The Value of Motherhood

The Value of Motherhood February 26, 2019


That’s what the annual salary of a homemaker would be if she was compensated in money for the work she does according to Investopedia in 2012. [1] Investopedia “examined some of the tasks that a homemaker might do to find out how much his or her services would net as individual professional careers,” taking into consideration only homemaker “tasks which have monetary values” using “the lowest value for each calculation.” The professions that went into the calculation were a private chef, a house cleaner, a nanny, a driver, laundry service, and lawn care. Calculating for inflation, the total amount in 2019 dollars rises to $105,534.33. [2]

Of course, homemakers aren’t compensated at all. They’re expected to do what they do for free, and this in a society that in large measure equivocates between human value and monetary compensation.

It’s not hard to understand why homemaking is so undervalued: it is mostly performed by women, who have been relegated to second class status since the dawn of civilization. And an exercise such as was engaged in by Investopedia shows us irrefutably that there is a distinction to be made between the value of work and its monetary compensation.

So much for free enterprise theory as applied to labor.

Now if we were interested in a truly fair and just society we would find a way to make homemakers fairly and justly compensated. We would use public funds to give every homemaker $105,534.33 per year.

I can already hear the howls of protest at such a blatant violation of accepted social paradigms. But I’m not talking about social paradigms; I’m talking about what’s fair.

Still, it has to be accepted that it has only been 154 years since we abolished slavery in the United States, and the general recognition of human rights that will, to subsequent generations, be regarded as axiomatic comes slowly. So maybe we can begin with baby steps.

Maybe we should stop making mothers look for “work” in order to receive welfare, as if being a mother isn’t work. Apparently the idea is that having mothers contributing to the gross national product is more important than raising their children. So Mom goes to work at McDonald’s, and the kids go to daycare. If they’re lucky.

All this so that politicians can appeal to the worst angels of our nature, so that we can indulge the demons that tempt us to look with a jealous eye toward impoverished women.

I don’t know if statues of Mary ever really weep. But the tears of the Blessed Mother are real.


The icon of St. Joseph the Worker is by Daniel Nichols.

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  • Ancalagon

    If the mother/wife isn’t paying for the food, housing, and so on, but is relying on her husband to do so in a way that is perfectly acceptable and even today not uncommon, that hardly counts as “not compensated.” People don’t work just because, but on a basic level to have something to eat and somewhere to live. And for homemakers, the wage-earning aspect is covered by a partner. Division of labor is a critical aspect of life that you overlooked.

  • That is within $5,000 of what I spend on my family each year.