DEAR ABBY: I need your help with something. My 16-year-old grandson seems to think that all his mother does is stay at home. He conveniently "forgets" that she is a housekeeper, gardener, cook, teacher, nurse, driver and mediator. Could you please print a breakdown of what a stay-at-home wife should be paid? I would love to have a list so I can pass the "bill" on to him. -- VIVIAN IN COLONIAL BEACH, VA.
DEAR VIVIAN: According to the Census Bureau figures for 2004 -- which are the most recent -- there are 36.7 million mothers of minor children in the United States. About one-third of them, 10.8 million, are stay-at-home moms.
According to an article penned by Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, in its May 11, 2006, edition, "Salary.com compensation experts estimate that stay-at-home moms work an average of 91.6 hours a week." That's more than double the number of hours the average office worker puts in. He went on to say, "That should be worth $134,121 annually."
He quoted the compensation analysts as figuring the lowest-paying parts of a mother's job are "housekeeper, laundry machine operator and janitor. Higher-paying categories include computer operator, facilities manager, psychologist and CEO." With a 91.6-hour work week, 52 weeks a year, it works out to be $28.16 an hour.
It should go without saying that a mother's love is priceless, so tell that grandson of yours that $28.16 an hour is a real bargain.