Imagine that you're sitting in an interview and when asked that question, your prospective employer says, "Well, you work for free of course." You'd probably walk out of there shocked, deciding that the job wasn't for you. You would more than likely consider your time too valuable to spend it doing something that didn't bring you any monetary gain. And who could blame you, after all, money is so important...right?
The job of a homemaker pays absolutely nothing monetarily. You won't see a cent for your labors (except maybe what you recover from those sofa cushions). There are no bonuses based on the number of minutes your laundry basket is empty (I'd never get a bonus for that anyway). This job is strictly for volunteers and if I don't volunteer to be my family's homemaker, no one will. The fact of the matter is, there's a need for my position but no money in the budget for a salary. I figured up that for childcare alone I'd be making about $2200 a month. That doesn't even include all the other services. I coordinated the MOPS group at our old church for two years. For one of our meetings I was determined to come up with an annual salary for "stay at home moms". I made a list of jobs and the salary ended up totaling over $300K. I should look for that breakdown, it was pretty incredible.
While we're talking salary here, Erik and I had a silly little exchange the other day. I had my hair cut on the 2nd and we were talking about how much it cost. I told him and he was like, "wow, that's high". I said, "that's including tip." He chuckles and says, "why did you tip her, I don't tip my stylist." "I know," I said smugly as I looked over his hair to see if it was time to break out the trimmers again. Yes, I cut everyone's hair in this house but my own. That's a nice chunk of change right there.
So, how can we find job satisfaction? How do we measure our worth? How do we know if we are performing to our best ability? These are questions I've asked myself. I know I haven't been doing my best lately and I believe it's because finding worth in this work is sometimes difficult. What I've decided is, although there is no monetary compensation, you still get a performance report virtually everyday. Homemakers are always being evaluated. Our husbands, our kids and their friends, in-laws, our friends, our neighbors, the kid's teachers, church members, club members, hubby's co-workers, and anyone else our family comes in contact with, they all evaluate us. It's in the little things though. Everything we do at home is directly reflected in our worlds outside our home. For example, how you grow your kids has a direct impact on their teachers and friends. A clean bathroom could start your husband's day with a smile rather than frustration over not being able to find his towel in all the clutter. If you sit for a moment and consider the ways in which a homemaker can influence the world just by doing her job well, it's really quite mind blowing. We set off little chain reactions every day - whether those are positive or negative are up to us.
Sometimes though, it's difficult to really see the benefits of this job unless we document them. What if I started a reward journal. Maybe I could write down the little rewards I get during the day for my job. It can be a hug from my child or a thank you from my husband. It can be getting to see my son's first t-ball game or watching my daughter's eyes light up as she finds her quarter from the tooth fairy. It can be in a visit from family and friends when they say, "I just love what you've done to the bathroom." Obviously I should be mindful of the money I'm "saving" my family by doing this. I may not be making $2200 for childcare but I'm not paying it to someone else either. Of course, I can't forget to write down the "booboos" I bandage and the loving kiss I get when hubby gets home. Then on days I'm feeling unappreciated, I can open my journal and see how important I am to my family. I'm not sure how long I'll keep up the journal but it might we worth a try for right now when finding reasons to be thankful for this job has been....well, impossible.
This is by far, one of the hardest jobs, but it's got great returns if you know how to find them.
A MOTHER'S WAGES
If I would charge one cent each time
I washed my children's clothes,
Or tied a shoe or gave a bath
Or wiped a runny nose,
Or made a bed or acted as
Their judge or referee,
It would be possible that I
Could live in luxury.
If I were paid a nickel for
Each diaper that I've pinned,
For every Band-Aid I've applied
When arms or legs were skinned,
For every toy that I've picked up
And put back in it's niche,
There wouldn't be a single doubt--
Why, I could be quite rich.
If just one dime would be my fee
For giving them a pill,
For making meals and wiping up
The milk they always spill,
For darning scores of tiny socks,
For fixing things that break,
It wouldn't be too long before
A fortune I would make.
Although it's true I don't receive
A solitary cent,
I'm repaid in many ways
For all the time I've spent.
Their smiles, their love is my reward
For this unending care,
And I am richer, yes, by far
Than any millionaire!
The Homemaker's Hats
“So if I get this job, what’s the pay?”
“Hey, where’s the maid? My socks are dirty!”
"The Butler did it!"
"Hey Cookie, that's mighty fine grub!"
"Is there a doctor in the house?"