They are teachers, nurses, caretakers, housekeepers, operations managers, nutritionists, and entertainers all rolled into one. I’m talking about stay-at-home parents, the moms and dads working one of the toughest jobs on earth. And they’re not getting paid for it.
According to a survey conducted by Salary.com, stay-at-home parents not only deserve to get paid, they should be making over $162,000 per year. Researchers say that’s the median annual salary a stay-at-home mom or dad should earn when taking into consideration the wide variety of tasks they’re responsible for on a daily basis.
Most Americans, according to The New York Times, believe a child should have at least one parent at home. And most of the Democratic candidates running for president agree we should be paying stay-at-home parents. So, why aren’t we?
“The question is: What do we mean by work?” candidate Andrew Yang said on The Daily. “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.”
Six of the Democratic senators running for president support the idea of giving stay-at-home parents a monthly payment to, at the very least, cover their caregiving needs. Those senators are Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.
All of those senators are co-sponsors of Bennet’s American Family Act of 2019, which would send $300 a month to stay-at-home parents for each child up to age five. Parents of children between the ages of six and 16 would get $250 for each child.
“Caregiving is the most meaningful work a parent can do, but for some reason, we’ve made it harder and harder on families,” Bennet said.
Booker and Julian Castro have proposed expanding the earned-income tax credit to include at-home caregivers. And Warren and Sanders want a Social Security credit for people who leave a job in order to stay home with their children.
Most of the Democratic candidates have proposed some sort of subsidized childcare for stay-at-home parents. The New York Times says these candidates are not only acknowledging that children need care and that families are taking “a financial hit” to provide that care, but also that staying home with a child is often not a choice at all.
“If parents’ jobs are too inflexible to accommodate children’s needs,” says The Times, “or pay too little to afford childcare, taking care of their child has to come first.”