Mom’s Work Is Worth Less This Year

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The new Mother's Day Index of common tasks puts the total market value of Mom's duties at less than $60,000 this year.

This post comes from Barbara Marquand at partner site

From bandaging skinned knees to balancing the checkbook to making sure the kids eat their vegetables, being a mom is the mother of all jobs.

Perhaps because they know the demands of “mommying” firsthand, 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 percent of women — compared with 62 percent of men — said under $40,000 a year.

A smaller portion of women than men — 11 percent vs. 16 percent — valued moms’ household work at under $10,000 a year. And a larger portion of women than men — 7 percent vs. 3 percent — valued moms’ 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. (See chart below.)

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

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

  • Cooking — 15 percent.
  • Shopping for the family — 15 percent.
  • Planning summer activities — 7 percent.
  • Yard work — 6 percent.

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

  • Cleaning up — 27 percent.
  • Yard work — 19 percent.
  • Family finances — 13 percent.

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 percent of women and 28 percent 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.

The Mother’s Day Index 2013

Mother’s task BLS occupation title Hours per week Weeks per year Mean hourly wage Annual Mom earnings
Cooking Cooks 14 52 $9.03 $6,570.20
Driving Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 9 52 $13.85 $6,481.80
Helping with homework Other teachers and instructors 10 40 $18.23 $7,290.00
Taking care of the kids Childcare Worker 40 52 $9.65 $20,072.00
Nursing wounds Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 2 12 $18.25 $438.00
Cleaning up Maids and housekeeping cleaners 10 52 $9.88 $5,135.00
Planning parties Meeting & Convention Planners 8 8 $20.60 $1,318.40
Summer activity planner Miscellaneous community and social service specialists, including health educators and community health workers. 40 12 $16.05 $7,704.00
Haircuts Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists 0.5 52 $11.70 $304.20
Shopping for the family Personal care aides 3 52 $10.30 $1,606.80
Family finances Accountants and auditors 0.5 52 $24.90 $647.40
Yard work Grounds maintenance workers 1 52 $11.38 $591.50
Fixing up the house Designers 5 8 $21.38 $855.00
Finding out what the kids are up to Private detectives and investigators 5 8 $21.20 $848.00

Grand total: $59,862.30

Wage source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


“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.

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Stacy Johnson

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