Valuing Your Time

Valuing Your Time: SAHM Edition

There’s a trick in the business world moms would benefit from using: learning how to value our time.
I mean putting an actual dollar amount on your time.
So you can look at that number and know what is worth doing. You will find a lot of tasks are better to outsource it or not do at all.
We all value our time. We have a dollar amount that we’re willing to work for. If someone offered you $2 to sweep a floor, you would say no. If they offered you $2,000, you would immediately say yes.
Motherhood is not a job. We illustrating how to think about our time, not how to think about motherhood.


The Math

Let’s look at the numbers.
Estimates for how much a stay-at-home mother would make vary widely, but they’re all pretty high. The first one that pops up on Google places a stay-at-home mom at $162,581 a year. This includes all of the jobs that she does: house cleaning, child care, dietitian, groundskeeper.

Judge and plumber.


This was specifically what I argued against in my article. But there ae many areas where mothers can learn from the business world. Leadershipis one. Valuing our time is another.

So, how much doesan average stay-at-home-mom work?

Most estimates put the workload at about 97hrs/week, meaning that she works about 5,044hrs/year. $162,581 / 5044 gives us about $32/hr.

Is this number accurate for everyone? No. I don’t know who it’s accurate for. But let’s use it to demonstrate.


One thing that this could mean is that it’s worth it for you to outsource some of your housework. If somebody is willing to come by for an hour a day at $10 an hour, that saves you money.

It could mean that waiting half an hour in line for a gift card doesn’t make sense. It could mean that cutting coupons doesn’t make sense. It could mean that it makes more sense for Instacart to get your groceries.

All of those are directly financially related. A lot of families, my own included, can not outsource all of this work. That’s fine. It does not detract from the usefulness of this calculation.


Other Uses

One of the things that this calculation should inform you of is whether or not you should go back to work. How much is that going to pay? Is it worth more than what you are donating to your family?
It could mean that you divvy out your social time differently. If you are trying to decide whether or not to spend time with your mother-in-law, think:
Would I be happy to pay somebody more than $32/hr to do this for me?
If the answer is yes, maybe send her a $60 gift instead to show you are thinking of her.
Would I pay more than $32 an hour to avoid the fight not visiting her would cause?
The math gets tricky.
This number isn’t set in stone, and in reality, we value our hours different. The purpose is just to start giving you a rough idea of how to think of your time. If you feel too busy, there are a few things causing that.
One of them is not getting into the flow of habits.
But the other one is wasting your time and not focusing on the things that you really value.
Maybe you value your time at $50 an hour. Maybe you value at $10 an hour. Whatever it is, decide a number. Decision making will become easier, especially at the margins.

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