You know that fun feeling of getting home from work and immediately shifting into housework mode?
If you have a baby at home, after hugs and cuddles, this may mean you are putting your little one in the bath before it’s time for the bedtime routine. Or maybe you simply jump right into making dinner and picking up toys strewn on the ground with one hand, while sauteeing spinach with the other.
Whatever your normal routine, you normally don’t think about that extra work commanding a salary. Yet many working moms can attest to the fact that it can be more exhausting to come home than to be at work in the office. Decades after Arlie Hochschild published the “Second Shift” and studied how men and women take on different amounts of work at home, working parents — and particularly working moms — are still predominantly shouldering household and childcare responsibilities.
Hochschild found that the balance that different couples adopted had deep implications for their relationship, their feelings of self-worth and guilt, and even their sex lives and sleep. She found a “leisure gap” between men and women, that generally left women with less than their partners.
Being a career community for women, we naturally wanted to find out what it would mean if we were actually paid for all this extra, unpaid work. According to Salary.com survey data of working moms, working moms put in an average of 58 hours of work per week once they come home from their day jobs. Salary.com also looked at how these working moms spent their tim, and factored in the hourly costs and overtime rates for various tasks.
According to the data, additional work that working moms undertook for the household includes:
- Laundry operator
- Facilities manager
- Computer operator
- Daycare teacher
- Van driver
Looking at the time accounts by over 2,000 working moms, Salary.com then calculated that working moms could be paid close to $68,000 a year for their work at home. What's even crazier? Salary.com's 58/hour week estimate for household duties actually errs on the conservative side. Other studies claim the true weekly workload for working moms clocks in at closer to 98 hours.
We can't help but think — if society financially valued work done inside the home the same way we value work done outside it, that gendered "leisure gap" probably would likely be a non-issue.
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