We hear it all the time from our friends and see it on social media. Women are frazzled and overwhelmed by everything they are expected to do. Whether you stay home full time with your children, or work outside of the home, we know your days and nights are filled with endless tasks. The work you do to care for your families is important and valuable, but often times that work gets overlooked.
There’s a business adage attributed to Peter Drucker, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” We think that same adage rings true for the countless tasks women do everyday. Employees outside of the home are rewarded with a regular paycheck, feedback from bosses and annual reviews. It’s true that moms are rewarded with sloppy kisses and love drawings and there is no doubt that those are priceless.
We love those precious moments too, but as moms we also know that those moments can be few and far between. Sometimes it takes more to get through the exhausting workload of caregiving. When your nose is to the grindstone, it can be hard to look up and appreciate just how much your work matters. If you’re anything like us, you fall into you bed exhausted at the end of the day and think, “What on earth did I actually DO today? I’m bone tired, but it feels like I barely moved forward?”
We know. We’ve been there. In fact, it was the support that Aileen and I have provided to one another over the years that ignited the idea of creating an app to help us keep track of this important work. For years, we’ve been texting back and forth with one another. “Check out this massive pile of laundry I have to fold.” “My kitchen is f#$%ing disaster.” 30 minutes later, a photo of a sparkling clean kitchen, “Take that bitches!!!” “Wanna see my to do list? It’ll make you puke.”
This recognition helped us so much over the years and it got us thinking. Geez, how much work DO we do? And how much of that work is played out in each and every household across the US? Across the globe? Is anyone keeping track of all of this goodness? What would happen to the global economy if it all stopped?!
It turns out that there are some fascinating studies about this work. Salary.com does an annual mom salary survey and the 2018 numbers came in at a whopping $162,581 per year for all of the uncompensated work done by mothers. This included performing tasks like Executive Housekeeper, Accountant, Athletic Director, Event Planner and so many more. Does that job description ring a bell?
It’s not just a cliché to say that the children are our future. As Ann Crittenden says in The Price of Motherhood,
“If human abilities are the ultimate fount of economic progress, as many economists now agree, and if those abilities are nurtured (or stunted) in the early years, then mothers and other caregivers of the young are the most important producers in the economy. They do have, literally, the most important job in the world.”
So, it’s an interesting exercise to speculate on the six figure salaries we could be raking in for our incredibly important work. But in the meantime, it would be lovely to work toward recognition that the work we do lays the foundation for every other aspect of our society.
What if there was a place you could go to keep track of all those tasks you perform everyday? To take note of the big and small things that make our family’s lives run smoothly, that keep people fed and clothed and healthy and loved. To take a moment to check in on how it all makes you feel; frustrated, grateful, proud, accomplished, exhausted?
Maybe over time you could see patterns, take stock of that work, re-evaluate the way you spend your time, open conversations about sharing it more equitably, or use that information to find a path toward getting paid for some of your work. We think knowledge is power and we want you to know more. And just think about the impact we could make if we took all of that collective information and studied it?!
One of our most important jobs as mothers is to strive toward making things better for children. Until we value this work we cannot make things better for future caregivers, both men and women alike. Let’s start by giving ourselves the recognition we deserve. Meet Tend, the journaling app for tracking the work we do as caregivers.