$134,000 a year.
That would be your salary if you were doing all the things you do already (you know, those things no one ever notices unless they don't get done?) for a stranger instead of for those little people you birthed.
However, this study only looked at the menial labor.
For me, the hardest part of leaving a successful career and staying home was not the diapers, nursing, and cleaning.
It was the sobbing, loneliness, and sobriety.
I chose to have a baby at the worst possible time in my life - a period of two years where I had next to no friends. I quickly realized after four weeks of being home all day that my "friends" had all been work-related. This hadn't always been the case, but alot had recently changed in my life and my old friendships were practically non-existent and my work friends were, well, working.
To this day I'm not sure if I had post partum depression or not. I never had visions of harming my baby, but I did feel utterly despondent. Completely alone. Isolated.
I would fight tears from the moment I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night. For. Two. Years.
Me, I was broken. I felt like I was screaming inside and no one could hear me. I would go to playgroups and the other moms sounded like Peanuts' parents. Wah-wah-wah. I was in a thick fog of confusion and sadness.
How much was that worth? How much was my sanity worth? My joy? My laughter?
How much would I have paid in those hours to get up, put on a suit, and walk out the door with my husband in the morning?
See, what sociologists will never get is that the physical tasks of mothering are not what make it so difficult and precious. It's not what we're doing. It's what we're not doing. And how we feel about that.
The "jobs" we perform pale in comparison to the heartache, guilt, and joy our pendulum swings between. And that's just before breakfast.
Here are the things you get a steady dose of at home that you cannot possibly compare to the office:
Guilt - When was the last time you cried yourself to sleep because you thought that spreadsheet didn't get enough attention today?
Loneliness - Could you ever go entire days at the office without talking to or even being seen by a single adult? Even when you wanted to?
Self Image - Did you ever detect smirks at a dinner party when you said you were Director of Operations or Manager of Sales? Probably not. You probably also didn't get this response: "All day? I don't know how you do it."
Thankless - How unexpected would it have been for you to go to the office every two hours throughout the night? Think that would've gotten you noticed?
Body Image - A long day at the office never produced vomit on your shirt and ginormous leaky breasts. And you probably never went into your boss' office and asked "Do you still find me attractive? Can you hold me?"
Pride - There's no promotions and no raises. You're sure to get fired in 18 years with no pension (unless he's going Ivy League). Yet, there is no greater responsibility than the one we have as mom.
There's so much more at stake with this new job. And we know it. That's our value.
Sweeping, mopping, dusting, coloring, vacuuming, cooking, scheduling, scrubbing, wiping, creating, driving, shopping, bathing, playing, tickling, talking, yelling, laughing, singing, reading, threatening, weeping, hugging, dancing : $134,000
Knowing you've gotten through another day without giving up: priceless