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If moms got paid, they'd be rich

A not-so-scientific look at what the endless job of motherhood is worth

A not-so-scientific look at what the endless job of motherhood is worth

May 13, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

Hagerstown resident Payton Berry plans on getting her mom something really nice for Mother's Day today, but it won't cost the $544,804 she "owes" her mom.

Sandra Berry "earned" that much the past 13 years by doing her job just raising Payton, who has three siblings.

Moms multitask as well as anyone else, whether teaching their children life lessons while preparing the family dinner or disciplining a child while at the same time bandaging their wounds.

Moms' jobs are endless, and what they receive in return can be priceless - a child's love and devotion.

But what if we could put a price - a salary - to the job mothers do?

The Herald-Mail recently attempted to do that with a few moms in the Tri-State area.

Salary.com determined that stay-at-home moms this year would earn $138,000 if they were paid for their many jobs, according to Orca Communications.

This is a rather unscientific look at just how much moms do to raise their children.

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Our moms' annual salaries didn't get that high, but when the annual salaries were added up for those child-rearing years the totals were more than half a million dollars each.

To determine how much mom should earn just in raising one child, six local residents were asked what mom's biggest jobs were in raising them. They often included disciplinarian, teacher, personal shopper, cook, housekeeper and psychologist.

Then we calculated mom's salary by adding up the different jobs' earnings using 2005 wage estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For example, if 20 percent of mom's job was being a housekeeper, we used 20 percent of the average national wage estimate for a housekeeper - $3,636 is 20 percent of $18,180 - to determine mom's annual pay.

Then we calculated how much money mom would have earned for the number of years she'd spent raising that child.

The reaction by the mom's offspring, ranging in age from 13 to 48, was often, "Wow."

"I guess I owe her a lot, don't I?" responded Harry Carbaugh, 48, of Hagerstown. Williamsport resident Marie Carbaugh's estimated earnings just for raising Harry would be $741,078. She also raised a daughter.

Harry Carbaugh wasn't as shocked by the figure as some people.

"I know what my wife did," Carbaugh said. His wife, Kathy, committed to being a stay-at-home mom from the time they first got married until their children were in junior high, he said.

Debbie Jolliff of Martinsburg, W.Va., said the $837,702 her mother, Sylvia Neal of Martinsburg, earned raising her seems a little cheap.

"You don't realize until you are a mom how much your mom did for you," said Jolliff, 34.

Marcus Orr, 13, of Hagerstown, wasn't sure last week what he was going to get his mom for today, but he had a good idea how much his mom does for him.

"She definitely keeps me in line," he said. "She's a perfect cook." That's why Marcus ranked disciplinarian and cook as the two biggest jobs his mom, Nanette Mathers, does in raising him.

Upon listing all the jobs his mom does to take care of him, Marcus said he was surprised by how much she does, "especially since she's a single mother."

"She does a lot," he said. "She's basically my hero."

Payton Berry, 13, of Hagerstown, considers various jobs that her mother, Sandra Berry of Hagerstown, does to raise her

(Estimated annual earnings are based on percent of time spent doing each job.)

Task % of annual time Earnings

Cook 16 $5,734

Housekeeper 16 $2,909

Disciplinarian 12 $5,672

Personal shopper 11 $5,782

Nurse 10 $5,688

Teacher 9 $4,229

Designer/stylist 8 $5,390

Bodyguard 7 $1,588

Psychologist 6 $3,838

Chauffeur 5 $1,078

Annual salary = $41,908

x 13 years

Estimated earnings to date for Sandra Berry for raising Payton: $544,804




Harry Carbaugh, 48, of Hagerstown, considers various jobs that his mother, Marie Carbaugh of Williamsport, did to raise him

(Estimated annual earnings are based on percent of time spent doing each job.)

Task % of annual time Earnings

Religious adviser 28 $11,676

Disciplinarian 15 $7,091

Cook 12 $4,301

Housekeeper 10 $1,818

Chauffeur 9 $1,940

Personal shopper 8 $4,205

Psychologist 7 $4,477

Teacher 6 $2,819

Nurse 5 $2,844

Annual salary = $41,171

x 18 years

Estimated earnings for Marie Carbaugh for raising Harry: $741,078




Judy Rinehart, 20, of Hagerstown, considers jobs that her mother, Mervet Rinehart, did to raise her

(Estimated annual earnings are based on percent of time spent doing each job.)

Task % of annual time Earnings

Housekeeper 20 $3,636

Bank teller 20 $4,404

Psychologist 12 $7,675

Nurse 12 $6,826

Cook 10 $3,584

Personal shopper 8 $4,205

Disciplinarian 8 $3,782

Teacher 6 $2,819

Chauffeur 4 $862

Annual salary =$37,793

x18 years

Estimated earnings for Mervet Rinehart of Smithsburg for raising Judy: $680,274




Mark Melton, 41, of the Hagerstown area, considers various jobs that his mother, Nancy Melton of Boonsboro, did to raise him

(Estimated annual earnings are based on percent of time spent doing each job.)

Task % of annual time Earnings

Teacher 17 $7,988

Housekeeper 17 $3,091

Bodyguard/safety monitor 15 $3,404

Cook 13 $4,659

Nurse 8 $4,550

Personal shopper 8 $4,205

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