No, Mothers Should Not Be Compensated For Housework

No, Mothers Should Not Be Compensated For Housework

Last weekend, the New York Times published an op-ed piece titled “Forget Pancakes. Pay Mothers.” The author argued that the domestic duties that mother’s perform like changing diapers, cooking, and cleaning should be compensated. This sentiment is nothing new. In fact, it is nothing more than a recycled agenda from the Equal Rights Amendment era of the 1970s. 

Nearly 50 years after this debate started and the feminists still haven’t figured out that mothers are already compensated for their household labor. They are called husbands (or a full-time working partner to make this politically correct for the current year.)

When two people join in a union, they become one. One household where all things are shared, all assets are owned equally. That means that any income earned, whether by the husband or wife, is the household income, to be allocated for all household expenses. There is no such thing as his money and her money, it is their money. While it may be one person’s responsibility to physically leave the house and earn a salary, it is the responsibility of both partners to manage and conserve that income. You would think that the concept of complete shared ownership would be very easy for leftists to adopt given that they are constantly trying to impose such collectivist communist ideals on society, yet here they are unable to execute it within their own households. 

Critics argue that this communal view of household financial management is outdated, or dare I say it, a Christian view of money and matrimony. Or that it doesn’t prepare women for the ‘what if’ scenarios should the marriage dissolve. But if you are entering marriage already preparing to leave it, you will more likely end up in that exact scenario. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

The ‘what’s hers’ and ‘what’s his’ mentality dooms marriages from the start. This author is particularly resentful and even refers to marriage and motherhood as an “injury”.  The author does indeed reveal that she is in the midst of divorce right now. That being said I do not want to speculate as to why. She may have very good reason to separate. But I will say that her outlook on marriage is not an approach I would recommend. 

When mother’s perform household duties in the home they are indeed being compensated for it, through conservation of funds. We stay at home moms are doing the work so that we don’t have to outsource it. We are making all the meals at home so we don’t have to spend an excessive amount of money eating out. I sew up the holes in my children’s clothes so I don’t have to spend money on new clothes. I clean my house so I don’t have to pay a stranger to do it. 

While men are usually the breadwinners, they are also responsible for such cost saving chores. When my husband retiles that bathroom on his own, replaces the car battery himself, or does yardwork, he doesn’t demand I compensate him for that labor. He does so to save on labor costs. That is no different from my labor taking care of the children, doing laundry, cooking, or cleaning. We work in tandem to conserve income by eliminating the need to outsource as many tasks as we can. It is a team effort and neither of us are resentful for it. Instead we find great reward in such efforts because we know we have just done something that helps our household.

The author’s obliviousness to her family’s best interest is further apparent in the following statement. 

“In our country, staying home to raise children is one of the most devastating financial decisions a woman can make. And without any sort of child care system in place, it’s often not a choice at all.”

If staying home was such an obviously poor decision, why are millions of mothers making that decision? If you approach the choice from a purely selfish point of view that you as the individual will not earn an income, then perhaps yes, it is devastating financially. But when you approach that decision from the purview that it is best for your household to stay home, then no it is not devastating financially, rather financially beneficial. Particularly in households where children are not of school age, a double income is often not the financially wise alternative. The cost of childcare alone usually outweighs a mother’s incentive to return to work, but that is not the only cost that accompanies women working outside the home. In addition to childcare, mothers will need transport to work whether that be public transport or a vehicle and the insurance, gas, and maintenance costs that come with it. Women will need work attire as leggings aren’t usually work appropriate. There is also the tax burden put on the mother’s income and the cost to outsource the household responsibilities, which the author admits to using.

The author goes on to express a falsehood that I take particular umbrage with.

“All but the wealthiest mothers face what I’ve come to think of as the Cinderella paradox. Of course, Cinderella can go the ball, just as soon as she’s finished her chores.”

That is an outright lie. There are millions of families around the world that are making do on modest incomes. We are a family of five and only my husband works outside the home. We are not rich.  We are in the middle class and there are millions of households like mine in the United States. In fact, data shows that the majority of mothers with non-school age children are staying home or working part-time in order to be present in the home. We are happy to perform the tasks she deems domestic drudgery and we don’t harbor resentment towards our partners or the state for not sending us a physical paycheck for it. 

Given that the author accepts the falsehood that a single income household can’t survive unless you are ultra-wealthy, where does she presume this “form of universal basic caretaker’s income to support the work mothers do at home” will come from? It will come from our husbands’ pay checks. It will come from higher taxation, syphoned from mostly men’s salaries, funneled through the government where a bureaucrat then takes their cut, and then rebated back to the mothers. We are then expected to be grateful for this theft. 

So, while simultaneously taking the position that single income survival is not possible, she wants to take more from said income to redistribute wealth. Brilliant plan.

The author encourages women to take a bold stance and say “From now on, they have to pay us, because as women we do not guarantee anything any longer.” To which I respond, “You first honey.”

If she wants to live in filth and stick it to the patriarchy just for the smug satisfaction of not washing a dish, go right ahead. But the rest of us take pride in keeping a home, preserving our partner’s hard-earned income, and teaching our children valuable life skills in the meantime.

For the young women out there reading this tripe in the Times, avoid the advice of those with seething, bitter antipathy for domesticity. Managing your home and taking care of your children are worthy and respected endeavors. Your value and power do not come from a cubicle. After all, the hand that rocks the cradle is the one that rules the world. 

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2 thoughts on “No, Mothers Should Not Be Compensated For Housework

  1. I had this argument multiple times with my now ex wife. I tried to explain it to her and ask why I was not compensated for changing diapers, mowing, oil changes, repairs and still had to work. To no effect. I finally just said if you don’t like it there is the door. I eventually used it myself and never regretted that decision. Later to her credit she said, “That things were not quite they way she thought they were”. Sadly, she still seems to me a somewhat unhappy and unfulfilled person. Of course her alcoholism, started after we were married, and other issues do not help.

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