Work Life Balance

Is A Mother’s Value Inherent Or Monetizable?

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You’re totally replaceable, Moms! Happy Mother’s Day! That’s the takeaway I got from this consumer website report that mom’s replacement cost works out to $61,436 a year. I know these studies and reports are supposed to show the value of mothers, but I can’t be alone in thinking “Really? That’s all I’m worth?”

While I do appreciate that they looked at how much I contribute to the family via nursing, child care, cooking, housekeeping (which isn’t going so well right now, admittedly), chauffeuring and party planning, these calculations are kind of ridiculous. And that’s not just because they leave out so many other economic factors such as the opportunity cost of lost income and career growth or how these actions enable the spouse to earn more than he otherwise would.

Here’s the nitty gritty of how consumer web site Insure came up with the figure:

What annoys me is that I (a former econ grad, mind you) find the idea of monetizing a mother’s worth to be somewhat immoral. We don’t have value because we cook or clean or change diapers. We’re inherently valuable. Put it this way, let’s say your husband is an average helper. He earns a good salary and he helps take care of the children and the yard and the home repairs and the cooking and what not. And you stick a dollar amount on that. Now let’s say he suffers some serious depression or breaks a leg and can’t help out so much. Are we honestly going to say his “worth” declines during this time? Only if you think someone’s worth is in their output.

I don’t mean to sound cloying but how about a “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!” message that’s based on just being whoever you are. Some Moms are rock stars in the chauffeuring-cooking-career departments and some can’t cook a meal to save their lives. It ain’t no thing. It takes different types of moms to make the world go around. And the most important thing is just that your Mom is that wonderful lady who gave you life or brought you into your family and did her thing. Don’t monetize it, just embrace it!