Motherhood: For What it’s Worth

A CONVERSATION ABOUT PERCEIVED VALUE:

A man asked a woman friend of mine why she felt entitled to anything financially when she didn’t work when they were married.

My friend asked for the house they’d lived in for 3 years: they bought it for $280k.

The man responded: No. That is too much for you. Why would I let you keep that?

My friend asked: What do you think is a reasonable price for you to let the kids and I keep our home?

The man answered: The house is worth more now. I want $200,000 or you sell it and give me half.

My friend responded: So, I will pay the mortgage, taxes and maintenance on this house and you want half? How is that fair?

The man answered: You didn’t work. I paid this mortgage for three years!

My friend responded: Alright then, how about I give you everything you are owed?

The man answered: That’s only fair. I appreciate it!

My friend responded: Yes, let’s be fair. We bought the house for $280k three years before we divorced. During that time we almost went into foreclosure multiple times when you were in between jobs or were out of town for work and didn’t have enough money to send home. My family helped out with $10k in payments. When we were divorced we were behind several months I had to get caught up on. I paid the $10k down payment by working FT remote while raising the children. We lived without A/C for a year until I earned a bonus to replace the whole-house A/C.

The man said: Ok, fair enough. You can deduct $30k from my share.

My friend said: Great. Thank you. And when you were working everyday, who did you pay to watch your 2 babies? The average cost of childcare for newborns is more than $1000/wk.

The man said: I paid no one. That was your job as my wife!

My friend said: So as the honor of doing your laundry, cooking your meals, and fulfilling all of my various spousal duties, I had the job of raising the kids. To continue being fair, let’s account for that.

The man said: I see where you think this is going.

My friend responded: Do you think so? For raising two newborns, the math adds up to More than $100k a year. You can’t hire a wet-nurse these days. To purchase breast milk you’d need an extra $75 daily as breast milk runs about $2.50 an ounce and an average baby consumes about 30 ounces daily. This increases with age. I breastfed for a total of 42 months combined which puts us just shy of another $100k.

The man said nothing.

My friend continued: Before you got home I picked up around the house. When you got home I made your dinner and served you as you watched tv. I was up and down with the babies as needed every night so you could get your “needed sleep.”

The man said: Well, the kids weren’t babies for long. It got easier.

My friend responded: Well, you are right. They were not babies for long. Their need to be held and protected carefully was replaced somewhat with a need to be followed, chased, taught, and still held and protected. I didn’t leave for a traditional job each morning with peaceful commutes, my own music playing and lunch breaks. I worked remote from home and raised the children their entire lives. I didn’t occasionally meet up with friends after work for drinks. There was and has never been an “after work.”

The man said: The kids are in school now. You have days off!

My friend said: Except I still work that other job you don’t acknowledge. The one that pays far less than yours but allows me the ability to keep up the house, run errands, take the kids to and from school, help them with homework, volunteer for the required hours annually at the school, go to their plays, attend parent/teacher conferences, take them to gymnastics and feed, bathe and get the children to bed on time.

The man said: Well, someone had to earn a decent income!

My friend said: Absolutely. And as you should by now see, raising your children did not pay me an income but had you paid someone to do the job that I did, it would have far exceeded your income. It would far exceed what you feel you are owed if I keep the children in the home they love when everything else is changing for them. In addition to not receiving an income, I received no retirement benefits from the work I did. You did though. Half of that income should be mine upon your retirement. We may need to get out calculators. To be fair.

The man said nothing.

👉🏼 MOTHERS: Know your worth and be confident in it.

👉🏼 FATHERS: Recognize their worth and be respectful of it.

Sharing this to support all my friends, family and clients who are Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and Mothers/Jugglers/Acrobats walking the thinnest wire with no safety net. #Repost

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