When I became a stay-at-home mom, I considered it landing the job of my dreams. Sure, the money wasn't there, overtime is expected and maternity leave was off the table. But, the way I saw it, the perks are beyond compare.
Some two years and two kids into this role, I stand by that. Having the ability to stay at home with my children is an honor and privilege that I hope to never take for granted. (Even if I'm not "enjoying every second" of it.)
Only now, I see one thing differently: Stay-at-home moms deserve benefits, too.
For starters, mandatory breaks.
Surveys (and personal experience) have shown that moms log some 98 hours per week on the job. I'm not expecting that to go into compliance with labor laws, but an occasional opportunity to punch out would be good.
I'll give plenty of credit where it's due here to my partner—who is the first to encourage me to plan a night out with my girlfriends or hold down the fort while I get out for a few hours without worrying about the snack supplies or the proximity of the nearest potty. (Well, except for when I was pregnant again.) And those date nights are such wonderful, essential reminders that we're so much more than co-workers.
Then there's the matter of vacation time.
As a stay-at-home mom of young kids, the weekdays have a way of blending into the weekends and the only difference in the seasons is how much I have to bundle up the kids. So sometimes a mama just needs a change of scenery.
Unlike with most jobs, there will typically be an element of "bringing the work with you," in the form of those kiddos who tag along on the trips. But even if it isn't a true break from motherhood, having the chance to change up the environment for a few days every so often does well for all of our souls.
Also, how about providing dinner if I work past a certain time?
Typically, I love making dinner. (It's always been one of "my things.") But my picky eaters prefer to eat their kid-friendly meals around 5 pm and it's usually just a bit too much for me to prepare another adult version without an extra set of hands on deck.
So if I'm doing to solo-parenting past the point of bedtime, I think it's a reasonable ask for someone else to be in charge of dinner—even if it's carry-out from our favorite place.
And let's talk health care.
Thanks to my partner's job, health care is technically covered for our family. But there's so much more to this than our physicals and the kids' pediatricians appointments. As part of my ideal benefits package, I would like a bit more assistance in carving out time for my own exercise. Whether this is through a membership to a gym with childcare or some early morning coverage so I can practice some self-care before turning my attention to kid-care, I can honestly say this would make a big, positive difference.
Surveys have shown that if stay-at-home moms were compensated for their work, it would add up to about $143,000 per year. As nice as that would be on top of the joys I already get to experience as a mama who gets to stay home with her kids, I'm not going to hold my breath for that paycheck.
I do, however, think these "benefits" are reasonable asks—that wouldn't only benefit us stay-at-home moms, but everyone in the family.
So when can I get that appointment with the manager?