Message to Canberra Mums looking for a job. This story by Polly Dunning appeared in the Canberra Times recently (14 Feb 2019) and it struck a chord. The work Mum’s do isn’t counted in national productivity statistics, which is astounding. When they decide to re-enter or enter the work force, their skills are downgraded yet they are multi-skilled and work under pressure (daily). There is plenty to put in a resume for Canberra Mums.
"Does your wife work?” my husband is asked. “Yes” he replies.
“What does she do?”
“She looks after our two small children.”
“Oh. But she doesn’t have a job?” persists his inquirer. “That is a job,” he comes back. And yeah, it is.
In fact, for far too many stay-at-home-mothers, it is more than one job. According to a survey of 2000 American mothers in 2018, mums are working an average of 98 hours a week. That’s the equivalent of two-and-a-half full-time jobs. Another survey last year put the dollar value of a stay-at-home-mum at $US162,581 (approximately $225,000) a year.
And while it strokes our ego to tell us how valuable, acknowledged, and appreciated we are, it’s also a neat little way of keeping mums working harder than we should for little tangible benefit. And it is a terrible example for our children; acknowledgement and appreciation (but mind you, no status), are not adequate compensation for doing far more than your fair share.
What we expect of stay-at-home-mums (and it is largely mums - stay-at-home dads make up about 14 per cent of stay-at-home-parents) is often ridiculous and, in fact, exploitative. Many seem to believe that the role includes both childcare AND the full running of the household and housework.
I am a stay-at-home mother, not a stay-at-home mother/housekeeper/cleaner/cook/personal assistant. My role is to provide childcare during business hours. That’s it. And that is enough. That is a full-time job. Just ask a nanny.
But take a look on any online parenting forum and you’ll see great debates about whether it is OK to have a cleaner when you’re a stay-at-home mum (of course, if you can afford it. In fact, I find it necessary!), or whether SAHMs should be making their husband’s lunches and organising and preparing all meals (No. You’re not a personal chef, nor are you your husband’s mother)."