Study Finds SAHMs Should Make $160k A Year Caring For Their Kids

by Valerie Williams
Image via JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

A salary study found that SAHMs are “worth” $160K

As they do every year, just put out a “study” to illustrate the monetary value of a stay-at-home parent based on the types of jobs they might perform in a day. They add the salaries of those jobs together to come up with a hypothetical “salary” for SAHPs. This year’s grand total? $162,581.

While I grasp the idea behind this yearly exercise, I have to say — I find the whole thing a bit off-putting. The “jobs” listed by Salary include: accountant, athletic director, bookkeeper, judge, network administrator, public school teacher, psychologist, nurse, and a number of other professional gigs that require certain credentials to actually obtain their titles.

Does this make anyone else feel a little pandered to? And sort of icky? A judge went to law school. I just helped decide which kid gets to pick the next episode of Paw Patrol. This does not a judge make.

Let’s get a few things straight before everyone comes at me with torches and pitchforks; only an asshole would debate the value of a stay-at-home parent. Just like a parent with a job outside of the home, a SAHM or SAHD has their hands full — absolutely no one with a brain would argue that. I stayed home with my kids for almost four years before heading back to an office job, and aside from an annoying commute and heart-wrenching daycare drop-offs, I admit — I found office life easier. Staying home with kids is rough and not for the faint of heart. That’s simply not up for debate.

But does anyone really feel OK with saying that slapping a bandaid on little Aidan’s skinned knee makes you a nurse? I think my friends who went through grueling semesters and clinicals to earn the title might have a solid eye-roll at that. Are we really an “accountant” because we pay household bills? Why isn’t a childless adult who pays bills also their home’s “accountant”?

If you stay at home with your kids, whether it’s a choice you made or a choice that kind of made itself because daycare costs one zillion dollars, your worth isn’t calculated by performing these “real” jobs that come with salaries. Every SAHP is different, but I imagine at the end of the day, none of them are tallying up the tasks they’ve performed and assigning it a monetary worth to make themselves feel good.

And I highly doubt these survey results make too many SAHPs feel any more valued.

We don’t need to be told that what we do is important or valued based on “real” careers. The value of any SAHP is pretty much immeasurable and we don’t need to be pandered and patted on the head with this reminder that our jobs are real too. We know they are. We don’t require this weird lollipop in the form of a pretend salary. And we don’t need to insult the very real expertise of people in these career fields by claiming that we do the same jobs.

Also? The value of a SAHP is inherent without having to give it credence by pointing out how it’s actually several real jobs. That does SAHPs a big disservice. The “job” of taking care of children and being home is one that should be respected and revered on its face — not only after we’ve compared it to gigs that bring home a physical paycheck.

A SAHP’s job doesn’t gain more significance after being compared to an accountant or a physician. That’s simply not how any of this works.