Childrearing

This Calculator Will Tell You How Much Salary You Deserve For Being A Parent

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You’ve all seen the meme by now,

A mother is a housekeeper, driver, cook, storyteller, nurse, coach, butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Okay, I made that last part up, but you know the meme, right? Basically that a mother’s job is the toughest because the roles she plays in the home apparently encompass every job that exists to man. Only, they don’t.

Cooking meals for your toddler does not make you a Michelin chef. Driving your kids to school does not make you akin to someone who works for the MTA. Reading your children a bedtime story does not make you a teacher. We all know that — but still the tired, sexist, meme endures. The latest incarnation of the meme is a new British ad campaign for the flower delivery company Interflora, in honor of Mother’s Day, which falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the UK. “The Hardest Job in The World” campaign comes complete with a fake job listing and website moms can visit to calculate what their actual salary should be:

This Calculator Will Tell You How Much Salary You Deserve For Being A Parent Screen Shot 2015 03 12 at 11 10 02 AM png

You Can Use This Calculator To Completely Over Value Your Job As A Stay At Home ParentIn addition to this fake help-wanted ad, Interflora made a Mum Salary Calculator you can visit to figure out what your “salary” should be for all of the work you do as a stay at home mom. Sorry, stay at home dads — you don’t count, apparently. You get nothing. Move on. I wish the work of my actual job was calculated by whatever formula this site is using, because I would clearly be making a ton of cash. Translation: the calculator is grossly inflating the value of the work. I plugged all the stats around my “household and childrearing duties” into this calculator, and although I am admittedly a crap housekeeper, this site claims I should be making $225,000 a year for the stuff I do at home. Okay.

Here’s the biggest problem with this meme: it starts a pile-on we don’t need to be participating in. Do we really feel a mother’s role needs to be undervalued anymore than it already is? Ascribing these fantastic exaggerations to a mom’s “job description” only does one thing — force us all to make light of it because it’s ridiculous. The insistence that a stay-at-home mom’s talents match those of actual professionals in certain fields just makes us all roll our eyes. Unless that stay at home mom also happens to be a Michelin chef.

The point is, a mother’s job is very important. So is a father’s. We don’t need to quantify it as “the most important job in the world” to make that any more true. And when we do, it actually has the opposite effect than the one it was aiming for.

(feature photo: Getty Images)

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