A Mother’s Measure of Success: Quality in Equals Quality Out
Every year in the time surrounding Mother’s Day in the United States, stories pop up all over the news letting us know what the ten or more functions a mother performs in her every day are now worth X amount of dollars. According to Salary.com, “the job titles that best matched a mom’s definition of her work are (in order of hours spent per week): housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, facilities manager, van driver, psychologist, laundry machine operator, janitor, and chief executive officer.” And for her efforts, her annual salary would equate to $122,732 for a stay-at-home mom. Working moms ‘at-home’ salary is $76,184. Is that all?
As the CEO and CCO (Chief Connectivity Officer) of my family (one husband with two daughters), I multiplied our family’s financial resources by focusing on providing experiences for my daughters instead of buying stuff. I knew the experiences they had as young people–in art classes, martial arts, instrument lessons, at museums and concerts-were exponentially more valuable to them in the long term than any toy I could buy. My husband worked hard to provide us with basic essentials, but he was a teacher, not an oil baron. We had to choose: stuff or experiences?
Their education, in and out of the classroom, was not left to chance. What responsible CEO would leave employee training up in the air? Their skill sets were constantly being reinforced and grown, with the knowledge that it is exceedingly more difficult to unlearn and relearn something than it is to learn it right the first time. So some things took more time to achieve. Does any CEO rush to simply get a product out the door? Or do they do research and development, testing, and then a final launch?
I saw my job as an opportunity to hold an integrated, comprehensive, view of both who my daughters were and wanted to become (quite different from one another), and keep a stable, safe environment around them so they could learn and grow. I knew this job would be the primary way in which I could contribute greater value to the overall marketplace, too—leaving two thoughtful, articulate, capable thinkers to make their mark.
As the most heralded leaders are lauded for, I executed my long-term plan efficiently, on budget, and exceeded expectations. So, as a mom, did I earn my $122,732 salary for successfully executing my myriad jobs? Or am I worth twice that because I had two kids? In truth, as we all know intuitively, a mother’s value is immeasurable because her work far outlives her.