What is your wife worth?

If a stay-at-home mom could be compensated in dollars rather than personal satisfaction and unconditional love, she’d rake in a nifty sum of nearly $117,000 a year.

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That’s according to a study released in May 2008 by Salary.com, a Waltham, Mass.-based firm that studies workplace compensation.

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The eighth annual survey calculated a mom’s market value by studying pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mom performs, ranging from housekeeper and day care center teacher to van driver, psychologist and chief executive officer.

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This year, the annual salary for a stay-at-home mom would be $116,805, while a working mom who also juggles an outside job would get $68,405 for her motherly duties.

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One stay-at-home mom said the six-figure salary sounds a little low.

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“I think a lot of people think we sit and home and have a lot of fun and don’t do a lot of work,” said Samantha Russell, a Fremont, N.H., mother who left her job as pastry chef to raise two boys, ages 2 and 4. “But they should try cleaning their house with little kids running around and messing it up right after them.”

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The biggest driver of a mom’s theoretical salary is the amount of overtime pay she’d receive for working more than 40 hours a week. The 18,000 moms surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours — meaning they’d be spending more than half their working hours on overtime.

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Working moms reported an average 54.6 hour “mom work week” besides the hours they spent at paying jobs.

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Russell agreed her job as a stay-at-home mom is more than full-time. But she said her “job” brings intangible benefits she wouldn’t enjoy in the workplace.

“The rewards aren’t monetary, but it’s a reward knowing that they’re safe and happy,” Russell said of her sons. “It’s worth it all.”


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