What are you worth Mamas? Asking what your mum salary should be
Let me start off by saying that most people don’t become parents as a career choice! One day these tiny people come into our lives, and we discover that we work harder at being a parent than we’ve ever worked before in our lives. Ever. On top of all we are already, and all that we do, we suddenly add so much more to what we thought we could handle. And then we go and handle it!
Whether you are a stay at home parent, or juggle work with family life, this job is no picnic. Career becomes an even greater challenge, and new roles come are required – from chef, to nurse, to taxi driver, to carer, to playmate, to personal administrative assistant and chief diary organiser (these kids have serious social schedules!).
And then things like being spontaneous is much tricker, as there are now other people to consider, and their needs often mean military-style planning to get things sorted.
As a child, my dad used to love to randomly announce that we were going “on a drive”. We would pile into the car, and he might drive into the deep countryside in Trinidad. We watched sugar cane fields blur through our windows, or he might quite frequently pull into the airport car park, jump out and stride over to the terminal, with us trailing behind. He would ask at the desk for standby tickets, while my mother wrung her hands, worrying about clothes, nappies, food etc for the children. He would shrug and brush her worries aside, “we’ll just pick up what we need, don’t worry about it!”. Off we would go for impromptu weekends on a neighbouring island, where thankfully we were always able to find a hotel room available, as to this day dad still refuses to book in advance – apparently it spoils the fun of being in the moment. My mother took to keeping a bag in the car, with a stash of spare underwear and snacks, much to dad’s frustration.
Of course we gain enormously – when little arms wrap themselves around my neck, or announce as they zoom along on a scooter that they love me more than the sky tied to space, in those moments, nothing tops that. Au revoir spontaneity, who needs that when I have galactic love?!
There is of course, a huge amount of balance required when you are a mother – and the whole point of my blog title is about trying to find balance, between being a mama and being more. Making space to maintain and nourish yourself, away from the roles of being mother/wife/chief bottle washer and grazed knee kisser, is an added challenge, but oh so necessary.
When I made the transitions from full time working girl, to full time working mum, to stay at home mum (which seems to include even more “on” working hours, as there isn’t even the reprieve of a commute, but I digress!), to melding freelance marketing and writing work, with being a yoga teacher and stay at home mum (read about this journey here), I had moments of devaluing myself, of feeling like because I wasn’t earning as I did before, that somehow I was diminished. I also felt like I had to negotiate me-time, something that now felt like a real luxury.
Dinner conversations with people who would ask “what do you do” made me cringe, and what made me cringe even more was to realise how much of my own self worth I had placed in a job title, and in my ability to fill my bank account each month, at least for a week! At times when I moaned about how unequal I was feeling, suddenly no longer being financially independent for the first time in my life, one of my best girlfriends would carefully remind me that there is tangible value in the roles that we do. Managing a family’s social diary, magically getting errands and household chores done, being on call – if someone else was to do it, it wouldn’t come cheap!
The other day an email dropped into my inbox, and after reading, I clicked through the link to answer a few questions to discover my “Mum Salary” – let me tell you, I feel pretty underpaid! Here are my results below. I keep going back and tweaking my answers, and so far my salary hasn’t dropped below £40k! It’s a bit addictive I have to say, and great to share with friends in the same boat! The thing is, all these roles we juggle are the same, whether you’re a FTWM or SAHM – this isn’t a competition, it’s about knowing what we’re worth.
Fancy trying out the survey? It’s a brilliant conversation starter! Click here to find the Sun Life survey and discover what your Mum Salary would be. By the way, I was printing out my CV the other day, and smiled to notice that I had included being a mother on there, and explained what skills it had brought to the fore. Our roles are massively important, on an emotional level which can never be measured or valued, but also on a practical level too.
Top image from EU Mom
*This is a sponsored post, but good food for thought!