The Value of a “Woman’s” Work

I’ve had some occasional self-esteem issues with giving up my career and staying home to be a full-time mom and housewife. And how could I not? I worked with Nobel Prize winning Economists! I was in charge of coordinating a major portion an entire B.A. Degree Granting Program! I was thinking deep thoughts and making a visible impact in people’s lives! I had people who would actually do something when I asked them to do it! The first time even!

Now I’m wiping up drool and cleaning poopy butts.

I was deep into a stupor pondering the meaning of “regret” when I started to rethink this. I’m still doing work that is making a visible impact on people’s lives. And the impact is probably more important than what I was doing before.  After all, I’m creating two adults that will go out into the world and either make it better or worse.  I want them to make it better so I, with the help of Mark, am responsible for teaching them what “better” means.  I need to give them the tools necessary.  The ripple effect will be much great and much deeper than making sure a paper is copy edited in time to be published in the American Economic Review.  It’s the difference between dropping a huge boulder into a lake or tossing in a handful of pebbles. releases an annual report on what the work of average the stay-at-home-mom (SAHM or to be totally fair SAHParent) is worth. They surveyed more than 28,000 mothers and determined that their theoretical salary would be $117,867. And, yes, this is the 2010 survey.

Even John Lennon quit working to raise his son Sean. He, one of the Beatles and an undisputed Rock God, quit recording, touring, and actively raking in millions of dollars a year to just stay at home and raise his son.  If you were to watch the John Lennon: NYC episode of the PBS series American Masters (  he called being a househusband one of the best things he’d ever done and he loved every minute of it.

There may be a day when I rejoin the traditional workforce.  On the other hand, that day may never come.  I may continue to thrive in the non-traditional workforce.   So far, my quilting has been taking up most of my time and fulfilling my need to have something that is “mine.”  I’ve been selling quilts and getting commissions that help cover the cost of my materials and ensure my house isn’t over-run with quilts and other sewn goods.

In the meantime, I will continue to raise my children and fulfill a valuable social need.

4 responses to “The Value of a “Woman’s” Work”

  1. You write so well and express what we ALL are struggling with–I’ve reposted on Facebook!


  2. Yes, Mindy! What you do is so valuable and important and, I’ve seen you do it so very well!
    Those two little boys are “the cat’s meow” because you and Mark are such loving parents.


  3. Mindy,
    One of your neighbor’s voice students pointed me to your blog because of you reference to working with Nobel economists- I’m an economist looking for a better job, and she thought that we might be able to speak about that. My email is if you want to chat; congratulations on your success with the quilts and everything else in the meantime.


    1. Hi David, My only advice is to research and write a really good paper and go on the job market this year at the AEA meetings. I think it is in San Diego this year. The job listings come out in the AER in October. I know of students that have applied for over 250 jobs at a time and ended up with 25 interviews at the market. Then with 4 flyouts. The market it tough this year and has been for the past few years, especially in the academic world. Good Luck!


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