Opinion Brief

Are stay-at-home dads relatively worthless?

A new survey suggests that full-time moms do twice as much parenting work as their male counterparts — and are therefore twice as valuable

If stay-at-home dads received a paycheck for all their cooking, cleaning, and diaper-changing, they would earn $60,128 a year, according to Salary.com. Based on a survey of more than 1,000 dads who parent an average of 52.9 hours per week, that figure was determined by proportionally calculating the pay for the 10 most common "dad jobs": "day care center teacher, CEO, psychologist, cook, groundskeeper, laundry machine operator, computer operator, facilities manager, maintenance worker and van driver." A similar study conducted on stay-at-home moms suggested they would earn $115,432. Are full-time dads really worth just half as much as full-time moms?

Yes. Just do the math: The discrepancy is hardly mysterious, says NewHobbyIdea.com. "Mothers still do most of the work." Stay-at-home moms spend 96.6 hours per week cleaning and caring for their kids, whereas their male counterparts contribute only 52.9 hours. Even working moms spend more time on such chores than full-time dads.
"Never quite thought about it until now!"

Dads do more work than you think: "Poor Dad can't catch a break," says Meredith Carroll at Babble. As Salary.com notes, both stay-at-home and working dads are becoming more involved parents and more committed housekeepers. Maybe the salary discrepancy reflects a tendency by moms to "count all the time they're with the kids," while dads, who are newer to the hands-on stuff, just tally up the time when they're the only parent around.
"Are stay-at-home dads really only worth half of moms? Yes, says new survey"

Moms do more, but not twice as much: Sure, women log more parenting hours than men, says Scott Adler at Baby Center, but "this math falls short." If you're going to appraise parents as salaried employees, factor in the intangibles that might earn them bonuses and promotions. That way, "some dads might redeem their kitchen incompetence or school-homework indifference with strong showings in the play and awesome-role-model categories."
"Is a dad really worth $33,458?"

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