On another soapbox today; however, I promise not to be so judgemental...a friend who reads my blog (may be just about the only one, besides my family!) pointed out gently that there are better ways to create change than yelling at people. She's right. In my own defense, sometimes the unfairness of the world gets to me and makes me want to scream, and what is a blog except a place where one can scream in public and not get arrested?!
BS (Beloved Spouse, and there's a story behind that which I'll tell you someday) and I had a dust up last night about the money - just about the only thing we ever fight about - and this morning I was grumping around, getting his breakfast, ironing his shirt, and making his lunch...okay, before someone yells at me for being a 50's housewife, I'll just add that he is handicapped, and long ago I made the choice that I would do these things because I wanted to....and fuming and entertaining a long, involved fantasy where I ran away for a month and let him find out firsthand how valuable I am. Kind of an adult version of a kid running away so her parents will find out how much they miss her!
So, I'm happily planning this as I'm slapping peanut butter on bread, and ran headfirst, metaphorically, into The Issue - money. As in, what would I use for money when I ran away. I don't work outside the home and don't have a money tree growing in secret in the closet, so how would I fund this little getaway? And that led into some thinking about the monetary value of BEING a stay at home mom.
When the girls went to college last year, he told me that I should not see it as the end of being a mom, but as a well earned retirement and do what I wanted, which was pretty darn nice and made me feel much better for a while, but then as our college fund continued to dribble away, the money worrying came back. I can't work at a regular full time job due to medical issues, and most part time jobs are in retail, which mean being on your feet for hours at a time, which I just can't do.
But then it came to me...maybe on peanut butter fumes....I worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year from the time the girls were born. It was all on me, as he can't do a lot of the things an able bodied dad could do to help out. So I did some figuring, and this is what I came up with...and trust me - this will BLOW your mind!
24/7 times 365 is 61,320 hours. Multiply that times $22 an hour, which was roughly what I was making as a teacher, and you get (hold onto your jaw) $1,349,040!!!! That's over a million dollars a year! And that's just ONE year! Multiply that times 18 and you get $24,282.720. WOW.
Now, I'm sure it could be argued that I didn't actually WORK all those hours, and that's true. However, I was "on call" all of that time, which meant that at any moment, awake or sleeping, I could be needed. Think about it - all of those middle of the night wake up calls of "MOMMY!" The call from the school that a child has a fever and needs to come home. All those hours of volunteering - Girl Scouts, dance, Latin Club, book fair, tutoring, etc. Think about it! It really adds up to 18 years of always being there.
I certainly don't expect anyone to write me a check for 24 million dollars, and that theoretical value of what I did will absolutely not help send the girls to college. But the next time someone says to me or any stay at home mom, "Do you work?" we can say, "Why, yes, I do work - right here at home - and it's a VERY valuable job."