Why Moms Need A Raise

by Kim Bongiorno
Originally Published: 

I need a raise.

I’ve tallied up what we parents should earn as income for what we do, and it’s not some under-$100K bullshit number that I’ve seen floating around the Internets ever since I’ve become a breeder.

Yeah yeah yeah, professional caregivers do some of the same stuff we do as parents blah blah blah.

Personal chef? I won’t flatter myself, but, yeah. I do that.

Personal assistant/shopper/errand runner? Of course I do all the things. When I can. And usually at least better than half-assed. The local Target and Stop & Shop staff know me quite well.

Cleaning lady? No one would actually hire me to do this other than the guy who married me because he’s turns a blind eye out of love when it comes to quality work, but, sure. I’ll take the title.

Plumber/handyman/electrician? We all agreed after the last time I accidentally electrocuted myself that I’m no longer doing electrical work, but if a toilet needs toys pulled from it, a shower drain needs unclogging, or something else in the house is busted because of the offspring, I take care of it as best as I can. This is why The Google was invented, right?

But forget all this. I’m not talking about the normal salaried or standard contract jobs. I’m talking about the other stuff. The things that take a specialist’s touch (and fee rate) to handle.

I have been shit on. So very many times. ACTUALLY ON MY PHYSICAL PERSON. Home healthcare nurses accept this fate for an average of $27/hour. I’d estimate I was used as a toilet a solid 100 hours’ worth of time when I had a baby and a potty training tot. $2700 in poo-catching a year. Actually, I think that pay should be higher. Or the job should at least come with a bonus HazMat suit/lifetime supply of Purell.

I punish people on the regular. I have to be on constant alert and ready to be Bad Cop. Time-outs were my jam, and then as the kids got older, it got even more complicated. Ever have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old at the same time? That’s me doling out punishments four times a day, a routine that continues for years because then they become tweens together and PLEASE SEND HELP.

Know who else does this? Dominatrixes. They get paid $150-300/hour to be the boss of people just looking to get punished. I currently do it for free. I AM IN THE WRONG BUSINESS. I’m missing about $164,250 of reminding others that I am in charge and doling out punishments when they get out of line.

There has been urine in my goddamn eyeball. When you have to hire someone to remove something gross from your home, like water or mold, you’re looking at a $500 fee, at least. I’d say that rate sounds good for trying to get every last drop of piss from my peepers. Oh – and I’ve had turtle piss in my peepers, too. And I’ve removed my kids’ own pee and poo that they managed to swipe and splat into their own eyes (thanks, karma!).

I have personally scooped diarrhea out of an Exersaucer without a Hazmat suit. How am I not calling the CDC on my child? Oh, that’s right: because I’m expecting double the usual $500 bucks – I went into overtime dealing with that situation.

I have touched vomit. More than once I have wondered to myself, Why am I holding a bowl of vomit that is actually just my hands holding vomit? NYC cabbies charge a $50 puke fee if you hurl in their vehicle. My hands are like vehicles: they carry people places a lot. YOU NOW OWE ME $50 FOR EACH RETCH I’VE CAUGHT.

Tubs are so fucking slippery and babies are wiggly and HOW AM I NOT GETTING AN AWARD FOR NOT ACCIDENTALLY BREAKING THE KID’S HEAD EVERY DAY DURING BATHTIME? It’s like being the base in a Cirque du Soleil act every night, x2 kids. Those guys earn about $72,000 a year. Seems acceptable to me for 730 baths.

I am like the Terminator, but instead of trying to murder Sarah Connors by looking for her everywhere, I am murdering potential dangers to my children. $75/hour is the typical rate to have a professional babyproofer come take a lookieloo at your home. I’m always lookielooing everywhere I go. So that’s $75/hr x 24 hours a day x 365 days x whatever age my kids are at any given moment.

Lots of hotels charge a $200 cleaning fee if you smoke in a non-smoking room. What if you shit on the floor? Or use Sharpies on the walls? Or empty all the perfume bottles onto the mattress for kicks?

Do I even need to mention the car? This part is an absolute bargain when it comes to me. I don’t even bother scooping out the collection of plastic bric-a-brac, wiping off the detritus of DNA, or vacuuming Goldfish cracker silt off of everything more than twice a month. If you so much as leave a drippy bottle of Yoo-hoo in a rental car by mistake, that’s a $250 cleaning fee. What’s $250 x 24 cleanings a year? A bargain for what I actually remove from that house of horrors on wheels, that’s what it is.

So, that’s a helluva lot of service fees and overtime math I’d carefully calculate if I’d had even one good night’s sleep in the past decade, but let’s just eyeball those digits and round up to a salary of “way way frickin’ higher than the nothing but crumb-coated kisses and an occasional thumbs-up” we carry en route to the bank, shall we? Of course the kisses are lovely, but I think it’s high time this mama got some moolah for all her specialty work.

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