First it was the boat zooming around the bathtub. Now it's EVERY toy. At first we thought it was just coincidence, or that he was just copying us, but he's very consistent. This is the sound of motion. How funny!
As requested, we're posting a few pictures from Father's day. Mike had requested a trip to the Chicago Botanic Gardens, so we packed a picnic lunch and joined up with Grandpa Lloyd and Linda, Grandma Shirley, Sara G., and neighbors John, Jennifer, and baby Justin. The weather guessers had been calling for rain all afternoon, but we didn't see a single drop. What a great way to celebrate our dad!
Check out the matching explorer hats on Grandpa and Aaron. :-)
Some of the beautiful flowers we saw (and smelled!)
I've been thinking a lot about my last post, and when I reread it this morning, I realize that in some ways, I got it all wrong. I reduced being a stay-at-home-mom to dollars and cents and a checklist of chores. But I neglected the most important aspect of being a full-time mother. Here's my #1 task, at the core of why I'm home in the first place:
I'm doing more than just feeding, cleaning, laundering, and chauffeuring. I'm shaping a human being. If I chose to drop Aaron off at day care so I could go get a paycheck, I'd be missing out on the chance to be the most influential person in his life. Others might be able to complete certain tasks better than I can (this is most true in the cleaning department! :-) but no one can love Aaron the way I can. Or impart a set a values to him the way I can. Or give him a sense of worth the way I can. I could focus on having a super clean house, cooking gourmet meals, and having a perfectly decorated home, but I'd much rather focus on decorating Aaron's heart. If you need to put a job title on it, then let's just say I'm investing in future human capital.
Many moms, I know, feel that they don't have a choice to work. I'm not trying to make them feel guilty here, but I don't think that raising your children full time is a luxury. A privilege, yes, but not a luxury. We've chosen to sacrifice a lot of things in order to make this work. It sometimes means going without, waiting until later, and making do with what we have. There are lots of things Mike and I would love to be doing with our lives, but we've been entrusted with this new little life, and God is expecting us to take good care of him. Not just keep him clean. Not just dress him well. Not just feed him healthy food. It's my job to shape his soul, and that's the real value of mothering.
Funny that I'm writing about mothering on Father's day, but you can't have one without the other, can you? And I'm feeling like motherhood has fallen on tough times. So if you'll excuse me while I get on my soap box...
I'm hearing some disturbing murmurings about how a woman ought to contribute financially to her family. How she can't possibly be fulfilled personally or professionally if she doesn't get out there and experience the real world. Since I'm new to being a full-time mom, I thought I'd do a little research about my market value...
Stay-at-home mothers wear many hats. They're the family CEO, the day care provider, accountant, chauffeur, counselor, chef, nurse, laundress, entertainer, personal stylist, and educator. Based on a 90-hour work week, Salary.com has estimated that a fair wage for the typical stay-at-home mom would be well over $90,000 for executing all of her daily tasks. Factor in overtime, and the appropriate salary takes a leap of around $25,000. Mom jobs
Job title, Annual salary Child Day Care Worker $20,259 Teacher $44,824 Taxi Driver $27,346 Facilities Manager $73,239 Short-order Cook $27,477 Laundry Attendant $17,917 Janitor $22,440 Counselor $27,638 CEO $545,268 Administrative Assistant III $37,143 Accounting Clerk III $34,842 Licensed Practical Nurse $38,111 Plumber I $33,155 Automotive Mechanic I $30,725 Cake Decorator $21,340 Jobs listed in order from largest to smallest component of a stay-at-home mom's job. All salaries are national averages. Source: Salary.com, 2004. <;" The estimate composite salary calculated by Salary.com's team of compensation experts for a stay-at-home mom is based on a 90-hour work week, consisting of six 14-hour days and one 6-hour day. Job titles, responsibilities, and qualifications were considered and weighed on a scale of importance, frequency, and average time spent on tasks per day. Hourly rates of pay corresponding to the 15 job titles in the above table were applied to the 90-hour model and multiplied by 52 weeks a year to determine an annual salary. It assumes the mother has two children of school age.
And Another article from Fox News: Study: Stay-at-Home Mom Worth Nearly $117,000 a Year Thursday, May 08, 2008
BOSTON — 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. That's according to a pre-Mother's Day study released Thursday by Salary.com, a Waltham, Mass.-based firm that studies workplace compensation. 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. 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.
One stay-at-home mom said the six-figure salary sounds a little low. "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."
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. Working moms reported an average 54.6 hour "mom work week" besides the hours they spent at paying jobs.
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."
While I might not be bringing home any bacon (maybe a little bacon with our photography business, but trust me, it's very little), I sure am adding value to our family. The truth is that I am dependent on my husband's income to pay our bills. There is no way I could be home if he didn't get up every morning and put on a shirt and tie and drive to work in rush hour traffic and sit at his desk all day, only to face another hour of traffic on his ride home. But he's also dependent on me - to take care of our home and tend to our son. He recognizes my value, and knows that I'm not sitting on the couch all day watching soap operas and eating chocolates. And no matter what some may think, no SAHM is sitting on the couch watching TV all day. It's just not possible. I've never seen dirty clothes walk themselves to the washing machine or food jump out of the refrigerator and cook itself. No dish has ever lowered itself into a sink of hot water. And on and on and on...
So this Father's day, I'm thankful to all you dads who recognize that the work your wife does at home is just that - WORK. And to all you mothers who are working this incredibly important job, hats off to you!
We've been thinking a lot at our house about ways we can minimize our negative impact on the environment - how to shrink our carbon footprint, for those who know the lingo. :-) We've had new energy efficient windows put into the house, and are looking forward to using less natural gas and electricity to keep the temperature comfy. We are now avid composters, turning our egg shells, banana peels, dryer lint, and yard clippings into rich fertilizer for the garden. I'm even making all of Aaron's baby food at home, reducing packaging consumption, energy waste, and greenhouse gas emissions. Our most recent foray into environmental stewardship has turned Aaron green -- at least his rear end. :-)
Yup. We're taking the plunge and transitioning to cloth diapers. Our friends the Scaccos convinced us that it's pretty easy with the new and improved bumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers. I love that this diaper is a one-size-fits-all, from newborn to toddler, which makes the initial investment a little easier to swallow. We only have six for now, but will need to add to our collection if we're going to use them exclusively. And the Scaccos are right - it is pretty easy!
We're curious to hear about ways that your family is working to minimize waste. Any creative ideas out there?