Each Mother’s Day, Salary.com releases figures on what a mom is worth, the salary mothers working outside the home and within should make based on the duties she performs. Esteemed outlets from Forbes to Working Mother magazine tout the results, highlighting the ultimately priceless job mothers perform.
I think a similar study should be done on what a grandmother is worth, released each Grandparent’s Day. With the 2012 salary figured for stay-at-home moms being $112,962, stay-at home grandmas should easily come in with at least half that again. Say, something nearing the $200,000 range.
Pish, some might say. One doesn't get paid for keeping the rocking chair rocking, the cookies baking, the knitting needles clicking.
Which is exactly why such a survey is needed: to highlight the myriad roles grandmothers fill, duties many non-grandmas don’t realize go into the position.Grandmothers are mothers supersized. Sure, carpool and teaching duties are trimmed (though remaining, only now for the grandkids), but additional roles have been assigned. We’re still Mom—a position made ever more challenging as we mother adults, whom we can’t send to their rooms or restrict from their friends. Then we’re so much more. We care not only for ourselves, our partners, our homes, but as advanced members of the sandwich generation, we now also care for three additional generations—our parents, our children, and our children’s children.
Those roles beyond “Mom” add significantly to the “Grandma” pay stub. Consider annual pay for roles performed in caring for our parents—personal assistant, personal shopper, dietician, activity director, chauffeur. Caregiving for our adult children require us to be parenting advisor, family historian, family counselor, culinary instructor. Caring for the grandkids? For starters, we’re camp director, photographer, nanny, party planner. Sometimes we even serve as magician and clown.
Then there’s the overtime consideration. Many not-yet-retired grandmas do it all in addition to working an outside job. Let’s not forget holiday pay, either, for holidays are when grandmas go the extra mile, put in extra hours creating extra-memorable moments.
Which leads me to amend the $200,000 or so salary mentioned above. I’m not going out on a limb to say adding the grandma duties to that $112,962 salary for stay-at-home moms—or the $66,979 for working moms, plus their regular paycheck—would no doubt result in a staggering amount no one could ever pay. Far above the $200,000, for sure.
Yet ultimately, the amount doesn’t matter. We grandmothers (usually) relish our multiple roles. I can’t imagine a single grandma who would want to get paid for all that she does.
That said, though, I can’t imagine a single grandma who wouldn’t be delighted every Grandparent’s Day to see Forbes and other publications celebrating grandmothers and our worth—not only to our families, but to the rest of the country, as well.
Lisa Carpenter is a mother, grandmother and writer of the blog Grandma's Briefs. You can read more of her musings here.
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