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May 27, 2021

What’s a mother's work really worth?

Every year around Mother’s Day, posts a calculation of what price a mom’s services would command on the open market, correctly pointing out that mothers don't get enough respect for the work they do.

The time Canadian mothers spend on the 10 most popular “mom jobs” would translate into a salary of $132,288 for a stay-at-home Mom. Working Moms could expect to generate $82,220 on top of their regular pay. 

How do the folks at arrive at such hefty numbers? To create their estimate, the researchers created a hybrid of 10 different jobs – each with different salaries – and then considered the market value for mom's most common jobs and tasks.

The job titles include: laundry machine operator, janitor, van driver, computer operator, housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, chief executive officer, psychologist, and facilities manager.

According to the study’s findings, a working mom puts in more than 96 hours a week when you combine her full-time job, mom hours, and mom overtime – an increase of four hours from last year.

The jump seems largely attributed to spending more time preparing meals, making sure the home stays in good repair, and shuttling the family to activities.

If you’d like to see where your family might fit on the 'unappreciated' scale, try using this wizard to replicate your own representative pay cheque.

But don’t get to carried away, warns Kristin Maschka, national spokesperson for Mothers & More, and the author of Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today.

Calculations like these always sound inflated and therefore end up trivializing the very real importance of assigning economic value to care giving work – no matter who is doing it, she maintains.

Plus, they reinforce an outdated assumption that mothers are – or should be the only ones doing this family work, she argues. 

Is putting a number on unpaid work a useful exercise? Do you even believe the numbers in the first place?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...