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No one decides to be a stay-at-home mom for the paycheck—but if we were to earn one, it would put us in league with some CEOs. Although it doesn't do much for the bank account, a survey that calculated what the average salary would be for a stay-at-home mom is mighty validating. (Remember this next time anyone asks what you do all day.)


According to the latest available data from Salary.com, stay-at-home moms should earn upwards of $162,581 per year when you tally up 96 hours of work per week.

That's up $5,000 from last year's calculations.

The total was determined after polling thousands of mamas on the tasks they devote time to—including everything from housekeeping to being an unofficial psychologist to, yes, being a family CEO.

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And it's not just the regular stuff—like laundry and lawn mowing—that modern mamas are working hard at. It probably comes as no surprise that we're diversifying our job responsibilities in some pretty impressive ways.

As another survey from the website Insure.com found, moms say the time they devote to being "party planners" rose by 25% in the past year. (This could have a little something to do with all those ideas on Pinterest that feel so impossible to pass up... Doesn't every kid need an end of the school year party?)

The other most time-consuming gigs according to Insure.com include cooking (14 hours per week), driving (9 hours), childcare (40 hours) and those "miscellaneous" tasks that add up to 40 more hours.

Because every mama's workload varies, Salary.com also offers a way to plug in your own data to calculate what your SAHM paycheck would be based on how much time you spend as a de facto nutritionist, administrative assistant, academic advisor, etc.

Of course, the true payoff of motherhood is in watching our children grow, learn and laugh—experiences that are priceless. Still, it is nice to have this data to recall on those days when it seems like you got "nothing" done.

[This post was originally published May 08, 2018. It was updated to reflect new numbers on January 15, 2019.]

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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