Over the years a few annual surveys have come out about working and stay-at-home mothers right around Mother’s Day. Salary.com has the How Much Are Mom’s Worth? salary wizard which calculates how much someone would be paid for all of the jobs moms do (teacher, cook, chauffeur, etc) and reminds moms that all the work they do is worth a six-figure salary even though they never actually see a dime. And the CareerBuilder’s Working Mothers Survey published a few years back reported that close to a quarter of working moms take work home and reminds moms that they are not alone in feeling guilty about not spending more time with their kids. So I never head into Mother’s Day weekend with a warm and fuzzy feeling; instead I grumble as I wash dishes that should be at least a $10 an hour job and wallow in my feelings of being underpaid and overworked.
The surveys seem to suggest that working moms don’t spend nearly the amount of quality time with their kids as their moms did. But is this really the case? My friends and I often joke around about our moms and how they opened the door and said “Go out and play and don’t come back until lunch.” And when we returned for lunch we had about 15 minutes before mom opened that door again and said “Don’t come back until dinner.” Yet we all managed to make it to adulthood without being emotionally scarred and we have fond memories of our childhood and our moms.
I’ve decided that working mother guilt is “so 2005″ and I’m moving past it. And as for the “working for nothing” side of the equation, I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes the times you spend doing those seemingly thankless chores, making the extra batch of brownies for the school bake sale, or playing that third mind-numbing Game of Life are memories you end up cherishing for life that can’t be replaced by any monetary compensation.
While I was writing this post my daughter called to chat. I told her I was working. I could sense she was offering me a classic eye roll. But ten minutes later I put the post on hold to chat. It was just ten minutes to reconnect and hear about her day. Maybe she would have liked 20 minutes. But she got 10 and 20 minutes wouldn’t have necessarily made it a better conversation nor would it have made me a better mother. Working moms give a lot. And kids know that and they like their moms just the way they are. Happy Mother’s Day!