Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wilma vs. Fred: the paycheck wars

It must have been a cold and gloomy day because instead of kicking the kids outside to mess up the yard, they were inside messing up the house. It must have been the afternoon too, because my entertainment/educational energy had worn out and I think my exact words were, “will you little people just sit down and watch some TV? Please?”
I had things to do. As a stay-at-home mom, there is dinner to cook, clothes to wash, crusty rice to Dustbuster off the kitchen table. I don’t need to write out the entire list—any mom can relate. So in my mind, there are times in my day that the TV Babysitter becomes a very legitimate tool, for one low monthly fee.
Today’s sitter: The Flintstones, a good, wholesome and classic cartoon. But in this episode, the modern stone age family was a bit unstable because Wilma and Fred were arguing about who had it more difficult – the stay-at-home mom raising young Pebbles, or the working dad, operating machinery at the quarry. It goes without saying that I had to drop my Dustbuster to see how this episode, written in the early 1960’s, was going to turn out.
I found the beginning quite pleasing, when the bird-alarm went off and Fred grumbled in his sleep, “wake me up when breakfast is ready.” Wilma’s response was something along the lines of “whaaatever.” And so their day began.
Wilma handed Fred a list of the things she normally does, carved on a piece of stone that must have weighed 14 tons. He had to tend to Pebbles, clean the house, run errands, answer the phones, make dinner, and so on. Wilma simply had to go to work and teach herself how to maneuver a dragline.
As the show went on, Fred found himself in quite a quandary and Wilma kept dropping giant pieces of limestone too near to Mr. Slate, Fred’s boss. I won’t spoil the ending for all of you TV lovers, but as most cartoons go, all was happy in the end. They both appreciated the work that the other person does, and they vowed to never take it for granted again. (I suppose Mr. Slate was pretty happy about this, too.)
After the credits rolled I stood there thinking about how the episode would have played out if instead of Fred and Wilma, it was my husband and I. Could we handle it? Could I do his job? Could he do mine? (Or rather, could he stomach the amount of coffee I need to drink to get through my day?)
Instantly I knew I could not do his job. I could do it, but not well. I would probably have taken out Mr. Slate long before the lunch whistle blew. But could he handle mine? Most likely yes, but maybe not on an on-going basis. Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t rocket science, but it takes some serious skills, perseverance, patience, and the aforementioned coffee-induced energy.
I remember a few years back that someone calculated what a mom’s salary would be should her jobs and tasks actually be separated and reviewed. It was an enormous amount, enough to hire a butler, chauffeur, and chef. But then we’d all be out of a job, right?
A quick search on the Internet took me to a site whose fabulous tag line is, “What is your mom worth?” It is an online calculator for moms to personalize a paycheck.
“What fun!” I thought, and began inputting my number of children, geographic location, and numbers of hours spent weekly on various tasks that include Chief Executive Officer, Nurse, and Plumber, but surprisingly not Cartoon Viewer.
My paycheck? A bit above average at $127,524. Before taxes, of course, but I’d bet with that kind of money Wilma could have bought Fred the entire bowling alley.

Calculate your own mom’s salary at www.mom.salary.com.

1 comments:

Samantha Gianulis said...

I like the music you chose. I said to myself, while mouthing the lyrics, "I know that song!" This was a fab blog. Do one on Scooby!
Love,
Your Sam

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