Do Stay-At-Home Moms Deserve A ‘Mommy’s Salary?’

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Stay-at-home moms should be paid a salary. This according to Wendy Luhabe, one of South Africa’s leading entrepreneurs. She tells CNN that SAHMs should be given 10% of their husbands’ earnings so that they don’t grow resentful. “[It’s] a way of giving value to the work of bringing up children,” she explains.

It may sound outrageous, but Luhabe – who has a long history of promoting gender equality – says that change comes from challenging the status quo. Which is why she believes that paying SAHMs would make them feel valued. As she explains to CNN, “Money is the currency that we use to define value of a contribution to the world, so why shouldn’t we do the same for bringing up children, which I think is probably the most important contribution that the world should be valuing?”

Working mothers may get their backs up, but Luhabe sees nothing wrong with women who choose to work. She just thinks they should “have the support structure that they require to do that joyfully, so that we can bring up children who are healthy.”

All easier said than done, in my opinion. The reality is that in North America, most women need to work – they rely on a double income simply to get by – and a vast majority also choose to work for their sanity, independence, and so on. While Luhabe clearly has good intentions, I think that paying women a “Mommy’s Salary” would be like taking a giant step backwards on the equality front; from some reason, it feels more like an allowance than an actual salary, which is lame. Also, we’re living in an age where fathers are expected to be as involved as mothers – a fact that’s largely ignored in Luhabe’s argument.

Being a stay-at-home mom is probably one of the most demanding jobs out there. And it would be wonderful if SAHMs could be compensated for it – and not be penalized for their decision if and when they decide to re-enter the workforce. But, unfortunately, that’s not the way the world works. A woman receiving a salary from her husbands – as opposed to being equally involved in creating a joint budget for the family – just seems very Mad Men. Plus, it implies that the woman’s job of raising kids is only worth 10% of the work that her husband does – a dangerous message to be sending, that’s for sure.