Paying respect to Mom could be a lot more expensive than you think

Mothers' 'salaries' would top $130,000

Linda Kiernan is a nurse, baby sitter, chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, therapist and CEO all in one.

She’s a stay-at-home mom, and if she drew a salary for her around-the-clock job, she would collect $131,500 a year, according to

“Is that with or without overtime?” asked Kiernan, a Lawrence mother of three.

Working moms also would collect more — to the tune of $88,000 on top of current earnings, the online service said. But this Mother’s Day, honorees say their work brings rewards that can’t be counted, returns greater than cash.

“Staying home with my kids is worth more than ($131,500),” said Amy McFaul, a stay-at-home mom.

If a mom, whose resume includes all of the above, were to ask a recruiter to help her find a new job, she would be told she’s overqualified, said Terri Engle, a recruiter with Grafton Staffing Cos. in Overland Park.

“They would be told … ‘You’re not going to be able to find a job that would pay you what you’re worth,'” Engle said. “I can’t say that’s strictly for stay-at-home moms. I’d say it’s for all moms in general.”


Being a mom isn’t easy. There are no vacations. No sick days.

For many stay-at-home moms, of course, there are some perks.

No “glass ceilings” to bump into. No ladders to climb.

“I am my own boss,” Kiernan said.

But there’s not much thumb-twiddling, either.

Lucy Harris, a stay-at-home mom, wakes before 6 a.m. She does laundry, exercises, tends to the pets and finishes more housework. This is before she wakes up her children.

In the early-morning hours, Kiernan brews the coffee, flips the pancakes and packs lunches. As she hustles through the house, she does laundry and cleans.

Once the kids are at school, stay-at-home moms are there to answer the phone when teachers or kids call.

Harris said her son has been known to call her from school to ask whether she can come help the school.

“He just knows that he can call me at the drop of a hat and I’ll do it,” she said.

Then there are after-school activities. Soccer games. Cub scouts. Karate. Marching band practice. Moms have to help juggle their children’s activities. This requires organization — without the aid of a personal assistant.

“You have to be a good prioritizer and list maker and be able to use your time wisely,” Kiernan said.

Harris keeps a planner.

“I just cram everything into it,” she said. “There are times that there’s so much going on, I don’t write it down any more.”

Single paycheck

Moms often look after their own parents or in-laws. Some help at church or volunteer.

It’s enough activity to make Kiernan miss her old job at times.

“At least you can sit down,” she said.

Her advice for all moms: “You have to make time for yourself, or else you’ll go insane.”

But a mother’s work does pay off.

Kiernan’s 10-year-old daughter, Mikkayla Kunkle, said her mom ranked very high on the “top mom” list along with a couple of other cool moms she knows. What makes her so golden?

For starters, “she let my sister buy her own rabbit with her own money,” Mikkayla said. “Most moms probably wouldn’t let you do that.”

Some stay-at-home moms do small jobs on the side. The lack of a second major paycheck means many families with stay-at-home moms don’t get every material thing they want. That’s OK by them.

“You’re not going to be living in a luxurious house,” Kiernan said. “It’s what goes on inside this house that makes it a home. I think we have a pretty good one here.”