Ann Romney didn’t draw a salary when she was a stay-at-home mom raising five boys. But if she had, she’d have pulled in more than $112,000 a year in today’s dollars, suggests a popular new study.
Each year, Salary.com asks thousands of stay-at-home moms to complete a detailed survey about how they spend their days managing a household and raising children. The popular website dedicated to salary compensation issues then puts a price tag on all that cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, laundry-doing ....
This year’s study says the average stay-at-home mom’s compensation would total $112,962 a year. (Romney would probably earn more because she was raising a larger-than-usual family of five boys.)
If you’ve tuned into media pundits this week, you’d think that the country is actually debating the value of a stay-at-home mom’s work after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen put her foot in her mouth by saying Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life” because she stayed home raising the five kids she shares with Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
“That’s laughable,” said Aaron Gouevia, a content manager at Salary.com. “Moms absolutely have value. They work -- and work a lot.”
Meanwhile, Ann Crittenden, author of “The Price of Motherhood,” said she was especially saddened that a woman set off the controversy pitting working women against stay-at-home moms. “Women can’t seem to stop being judgmental of each other, which is a tragedy because ‘divided you shall be conquered,’” she told The Times.
Crittenden said she believes Rosen actually does value stay-at-home moms, but that her poorly chosen words suggested otherwise.
Nonetheless, the flap speaks to the disjointed attitude Americans have toward stay-at-home moms, Crittenden said. By turns, stay-at-home moms are put on a pedestal for doing the “world’s most important job” and then they are derided for “just” taking care of the kids.
Crittenden suggested that instead of bickering over Rosen’s comments, Republicans and Democrats can show their support for stay-at-home moms by making it easier for women to choose that route. (For many women, forgoing that salary is simply not an option.)
But there was one bright spot in this week’s controversy, author Leslie Morgan Steiner told The Times.
“Six years ago, when I was writing ‘Mommy Wars,’ moms understood in two seconds what the book was about. But when I told men I was researching a book on tensions between working and stay-at-home moms, they would say, ‘Huh, could you write a whole book about THAT?’
“Today, men I’ve talked to and men responding to the comments online seem equally incensed that anyone would suggest that raising five children is not ‘work,’ ” she said. “We’ve come a long way in the mommy wars if men now fully understand how very hard motherhood is.”