Below is an article/speech given by one of the presenters at an International Women’s Day Event we organised a few years ago. This was and still a very Powerful Point of View that I believe is a s relevant today as it was then – perhaps the values would be multi millions now though. Thank you Pip for sharing this with us.
More than Just a Mum by Pip Cooper.
My guess is secretly we would all like to think of ourselves as Million Dollar
Mums, my job today is to give you permission to make that wish come true
because we are all, in reality, Million Dollar Mums.
I have to admit that I felt a bit nervous about mentioning my idea about being a
Million Dollar Mum to some of my friends but it had made me look at myself in a
different light so I thought it might do the same for others. I then had one very
dear friend ask me to put it in writing as it was just what she needed to hear, so
here you are, not just the idea but also the process behind it. Please be aware
that this is an idea not an absolute particularly when it comes to actual values.
The premise is that is this gives being a mother some financial value so that we
can compare to all those who do earn money for what they do everyday.
This exercise all began because I was trying to work out how to bring more
money into our household, without compromising what I already bring to the
family. I am a fulltime at home Mum by choice but there are times when I think
going back to work is the only answer to being able to afford the little extras we
like to have in our lives.
For about 6 months I have been part of a money group which looks at our
attitudes and strongly held beliefs about money and abundance in general. I
went along thinking that I would gain some insights into money and wealth,
which I did, but I also discovered many other things about myself, especially that
how we look at money really does effect the way we look at ourselves, it is
almost impossible to separate the two. Money, wealth, abundance is not
something that lives in a room separate to all else that is going on in our lives
but is intricately and intimately linked to who we are.
When the group was asked, “How do we as Mothers value what we do?” I have
to admit I didn’t have a quick response at the ready, so I let it sit with me for a
while. The more I thought about it the more I realised that I was trying to come
up with an answer by comparing apples to oranges and that the end result was
just not satisfying. By that I mean I was trying to compare how I valued being an
at home Mum with being a successful career woman. The latter is easy, you
can just look at income, prestige, and the impact your work has on those around
you. The former just didn’t seem to have any of those benchmarks to work from
so I decided to recruit another professional to help with this dilemma, my
husband. The logical, more technically minded and far less emotionally
entangled member of our household team. So I asked him how he valued what
I did and as I knew he would he came back with a clean, logical and easy to
understand solution, that meant I could compare apples with apples at last.
We started by working out the hours Mum’s are on call a year, not hard 24/7 x
365 a year. We then figured out how many people are required to cover those
hours (ie to just be present for that period of time). We gave each of these
people a conservative base annual income plus super (just to make
calculations easy for us and because we have no idea of an average annual
income). We then realised that this figure would not include leave loading,
weekend, public holiday or night shift loading which varies from industry to
industry, it would also not include extra skill loading such as drivers licence, first
aid certificate etc. Taking into consideration we would be covering industries as
diverse as healthcare, childcare, catering, teaching, transport, entertainment
and domestic help we thought it best not to guess and just be aware that these
values had not been added on. It also doesn’t include added employer costs
such as insurance, healthcare, stress leave, workers compensation. As you will
see there are so many things that are hard to value in this equation.
We then looked at what else Mum’s do as a given ie pregnancy and birth, not
something you could ask an employee to do for you or to give a definite value
to. We looked at surrogate mothering and the value varies but let’s say it is
worth between $250- 500,000. Pregnancy and birth is something we must do in
order to become mothers and we do it without expectation of payment or reward
other than the obvious reward of becoming a mother.
Next on our hit list was a whole list of intangibles that defy economic value such
as love, genuine care, selfless attention etc. These are things that you cannot
demand or expect of an employee but are seen as a given in a loving mother.
How could we place a value these qualities? we can’t so we just snatched a
figure from the air and again it was easy to round things off so let’s say $250
000 pa making us worth $1,000,000 per year (see calculations below).
Here it is in figures to make it easier to understand:
8760 hours in a year
169 hours /week
4.2 people/week (based on 40 hour week)
Wage $50 000/year
9% super $4500/year
$54 000 x 4.2 = $228 900/year
Wage $228 900
Pregnancy $500 000
Intangibles $250 000
Total income $978 900
It is a very loose calculation but it gives you the idea that those of us doing what
many consider to be the most demanding job in the world for no financial
rewards are worth a great deal to the community we live in. We contribute love,
care, attention, education, and various other contributions to our immediate and
wider communities to the tune of $1 000 000, maybe not every year but at least
$500 000 each year. Now think of the people you know you earn that kind of
income (not too many I’d guess) and look at what they do to earn it and the
lifestyle they enjoy because of it.
So next time you are worried about how you can contribute more to your family
financially know that what you are already doing is worth a huge amount to the
community and more importantly to your family. When you want that massage,
facial, new outfit, lunch out with your friends, a relaxing holiday or even the
money to pay the school fees and new uniforms know that you have earned it
well and truly and don’t think twice about whether or not you deserve it because
you do without question (in this Mums opinion anyway). So ask away and know
that everyday you are offering and doing enough in exchange for anything that
you may want or need.
Walk out of the house with your head held high and know that you are
contributing something valuable (almost beyond value) to those around you
and the next time some ones asks you what you do and you say I’m a Mum you
can say it with real pride not a muttered “Oh I’m just a Mum.” No, you are more
than Just a Mum! So very much more.