THE BLOG

It's Mother's Day. Now Give Me My Money!

There's a question that has been sweeping the nation for the past few years, and no, it isn't "Will news stations actually start fact checking?" No. This is a different question. A much more important question: Should mothers be paid a salary by their husbands for all that they do at home?
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Toddler sitting on stacks of money
Toddler sitting on stacks of money

There's a question that has been sweeping the nation for the past few years, and no, it isn't "Will news stations actually start fact checking?" No. This is a different question. A much more important question: Should mothers be paid a salary by their husbands for all that they do at home?

When I first saw that this was ACTUALLY a cause of discussion -- getting paid, not even by government assistance or something, but by my own husband, I had an immediate reaction. It was "what the f-k?"

And then I had a second reaction. It was "No, seriously, what the f-k?"

Yes please. Give me money out of my husband's paycheck. So that I can deposit it into our joint checking account...

Oh, wait, that isn't what I think at all. NO! Women should not be paid by their husbands for everything that we do at home. As I would say to my children when they ask me for ice cream for breakfast fifteen times, my answer is No. Even after I see the comments section on this post, my answer will still be N-O. Moms should not be paid monetarily out of their husbands paychecks. Even if Salary.com tells me that I am apparently "worth" an additional $90,000 per year for all that I do at home, which would be a pretty sweeettt paycheck.

And here's why. What we should really be talking about is giving mom's respect, not money. The money would be for the mothers to create value in what they are doing. And here's the thing: You just can't measure what a mother does with money.

As my daughter throws toys at me and screams on the floor, I want to pull my own hair out, one piece at a time, because that would be less painful than what she is doing. And a moment later, as she runs up and hugs me, wrapping her little arms around me, I think to myself that my world feels beautiful in this very moment and I MUST treasure it. Before she throws something else at me.

How much money are you going to pay me for that moment? Am I going to get paid more for the frustration of getting her, and myself, through her tantrum? Or that is just part of the job criteria? Would I be paid on an hourly basis? Does my paycheck include emotional support, tear wiping, fighting over toys? Sick days for my kids = extra pay? Poop up the back and out of the diaper = bonus? Nighttime = overtime? Because I gotta tell ya, momma's got her eyes on a new pair of shoes, and with pay like this, it looks like I am gonna get 'em!

I feel like we, as mothers, are all crying out for help. Like literally, I am crying all the time "will you please help me out and eat the rice over the table? Will you please help mommy out and just put the shoe that matches the other one on?"

But in addition to those cries, we are actually crying for recognition for all that we do. As SAHM's, working moms, Work-at-home-moms, stay at home working moms, work at home staying moms, whatever type of mom category we fall into. Because dammit, our kids don't seem to recognize all that we do! And our husbands, wellllllll, that is a whole other article (sorry, honey-love you-the dishes go in the sink, not next to it -- double kisses --yes, it is in the cabinet, look harder, it is definitely in there-muah muah). Seriously everybody!! It's not like we mothers are all sitting around watching soap operas and drinking wine in the middle of the afternoon. Everyone knows that wine and soap opera day is only on Thursdays.

Rather than trying to pay moms off, here's an interesting idea: start an understanding that mothering can be a volunteer job that involves an incredible amount of "work." Just like I don't get paid to work on my marriage (I do that just because I adore confrontation), why should I get paid to work with my children? I know, many hate to apply the term "work" to parenting. But it's not a terrible thing to define it that way. That is, as long as you never show my children this article and they can believe that we were always running through self-created rainbows.

The fact is that the second that we give birth to our children, we, as women, are faced with millions of moments and emotions that there actually are no guidebooks for. Unless you find the guidebook titled "I am afraid to go to the bathroom after giving birth, my child hates sleep, I feel guilty over everything and like I can't control it, is this the right diaper/formula/breastfeeding/pacifier decision so that my child isn't traumatized for life, I want to crawl under my covers and cry, will vacation ever be relaxing again and other assorted questions we hate to identify/admit to ourselves." Our bodies are different, our emotions are all over the place and we have new little people to take care of, and in theory, we did know that would happen. But in reality, surprise! We don't actually know how to do it all!

And here's the thing, that doesn't stop us. We do it! That's correct, Rosie the Riveter! We can do it! We can do it!! Sometimes we do it well. Sometimes we really suck at it. And often times, we are exhausted with the turning, twirling, hectic, swirls of trying to balance work, take care of our children, feel any sense of accomplishment, find time to ourselves, have food in the house to pack for lunch, not forget "wear blue to school" day, make sure to give our kids dinner, minimize our guilt over the amount of tv that we let our children watch craziness of it all! (Six hours of t.v. is appropriate for a toddler, yes?)

But, yes, we can do it. Whether you stay at home, work full time, work part time or work on your tan all the time to achieve a really nice glow (sunblock, people, sunblock), mothers in this country are getting it done. And whoever came up with this idea of paying moms is trying to create value through money when the value should be coming from respect for all of the "work" that we do.

We work on our children's self-esteem, we work on creating a beautiful home environment, we work on teaching our children patience when we have none left ourselves, we work on these things because they don't just flow naturally without us. And we work on creating wonderful, creative, intelligent, helpful, warm, loving, kind members of society. Yes, that is correct. We are working to create the future of this society through our children. Without mothers, there would be spitting wars when there was only one chocolate left in the office and two employees wanted it.

Mothers deserve respect for all the types of work that they do -- whether they do it at an office or with their children at home, or both.

So if you really want to make a change in society's view, then maybe rather than throwing money at the problem, throw respect at it. I think it will go a lot further than a portion of our husband's paychecks. I mean, really, you couldn't match what I steal out of his wallet anyway...