Do You Think What You Do As A Mom Is Worth Only $61,500? No? Didn’t Think So.

So,, an online resource for insurance shopping, just released its annual Mother's Day Index, a study that uses Bureau of Labor Statistics data to measure just how much moms would make if we got paid for raising our kids and keeping house and doing all the stuff we moms do. This year, the index pegs our annual salary at, wait for it a whopping $61,436.

Long. Blank. Stare.


According to the study, moms would be paid:

  • $6,938 for cooking 14 hours a week, 52 weeks out of the year
  • $6,285 for chauffeuring kids 9 hours a week, 52 weeks out of the year
  • $20,696 for 40 hours a week, every week of the year for childcare
  • $4,888 for cleaning up behind everyone 10 hours a week, every week
  • $430 for administering bandages, doling out Tylenol and making soup for sick little ones
  • $1,479 for party planning
  • $7,140 for tutoring
  • $1,580 for grocery shopping
  • $620 for balancing the checkbook
  • $563 for ground maintenance i.e., weed pulling, flower planting and lawn mowing
  • $1,000 for our interior design skills
  • $791 for spying on the kids (to make sure they're not killing their fool selves or their siblings)
  • $8,726 for summer activity planning
  • $300 for hair styling

*Insert image of Denene sucking the back of her teeth and giving a massive side-eye here*

Hell, I can tell you right now that the four hours I spend washing, detangling and twisting Lila's extra curly, super thick, little black girl hair alone is worth at least a cool $10K $2,000 for the labor and another $8,000 in battle pay, easy. And I think left off a couple of motherly/wifely duties, too, as detailed in the WANTED: A Wife post I wrote a few months back.

Um, estimates off much? I mean, so far today, I busted suds, cleaned up the remnants of a parent social party for 30 that we hosted this weekend, washed, folded and put away two loads of laundry, made cereal for one kid, dispensed nutrition advice to the other kid, got both girls dressed and off to school, mixed it up with the bus driver, fed and walked the dog, bought groceries for the week, shopped for summer clothes for Lila, had the car serviced and wrote this post. It's 1 p.m.  I'm not even going to get into what's coming when the kids get home from school. Add my writing a book proposal and running this blog into the mix, and I'm not looking at sleep until sometime after Jimmy Fallon and the Roots say their good nights.

Taking $61K for the mind boggling amount of work mothers put in each day would be total sucker's pay. My agent Victoria, who regularly clowns me for not asking my worth as a writer, would tell you that quick, fast and in a hurry.

But if I could cop a chick to do what we moms do during the course of the day for $61, 436 a year?

Yeah I'll take two.


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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I like how they estimate 40hrs a week for childcare-hunny, it’s 24/7 365 here!!

  2. Wow! I would say that washing and styling super thick, coarse little black hair is work at least 18-20k. Had to factor in the crying, kicking, and screaming from the kids.

  3. *I meant little black girl hair…

  4. I absolutely believe all the responsibilities of being a mother does add up to this and more. Being a Mother is a life made usually of sacrifice and some pain. And when you take the time and money to raise your children right it is priceless, look at Derek Rose of the Chicago Bulls. Also, as a single mother grocery shopping with four children under the age of 11, it should be worth more than $1,580!

  5. Ok, I don’t have kids…but, we are trying now and I can tell you that the 20k for daycare is crazy! Philly is crazy-high for daycare!! We almost changed our minds on the trying to get preggo thing when we looked at some quotes (out of foolish interest).

    I mean I would have to pay most places almost 20k (or more for the fancier places….our kid CLEARLY won’t be going there) for just 8hrs a day.

  6. forgot to add….MOST MOMS don’t get to work just 8hrs a day!!! ok, now that is off my chest.

    Happy Mother’s day to all 🙂

  7. Haha! Love this post Denene! Being a mom is such a big job that it leaves my head spinning at times, but there’s a much bigger payoff than their cheap $61,436 /year…seeing your kids succeed. We do what we do to help them learn the life lessons that would make high paid office geeks stutter…they’ve got no idea the level of work we put in. For us, this isn’t a job, it’s about raising them up…teaching them nutrition, how to succeed, to be compassionate, to learn, to nourish a relationship, to build friendships, to understand the world and their place in it, and so so much more…

  8. I agree about the hair detangling, cause doing a little brown girls hair is not a joke. I don’t think that amount is enough and we all agree but right now I tell you I would take that amount in a second cause there is not money coming in on my side … only money coming out.
    Great post!

  9. They didn’t even factor in Psychologist at $300 or more an hour, $430 for administering first aid sounds low to me, I mean who is coming up with this, they don’t sound to me like they thought this through well enough.

  10. Hilarious…just lets you know what we again value in life, the role of mom can’t even get 75,000…ugh! I think breast feeding 3 kids all on an average of 8 months-1 year should give me half of that off top….and overtime wasn’t listed anywhere on there…long nights with a vomiting kid…please!

  11. Surely they must mean $60K per child.

  12. Then you should read this.;content

    I thought this post was retarded and the writer sure is not a mother. Who the hell does she think she is?

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Clearly, that woman is not a mother. Or she has a maid, nanny, and a stay-at-home husband/father who caters to her every whim. Because the estimates she pulled out her behind are just off. WAY off.

  13. A few years back the calculated pay for moms was approx $170,000 (and that’s low balling it!). What happened? “The Great Recession” austerity program for moms–I don’t think so.

  14. This is interesting on Gayle King’s show this past Monday she quoted a study that said about $116,000 per year.

  15. The truth is there is no figure that could ever come close, like the MasterCard commercial says, a mother’s work — Priceless!

  16. Not just to play devil’s advocate, but for those of us who make less than $61,000, that amount is not looking that bad. I suppose it’s all relative to what one expects any person should get paid for any work. I come from circumstances where two parents together made $50,000 for a family of four. So one person making $61,000? Even with my more middle-class understandings, it still sounds like good money to me. I understand it’s an under-valuation, but if all mothers in this country got paid that amount for mothering, I like to think that we’d be living in a different reality. $61,000 is a number most Americans can stomach, while a number over $100,000 is something most Americans don’t make (that would put a person in the top 10% of earners.) An income of $61,000 would put someone squarely in the middle income range, and would make so many mothers’ lives, and the lives of their children, immeasurably better.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Hey there, GradMommy! Nice to see you here, as always!
      Yes, you are absolutely right: $61K is, in this day and age, still a nice amount of pay for some and is not a salary that should be taken for granted. The point of this post, however, was to say that for the amount of labor that mothers put into their children, the care and keep of a home, scheduling, cooking, taking care of a husband’s needs, etc., $61K amounts to pennies compared to what the job SHOULD pay, if we were serious about paying a woman her worth.

  17. I laughed when I saw a story about’s estimate on the TV news. A reporter asked a little boy on the street how much money his mom should make, and the boy said $5. That made $61k sound not so bad.

  18. Umm…like really? Does this take into account single motherhood? Me thinks not. How about the fact that we have to be both friggin mom & dad half the time? Someone needs to start paying me money for the umpteen hours I’ve spent calling/faxing/emailing govt agencies trying to prove I DON’T make too much money for state-subsized healthcare for my kids. Better yet, someone needs to pay me for doing these agencies work since half the dimwits that work there aren’t worth a darn and don’t do their jobs. Where’s my pay for the plethora of hours I’ve spent educating my kids since the screwed up educational system stinks and if you can’t afford private school, ya might as well educate them yourself. $61,436 a year, my arse. Most nights I go to bed feeling like my back’s been broken, my feet are swollen and I’ve been beat like a darn slave. But guess what, I wouldn’t trade what I do as a single mother for anything in the world. However, don’t patronize me and say I’m only worth $61,436.

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