Why I hate Salary.com’s ‘What’s a mom worth’ survey

by Evil HR Lady on April 18, 2012

Salary.com’s annual “What’s a mom worth?” survey is out. The grand total for this year is $112,962. Now doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Go give yourself a big hug (if you’re a mom), hug your wife (if you’re married to a mom), or just give your mom a call to say, “Hey, thanks for doing all of this hard work for free! No one but a selfless, wonderful mom would do that much hard work! You deserve a medal.”

That, I suppose, is the goal. Along with reminding women of how oppressed they are that they would do laundry without anyone handing them an actual paycheck for it. Horrors! This annual survey actually makes me have the opposite reaction as I gag and contemplate stabbing my eyeballs out so I don’t have to read the whole thing.

To keep reading click here: Why I hate Salary.com’s ‘What’s a mom worth’ survey

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

JoAnna April 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

The stupid CBS site won’t let me log in for some reason, but I wanted to mention that Pa did drive Laura to and from work in “These Happy Golden Years,” and he also drove her and her sisters to and from school in bad weather, occasionally. :)

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Evil HR Lady April 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm

CBS has terrible problems with logging in. For a long time I couldn’t leave comments!

And yes, Pa drover her to work/school (rarely) but Ma never did.

And speaking of women, I think one of the most interesting things from those books is when Laura is helping with the haying and Ma knows the work needs to be done, but she doesn’t like her daughters doing Men’s work because it is beneath them.

Different times!

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Emily Weak April 20, 2012 at 5:56 am

“Caroline Ingalls never drove Laura to a single lesson and she turned out to be a responsible adult” is my favorite blog sentence of the year.

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Evil HR Lady April 20, 2012 at 6:59 am

I often ask myself, “What would Ma Ingalls do?”

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Rodolphe April 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Hey Suzanne,
Don’t be coy, tell us what you really think!
Good article though. I guess your first paragraph analysis is the right one (make moms feel good) and given the website it’s posted on, it’s the only tack they could take.
I take it that it’s their ‘mother’s day special’.

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Evil HR Lady April 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Sometimes I have difficulty expressing myself. :>)

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Kayla Elliott April 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I completely and totally agree with this. I have a friend who recently decided to be a stay at home mom. Great that her husband can allow her to do that. She has a three year old and a three month old and constantly rants on Facebook about how no one understands how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. As a single non-mom I don’t have a lot of rebuttal since I’ve never had to experience that lifestyle. I do, however, cringe every time she brings it up because of your exact points. For pete’s sake, her three year old is at day care every day too! We all still have laundry to do, toilets to clean, and every other household duty to be in charge of. Bless anyone who gets to spend that time at home with their children, but I wouldn’t rank that up there with a CEO salary. (And yes, she quoted the salary.com article on her Facebook on Monday.)

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Evil HR Lady April 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Do you ever read at STFUParents? Lots of people out there like your friend. :>)

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STFU, Parents April 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Thanks for the shout out, Suzanne!

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Evil HR Lady April 19, 2012 at 6:59 am

Wow. I feel honored!

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Nikki April 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I am unmarried and childless so I don’t ever get to say things like this. I love it..
Plus, people may not be mothers (or they have grown children) but they could be caregivers to ill family members and nobody is throwing THEM a parade..

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Evil HR Lady April 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I would be happy to throw you a parade! With confetti!

The thing that sets my teeth on edge is when I get questions that begin “I’m a single mother…” Yes, that affects your career choices but do not expect sympathy in the working world because of that.

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Sophie April 18, 2012 at 9:24 pm

That is so true! Thanks for pointing that out. Caregivers of all types need to be appreciated.

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fposte April 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Yeah, I get the feeling undervalued thing, but boy, this isn’t the way to address it. It just makes people look goofy and clueless–and thus, ironically, less valuable.

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Evil HR Lady April 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm

That is an excellent point.

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Chris April 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I know many SAHMs and their jobs are usually a lot more than laundry and cleaning toilets. My sister-in-law (though her and my brother can barely afford it) is up until midnight everyday organizing fundraisers for the school library, designing and developing after school programs etc. She has a culinary degree and has a devloped a program they do once a month in school that teaches kids about obesity, cooking with quality ingredients and even has a year long gardening componant (where the kids grow and cook their own veggies.) She is a fantastic mom as well. The school district would not be able to afford programs like this if her and the few other volunteers didn’t take it on. Most of the moms work, which is totally cool too.
Seriously…you are in HR…its an entire faux discipline based on checking off boxes (with maybe a couple of mindless heuristics thrown in.) The SAHM I know well is totally worth $112k (in fact if she took a job as a developmemt associate in a big Bill Gates funded nonprofit, she probably would be worth that.) But the real irony is a HR person, who most of corporate america feels produces negative value, is telling her she is a whiner and to suck it up. There’s a real laugh.

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Evil HR Lady April 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

If she’s doing all of this because she wants to have a dollar value attached to her head, then yes, she’s a whiner and should suck it up.

But, if she’s doing it because she wants to make a difference then that’s fantastic.

Not everything in this life is based around money. There are many things that I gladly do for free that you couldn’t possibly come up with enough money to pay me to do.

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Kayla Elliott April 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Agreed. I do a ton of volunteer work because it makes me feel rewarded. I would never try to attach a monetary value to that. I don’t disagree that many parents who get to the chance to participate in their child’s activiites make a huge difference. My mom did it and I completely loved it. I just don’t think a SAHM should be seen as someone saintly for choosing their lifestyle.

I have had plenty of them tell me over the years they think they deserve more PTO for when their kids are sick, have something at school, etc. Why would we reward someone for their life choices? We don’t pay them more for deciding to have children. And while a stay at home mom is admirable, it’s an UNPAID profession.

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Evil HR Lady April 19, 2012 at 7:00 am

I totally agree. We make choices. There are consequences. It’s not very bright to make your choices and then expect the world to change to accommodate you.

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The gold digger April 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Yep. There are things I would do for love that I would never do for money. Although if I were offered enough cash, I might consider spending the night with some man. Which would make me a whore, I suppose. However, considering I look nothing like Demi Moore 20 years ago or now, I am not anticipating such an event coming to pass, so my morals shall not be tested.

Another thing I will only do for love is knit someone a sweater. If someone had to pay me to do that, she could not afford it.

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Evil HR Lady April 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Once when I was cleaning a friend’s bathroom (they were moving), I thought, “You could not pay me to be a cleaning lady. There is not enough money.” But, I gladly did it for her and I’ll gladly do it for other friends, but for money? Blech.

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Christine April 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Chris, I hope you don’t think all SAHMs do those kinds of things. Even more than that, I hope you don’t think that working moms don’t don’t do those kinds of things. Your post leads me to believe that you don’t have kids and haven’t had to make that choice.

As a parent, I’ve met SAHMs who ought not be allowed to raise goldfish, let alone children, and I’ve met SAHMs who are, well, average. They volunteer at school when it is convenient and don’t when it isn’t. Most SAHMs fall into that category. That isn’t to say they are bad parents, just that most SAHMs do as much as they can do given their own unique situations. It is a balancing act that is different for every parent. I’ve met one spectacular SAHMs like the one you describe.

I do highly resent the implication that working moms can’t be that outstanding. The most productive and likely volunteers I met while my daughter was school-aged were working parents. People who do, do. Someone who gives any task their all will normally give all of their tasks that same effort.

I am a single parent. I drove my daughter and the other girls in her color guard all over the mid-Atlantic for practices and competitions every January-April. I followed the band bus all over the mid-Atlantic every fall for games and competitions. I schlepped equipment and helped carry around a 500-lb. vinyl performance floor on my weekends. I went to every concert and used my vacation time to chaperone music department trips. (And please don’t tell me that counts as a vacation. Going someplace with 250 teenagers that you are responsible for is so NOT a vacation, even though you do have some fun.) So did the married, working mom who had a full-time telecommuting job. So did the married, working mom who didn’t telecommute. So did the working step-dad whose wife was deployed to Afghanistan.

Come to think of it, not a single volunteer for the color guard was a SAHM, even though several of the girls had SAHMs. The working parents did all the work.

Selfless acts of parenting are not unique to SAHMs, so pardon me if I don’t line up to hand out cookies to stay at home moms. They chose that option, I completely support their right to choose it, and respect the work that they do. It is hard work. More power to them and congrats on being financially able to do so. But that choice comes with all the rewards and consequences, and one of those consequences is no paycheck. Working mothers do ALL the same tasks as SAHMs AND work, and you don’t see them lining up asking for extra special kudos. What they do get is this accusation by inference that because they work, they are some how a lesser parent than a SAHM.

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Karen K April 19, 2012 at 12:24 am

Now you’ve done it. I just wasted 30 minutes reading STFU, Parents. I had no idea. Hysterical.

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Evil HR Lady April 19, 2012 at 7:01 am

I’m terribly sorry. :>)

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Sophie April 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Me too. Two hours gone last night because I was reading that site. lol

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Evil HR Lady April 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I apologize to all employers and families for the lack of productivity.

When I posted the link to Notalwaysright.com, it had the same effect.

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Sophie April 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Oh Suzanne, look what you have done now….lol. And I work in tech support so that site will be even more hilarious.

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Elizabeth West April 23, 2012 at 2:00 am

LOL me too. And gagging! No, I don’t have any kids!

I do have a friend who is a SAHM and she posts on facebook all the time about it, but her posts are HILARIOUS. Very ironic in tone without being the least bit whiny. Her kids are four, two, and nearly one. I don’t know how she does it.

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Olivia April 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Me too! I had to come back here today and skim down to find the comments I hadn’t read yet… :)

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J.B. April 20, 2012 at 2:17 am

Love this. If they really wanted to do a useful analysis of the monetary benefits of staying at home, it would be based on cost of specific items that 2 working parents need to pay for that would not happen with a stay at home mom. Like day care, that every other week cleaning lady, and a realistic $ figure for commuting and added convenience meals. (Because for all the articles or statements that base costs on 24 hour a day childcare, you know working parents do get the night shift.) That way you could look at realistic numbers in comparison with what both spouses make and decide whether 2 incomes are worthwhile or needed for your family or not.

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The gold digger April 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Don’t forget how much taxes eat up of your incremental income. I volunteer as a poll worker. My city pays $100 a day, which comes out to about $7/hour. I tell them not to pay me at all, because after federal, state, and self employment taxes (I have other SE income, so I have to pay it on this, too), I would make about $3.50 an hour. I would rather work for free than for $3.50 an hour.

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