Does your wife ever cook dinner? Prepare lunch? Prepare lunch beforehand for you to take with you to work? A personal chef, preparing 2 servings of 5 meals can run from $400 and up. So assuming your Stay-At-Home wife prepares even a few meals a week, you’re looking at around $240 at least per week. That’s $12,480 a year. And that’s excluding any hosting, any extra mouths to feed, or extra meals to cook or extra sides and entrees for potlucks and holiday parties.
So far we’re looking at a grand total of $67,860! Remember, we’re working with extremely conservative averages here. That’s daily care for your child that the average full-time nanny would provide. That’s twice-a-week cleaning of your home by a maid service that gets the place presentable. That’s three meals prepared a week of only two servings. These numbers, for the most part, still fall embarrassingly short of all the things that are actually accomplished each and every week. And that’s only taking into account 3 services!
If your wife takes care of your budgeting, finances, and paying of bills, then add on $15 an hour for the average rate of a financial assistant. If you’re in the corporate world and your wife plays any kind of role in professional interactions at business dinners, then add on $75 an hour for the average rate of a PR assistant. And if you don’t think your wife’s demeanor or social interactions affect your image and influence in the workplace, then you’re just flat out an ignoramus. If your wife does the majority of the laundry, then you’ll need to add at least a fee of $25 a week for the bare minimum washer/dryer personal service.
Let’s average 5 hours a week on financial services, 4 hours per business dinner (about 3 a year), and a weekly laundry service. Add that onto our very conservative estimates for childcare, house cleaning, and shopping, and that’s an annual salary of $73,960. Looking objectively at an almost insultingly conservative average of the services rendered, I cannot afford my wife.
And let’s remember, there’s no sick leave with childcare, there’s no paid time off, there’s no 401(k). All of the incentives that someone who makes over 70K a year would normally enjoy are not part of this deal. All of the worker appreciations, merit bonuses, and recognition that comes with being a part of an office are out too.
My wife sometimes feels patronized when I ask her permission to buy something for myself. She feels like it’s my money and my name on the paycheck so I shouldn’t have to ask permission to get myself something every once in a while. The truth is, I’m ashamed of any time I’ve ever made her feel guilty or humored when she’s purchased something for herself. I’m ashamed that she has ever felt like she doesn’t have just as much right to our income as I do. The fact of the matter is that our income doesn’t even come close to covering what she does for our family. I would have to make over 100K to even begin to be able to cover my living expenses as well as employ my wife as a Stay-At-Home Mom!
In short, I can’t afford for my wife to stay at home. And I’ve tragically failed to show my wife the appreciation that she deserves. She loves me, loves our son, and loves our family, so obviously she isn’t doing any of those things for a paycheck or even for recognition. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to know that as a Stay-At-Home Mom her appraised salary is nearly double my actual income. So in a very weird way, this is my way of saying how much I value my wife as the mother of my child and the one who always has my back no matter what. You are more precious than rubies. And I can’t afford you.
(All rates reflect actual rates of real businesses offering these services)