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Moms' worth falls under $60K

According to the 2013 Mother's Day Index, the value of a mom's labor is down from 2012 levels.

By Smart Spending Editor May 2, 2013 6:20PM
This post is by Barbara Marquand, from partner site bandaging skinned knees to balancing the checkbook to making sure the kids eat their vegetables, being a mom is the mother of all jobs.

Woman with paperwork (© Getty Images)Perhaps because they know the demands of “mommying” first hand, women place a higher price tag than men on the work that moms do at home, according to a new survey from

When asked how much they would have to pay someone else to do their tasks around the house, 56% of women -- compared with 62% of men -- said under $40,000 a year.

A smaller portion of women than men -- 11% versus 16% -- valued moms' household work at under $10,000 a year. And a larger portion of women than men -- 7% versus 3% -- valued Mom's tasks at $100,000 a year or more.

Determining the cost to replace household tasks performed by Mom is important for estimating how much life insurance she needs. Marvin Feldman, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation, says every mom needs life insurance coverage, whether or not she earns a salary outside the home.

"Just because someone doesn't earn a salary doesn't mean that they don't make significant contributions to the family that could be costly to replace," Feldman says. "Things like child care, cooking, cleaning, transportation and other household activities are all important parts of a family's everyday lifestyle."

Spouses often underestimate the value of those tasks, Feldman says. Or they assume someone else, such as in-laws, will step in to provide them if necessary, but that's not something one should count on.

"You must think about whether your spouse could afford to pay someone else to provide these services in your absence," Feldman says.

Mom's value dips below $60K
According to's annual Mother's Day Index of common tasks, the 2013 market value of Mom is $59,862, down from $60,182 in 2012, and dropping from $61,436 in 2011. The Mother’s Day Index is calculated from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data for a pre-set list of household tasks.

Mothers rank child care as their most time-consuming task, with 38% of women saying that's how they spend most of their time. Cooking (27%) and cleaning (12%) were also ranked among the most time-consuming tasks.

Taking care of the kids ranked as a favorite duty, with 30% of moms saying it was the motherhood job they enjoy the most. Rounding out the top five favorite tasks:

    •    Cooking: 15%.
    •    Shopping for the family: 15%.
    •    Planning summer activities: 7%.
    •    Yard work: 6%.

But moms hate cleaning up, and who can blame them? Among the most disliked tasks:

    •    Cleaning up: 27%.
    •    Yard work: 19%.
    •    Family finances: 13%.

You’ll be doing what?’s survey found a disconnect between what men and women think moms would do with extra time if someone else performed all their household tasks.

Both men and women think moms would spend extra time with their families (40% of women and 28% of men). But after that, men and women had widely different ideas.

Men figured women would go shopping, read, go to school or spend time with friends (in that order).

But moms put shopping near the bottom of the list. After spending time with family, moms chose visiting museums, parks and historical sites; exercise or sports; working; and gardening.

Did a Mom come up with these numbers?
The Index used Bureau of Labor Statistics wages to compile a chart of common mom duties. For example, it highlighted 40 hours a week as a childcare provider, at $9.65 an hour for 52 weeks for a total yearly figure of $20,072.

But ask any mother, of newborns or high school kids; child care is more like 24/7.

And 10 hours a week as a teacher or instructor, helping with homework, 40 weeks out of the year, at $18.23 an hour for a total of $7,290?

Maybe for just one kid. What happens when you have three? And that's certainly not counting the Science Fair project.

Still, the chart is certainly fodder for the ongoing discussion of who does more around the house.

“Mom’s value” is based on occupational wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and does not include a salary from work outside the home.

For mothers’ and fathers’ views on household tasks, commissioned a survey of 500 men and 500 women with children age 12 and under living at home. The survey was fielded in April 2013.

More from

May 2, 2013 7:00PM
True worth for both mother and wife?  PRICELESS!
May 3, 2013 8:56AM
I am a single mom who raised 2 kids, worked 2 jobs to pay for the priviledge and went to graduate school.  How do Ijudge my success?  My 20 something daughters are both employed, living on their own, not pregnant or on drugs.  And when they need to talk to someone.... they call me.  Being a mom is priceless and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  That being said I would also like to point out that I was raised by a single father and I think he did a fantastic job so anyone who things men can't "be the mom" as well as a woman.  I beg to differ. 
May 2, 2013 8:52PM
40 hrs a week for childcare?! at $9.65 an hr?! Are you kidding me?!!! you can't find a teenage babysitter for $9.65 an hr.  Someone need to take their head out the sand and wake up and smell the coffee!
May 3, 2013 5:42AM
My husband was convinced that I did nothing all day because I was stay at home wife and mother.  He was very unhappy that I wasn't earning a paycheck and was angry all the time because I didn't contribute anything financial to the household income. So, after the kids were gone from home, I opened my own business (fabric shop) with the money that I saved from the grocery budget little by little over several years. Now, I am earning real money. My husband now has to help with the household cleaning, errands, bill paying, meal preparation, etc. Guess what. He is still mad.  I tell him to "cheer up" he could be doing all of those things with 3 little children to care for at the same time.
May 2, 2013 8:55PM
You're probably asking a lot of men. Why not ask moms that?? Women have always been degraded.  Withiot them, none of us would be  here.  Most men are worthless raising children, myself included!  My wife raised our daughter and did everything for her. I was "too busy" trying to make a living on a job that was unappreciated by everyone other than my family!  My wife is the greatest then and now!!!
May 3, 2013 9:28AM
Ok. there seems to be confusion....the numbers are what it would cost the family if Mom died and now you had to hire somebody to perform those tasks that she had been doing.  Mothers/Wives do choose their path in life and should recognize their work though needed and important to the well being of the family, it isn't going to be compensated.  I was a stay at home mom for 6 years.  I took my responsibility to my family seriously.  If I needed to go to the store I did it with my kids in tow because living on a single income we couldn't afford a babysitter.  I would take 2 carts and pull them up and down the aisle with my kids and diaper bag in one and the items we needed in the other.  It wasn't easy.  Now that that the 3 of them are school age I went back to work...but I have only added to my responsibilities.  I still manage the finances, the housework, the meals, the driving service, and more often even the yardwork.  So if the wife/mother in your life would like a night off, or even a lazy Sunday afternoon, give it to her without comment.  She probably needs the time and unless you walk in her shoes you have no idea what she tries to accomplish every single day and she does it for her family because she loves them and wants to do the best.
May 2, 2013 10:07PM
Interesting since the average household income is less than $50k, somewhere around 45k.
May 3, 2013 3:53AM

Sixty percent of the population earns 60K or less.


I guess the majority of the population doesn't earn enough to pay a spouse their due.

May 3, 2013 1:37AM
$40K? No thanks! I prefer to get paid with hugs and kisses =)
May 2, 2013 11:39PM
I'm a woman and I do think a lot of women over-value themselves as wives and mothers. I have an acquaintance who decided she just had to have a child even-though her husband has three older children and he they're both older. They have a nanny and the nanny also cleans. She doesn't cook, she microwaves. Goes to the market maybe once a week. Walks around in her PJ's, texts all day, stays on her laptop shopping, catching up on her recorded reality TV yet she yells to the high heavens that she's contributing to the household and that she's tired and fatigued. Yep, I guess you would be from sitting around on your lazy butt all day. And they have very little money and she doesn't want to go back to work, though as I said, they're running out of money. But, she wants sympathy from everyone and wonders why her husband is angry, irritated, annoyed and refuses to deal with her. I think when some women...most women become mothers and wives, they develop this Sainthood, long-suffering victim complex that has gotten old really fast. They decided to become mothers and wives and since it was their decision, then deal with it...stop whining. I'm married and no one made me do it. There's good and bad, so you either handle your business or you move on.
May 3, 2013 9:51AM

After reading some of these comments here, no wonder the divorce rates are so high in this country.


We have women that are TOO SMART to put up with the likes of some the ones that commented here.


To ALL the hard working and devoted wives out there, I stand and applaude you!!


The human existence could not even exist without women like you.

May 2, 2013 9:27PM
Raising children and taking care of a home is not, and should not, be thought of as a "paid" job. People who have and raise children do so by their own choice. We ALL have to take care of where we live, regardless of weather or not we have children. I earn 50k. Do I get to add up the cost of landscaping labor, cook, dishwasher, housekeeper, shopper, laundry worker, handyman, or any other variety of "work" that I do to take care of my home? That would make me, a single man worth about 150k, more if we calculated union wages. You won't hear me whining about how "undervalued" I feel as a person because I don't get PAID to take care of my life. You won't hear me whining about how I have to work at my job for 45-50 hours a week and then how I have to come home tired every day after work just to have to TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. That's life people. I'd love to see someone try to convince MY life insurance company that I am worth 150k. 
May 3, 2013 10:31AM
I'm sure that if you add up all of the things the working spouse (not necessarily the man) pays for with their salary to support the non-working spouse and the children, it comes out to about the salary that people feel the non-working spouse should get.  I'm not going to do the math, but take the amounts for how much is spent on the mortgage, their cell phone, car, health insurance, dental insurance, food, clothes, cable, and a million other incidental expenses and the non-working spouse can't really complain because they are getting paid in shelter, comfort and security.  That's not to mention that the children aren't only the responsibility of the non-working spouse.  When the working spouse gets home from working,they still have to change diapers, entertain the kids, possibly do yard work, and whatever else needs to be done.  The whole thing is a team effort and to put a value on it seems wrong.  Neither spouse should ever hold what they do over the other spouse's head, that's not what a family is all about.
May 3, 2013 11:51AM
What no one seems to be addressing here, is the woman's self worth, especially after the kids are gone. And what if your man decides to kick you to the curb? You have no education or real life working skills to make a decent living? A woman should never put herself in a situation of being dependent on a man!  Even if it means taking a part-time job while the kids are in school, do something or you may end up paying for it later.
May 3, 2013 9:36AM
This is silly.  What I do for my family has far more value than can be measured in dollars. 
May 3, 2013 11:44AM
I was fortunate enough to save up a lot and have been at home while my wife is building her career. I wish I only had to watch the kids for 8 hrs a day more like 12hrs by myself and some hours of shared watching. Not to mention all the support I have to provide for her. 
Money not being an issue there are all kinds of things that can't be quantified. Marriage is work for both and so is parenting but the primary parent is a job that is beyond measure and to put a time frame that a person is a parent is the biggest joke. I'm a man and I have owned and operated businesses, worked and so on. This is the hardest thing I've done and the not knowing if anything your doing is ever right. Keeping calm and not taking it out on the children when they spit on the insurance policy before we sign and return it. 
People are always trying to tell people what they are "worth" I don't care what people think. I only hope our kids think the world of us and love their kids as much as we love them.
May 3, 2013 8:27AM
avatar commissioned a survey of 500 men and 500 women with children age 12 and under living at home????

Stupid company, with single parents and a divorce rate over 50% they seek 50year old standards??

I raise my children. Some writer felt this would be a good article?

May 3, 2013 10:29AM
Just because I wear a suit, doesn't make me a fashion model; just because I drive my car, doesn't make me a race car driver,; just because I shower and wipe my a*s, doesn't make me a nurse.  Placing value on stay-at-home "work" is insulting to people, particularly women, who do work.  The financial value of stay-at-home mothers is what the market will pay -- nothing. 
May 2, 2013 11:26PM

Did not read article. Know women are precious.

Funny how men are not aware that without a doubt, the dynamics of women gaining equal rights truly is changing our social structure. You go girls, you deserve equal rights for the history of women on this planet. Also, please still find time to admire us men. Thank you.

May 3, 2013 12:52PM

Since the dawn of man, it was determined that the man, being more muscular, faster and geared towards hunting would go out into the world while the woman who is physiologically better suited to raise and manage children stayed back and managed the home. 

Men's eyes are more concentrated focused while women's eyes are field focused. Men's to hunt, or watch TV, ignoring everything else, while women keeping a eye out on children and possible dangers trying to sneak up on them, or catching that small sale sign, are more broad seeing.

However, since salaries continue to decline, it now requires two salaries to maintain a decent livestyle and the majority of married couples are now of the two wage earner variety.


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