Thursday, May 03, 2007

And what about 'mistress'?

There's an article in Yahoo news today about how much a stay at home mother should be paid for all of her jobs, which would be $138,095. This factors in a 40 hour work week and then 52 overtime hours.

The ten jobs listed as a SAHM's occupations are: housekeeper, cook, psychologist, daycare employee, laundry machine operator, van driver, facilities manager, janitor, computer operator, and CEO.

Hmm... I don't know. That list doesn't seem quite right. Pretty much everything is fine, except that what is up with computer operator? That seems a bit stretched, as if someone -- probably a man -- was desperately trying to come up with a list of exactly ten jobs, which makes for a nice round number. As a woman, however, I can easily get the list well past 20:
  1. housekeeper - Yes, mothers do in fact spend a lot of time picking up after other people. Not just cleaning, but also retrieving library books from under a chair, picking up thousands of Legos, and helping to find lost dolls.
  2. cook - No argument here. I spend way too much time in the kitchen and am now training Graceful and Elegant to be sous chefs.
  3. psychologist - Yes, although I clearly need more graduate level work, as I'll be damned if I can figure out Graceful's moods. Nor do I know why little Amber didn't want to play with Elegant on the playground during recess.
  4. daycare employee - For moms with children not in school, this is a huge chunk of time every day. Luckily, my own two are in school, so my daycare time is limited and, frankly, my kids are pretty much self-sufficient at this point. I don't let them run around like street urchins in Oliver Twist, but I also don't need to monitor their every move, although perhaps I should with Elegant, as she's been getting into way too much trouble with Sharpie markers lately.
  5. laundry machine operator - I think perhaps "laundress" is a better term, as it's more all-encompassing. I don't just throw laundry into the washer and dryer, I scrub stains, soak stains, scrub stains again, hand wash some items, line dry other items, retrieve washed rocks and used tissues from the washing machine, and so forth.
  6. van driver - Yep, that's pretty accurate. I have a van and I drive it.
  7. facilities manager - I can't argue with this one.
  8. janitor - Definitely different from "housekeeper," as this job includes all that scut work no one wants to do: Cleaning up vomit, mopping water after a sewer backup, and getting dog shit off of shoes.
  9. CEO - CEO my ass. CEOs delegate responsibility to minions. I AM the minion around here.
  10. computer operator communications specialist - Actually, we are in charge of most incoming and outgoing communications: phone calls to dentists, birthday cards to mothers-in-law, organizing playdates.

  11. psychic - It's always good to be clairvoyant, particularly when a six-year-old is about to do something she shouldn't.
  12. seamstress - How many buttons have we all sewn back on, rips we've repaired, worn spots we've patched?
  13. personal shopper - I'm in charge of virtually all gifts purchased in this house, as well as picking up socks for my husband, sneakers for the children, supplies for extracurricular activities,
  14. plumber - There are just some children who clog toilets regularly (or not so regularly, which is really the problem) and I'm now pretty handy with a plunger.
  15. doctor/nurse - I can pinpoint a fever without a thermometer, know the weight requirements for different doses of Tylenol, am familiar with most antibiotics on the market, and can field dress most wounds in about 30 seconds.
  16. sherpa - It's the rare outing that doesn't involve my schlepping stuff for someone, whether it's a child's unneeded sweater or Pete's extra glasses.
  17. nutritionist - If dads were in charge of children's nutrition, scurvy would be a nationwide epidemic and the FDA would require that Doritos have daily requirements for vitamin C.
  18. barber/stylist - I am the resident barber for Pete and the girls. In addition, I brush out Elegant's tangles, which is a twice-daily ordeal, and style both girls' hair daily. The girls do not trust Pete with a brush and a scrunchie, because he doesn't pull their hair back smoothly enough or tight enough to give them facelifts, which is really their preference, I swear.
  19. baker -- Different from 'cook', as this is more specialized kitchen work. The 1st grade needs two dozen cupcakes for Valentine's Day? I'm on the job. Need to bring a pound cake for the neighborhood coffee klatch? Mom will take care of it.
  20. interior decorator - If dads were put in charge of the interiors of homes, the walls would stay basic white, sofas would be large sectional units with fold-down cupholders, and coffee tables would be large "spools" from construction sites. If anything is on the walls, it's probably either taped there or hung too high or simply a teeny picture on a great big wall. Then again, if dads were in charge, Thomas Kinkade ("Painter of Crap Light") would be put out of business, and that would be a very good thing indeed.
  21. cruise director / clown - "Mom, I'm bored." I think this job title says it all.
  22. party planner - I have two children. They both have annual birthdays. They expect parties on par with those held for celebrities. Trained monkeys aren't necessary, but balloons and themed decorations, games and entertainment, goody bags, and gifts are.
  23. bouncer - How many fights does a mother break up in an average week? And don't tell me boys are more physical than girls, because I have personally witnessed some WWF-style fights in my house. Luckily, they both hit like, well, girls, so they don't actually do much damage. Unless, of course, they have accessories, such as chairs or shovels.
This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Mothers, both SAHM and working outside the home, do far more than a mere 10 jobs.

If you're interested in the original Yahoo article, here it is:

No comments: