Last Updated May 9, 2011 10:06 AM EDT
There are a few problems with this statistic, however. For starters, most working mothers do not spend more than $50,000 replacing their services while they are on the job, which is what the difference between these two figures suggests.
But beyond that, Salary.com's survey is based on mothers' estimation of how much time they spend on certain tasks. And the reality, as time use researchers well know, is that people lie. A lot.
For instance, according to Salary.com, the average stay-at-home mom spends:
- 6.6 hours per week doing laundry,
- 7.8 doing janitorial services and
- 15.4 hours per week doing housekeeping.
Why These Numbers Are Bogus
But if you look at the American Time Use Survey, conducted annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics based on time diaries rather than estimates, you'll see these numbers are off.
According to the BLS, married moms who are not in the workforce, and have kids under age 6, spend 1.61 hours per day on housework and 0.11 on lawn and garden care (so 1.72 hours per day on housekeeping). They spend 1.41 hours on food prep and 0.20 on grocery shopping (1.61 on food chores). If you multiply all these by 7, you'd get a weekly total of :
- 12.04 on housework and
- 11.27 on grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up after meals.
I understand why Salary.com wants as high a number as possible. Mother's Day is supposed to be about recognizing how hard moms work. And we do. But making it sound harder and more laborious than it is makes people think that it's impossible to combine motherhood with a career and a personal life -- because when will those 29.8 hours of housekeeping get done? There are better ways to honor mothers than making it sound like a job for martyrs.
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