin?

maryam w

Happy Mother's Day, Everyone!


anonymous @ 8.05pm: That is so nice.

bakaq : terima kasih kerana sudi tinggal jejak

hi&lo: hmmmm... not a bad idea.

anonymous @ 11.28: i am wondering too.

syana:so sweet.

accia: thank you, accia.


mekyam (maryam),

not deeming home-making as a job is a common oversight.
that is why people overlook that role that mothers play-- as a friend.
thank you for the little poem in tribute of mothers.

BigDogDotCom said...

There are things you can quantify and somethings else, you simply can't. Unfortunately, I was taught in school the way to value any organisation is made through its balance sheet.

So, if I can afford it and if I shall value my missus's pay as a homemaker and fulltime mom, it shall be:

RM 1750 (basic pay, what Malaysia Airlines paying her now).
RM 3060 per week over time
RM 2400 per weekend over time

Total RM 7210 per week
Plus RM 1400 per week special functions allowance (send and collect kids fr school, ballets, swimming lessons, shopping for groceries etc)

An average of 5-7.5% annual increment

If I can afford it, I will pay her that kinda pay and let her stay at home.

Eliza said...

That's an excellent article Nuraina. Am not a SAHM and not sure I would be happy as one, but they do deserve recognition for the round the clock work they do.

lyn said...

Nothing wrong being a "supermom" if we are .... do it...if we are happy. Do evrything within our own limits... surely then we will also be "happy' moms....

Fabulously Broke said...

I ran the numbers and based on other factors the real gross salary is actually around $30,000.

I'll post about this some time later.

Anonymous said...

" If the typical stay-at-home mother in the United States were paid for her work as a housekeeper, cook and psychologist among other roles, she would earn $138,095 a year, according to research released on Wednesday."

Yeah, that would make sense..IF said stay-at-home mother was a licensed housekeeper, professional cook and psychologist. If she isn't, I seriously doubt $138,095 is right. How can anyone even compare a professional psychologist who deals with people who have mental illness on a daily basis and a mother talking to a whiny teenager (unless teenager has a mental illness, even then it is probably better to seek professional help) or a professional cook at an expensive restaurant who is reviewed quite often (sure, your kids might love your cooking, but will it impress the restaurant critics)?

Also, the same thing applies to husbands who also take on various tasks in a family (so a mother who talks to her children about their troubles is a psychologist, but the father who does the same thing isn't?), just because he fixed the sink doesn't automatically make him a licensed plumber (unless that really is his profession).

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