Should Stay at Home Parents Be Paid?

Molly Jamen, Staff Writer

One in five US parents are stay-at-home parents. That means that at least 20% of the parents in America are at home during the day, doing miscellaneous tasks to take care of children and the home, and in return are not paid. Being a stay at home parent is very common in the United States and some think that those parents should be rewarded for their hard work, but in reality, stay at home parents should not be paid. 

The primary reason that stay at home parents should not be paid is that there is nobody to pay them for the work that is being done. In an article titled Should Stay-at-Home Parents Get Wages for Housework? by Samantha Eyler, she states “Who pays you to do it? For most families, whatever a parent’s preferences, whatever the benefits, staying at home is only an option where there are (at least) two partners and one can support the other — or effectively pay their partner a wage for their domestic work.” The government and spouses are the only two ways that stay-at-home parents could possibly be paid, and neither option is helping the economy, or the amount of money that families are bringing home each week.

Those who believe that stay at home parents should be paid tend to base their arguments off their own personal lives. In an article titled Stay-at-Home Parents Work Hard. Should They be Paid?, Claire Cain Miller shares 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s side of the argument. “‘I know my wife is working harder than I am, and I’m running for president. And right now, the market values her work at zero. So we have to think bigger about what we mean by work and value,’” said Yang. According to Yang, stay at home parents are not valued as much as they should be and paying them would make up for the hard work they put into keeping things running at home. 

Although stay at home parents make lots of sacrifices to make sure that things are in order at the house, and to nurture children, there is no proper way to measure their work. There is not a clear way to determine how much each stay at home parent should get paid, and in this case we would surely want fair pay for something such as being a stay at home parent. Jill King, daughter of a stay-at-home Mom also questions how each parent’s work would be measured. “It is easy for one parent to say they are a stay-at-home parent who gets a lot of work done throughout the day but who is to say that they actually stay true to their word instead of sitting around doing nothing the whole day,” said King. 

Meg Jamen, a mom to 3 kids who was a stay-at-home and work from home mom for 11 years, thinks that stay-at-home parents should not be paid for many reasons. “The whole point of having a family is so that you have people that you love and want to spend time with after a hard day at work. Staying at home to take care of family shouldn’t have to be a job,” said Jamen. The responsibility of caring for your children is one that comes with becoming a parent and it shouldn’t be a paid job. 

While most parents would love the opportunity to stay home and take care of their kids all day, if all parents stayed home to get paid, there would be unemployment in other areas of work due to the lack of parents leaving home in order to make money. There are many different things that stay-at-home parents can do to make money while staying home. Some possibilities are blogging, selling baked goods or even offering to watch other families’ kids at your own home while the parents are at work. Obviously there are other options and ways to get paid while staying at home with the kids, but the work that parents do to maintain the house and lives of their children should not be rewarded with money.