You Can’t Outsource Motherhood.

It’s true – you can’t outsource motherhood!

I always giggle at the annual report where they calculate the replacement value of a stay at home mom (or what her annual salary would be.)

Have you looked at it? According to, I should be paid over $112,000 for 2012.

(updated 2014: now provides a custom calculator that allows you to customize your mom salary based on location and number of kids. It even lets you print a “paycheck.”)

That’s nice.

Can someone send me a check?

(This is day 4 of the 31 day series “Finding Joy in Motherhood.“)

If you look at their graphic, they are calculating that value based on paying the hourly rate from a variety of professionals.  It’s everything from a psychologist to a facilities manager to a computer operator. (It also represents a 90+ hour work week, so at least that part is accurate.)

They do a great job of covering the daily to-do list.

Maid service? Check.

Taxi driver? Check.

Amateur nurse and psychologist? Check.

Chef. Check.

Laundry Operator? Yep.

Teacher / Day Care? Covered.

Household Manager (budgets, planning, and schedule logistics). Yep.

If I had an unlimited budget I could probably pay someone to do all that stuff.

But they missed the essence of motherhood.

You know what is missing from their list? Some great job titles.

  • Boo-boo kisser
  • Nightmare Monster killer
  • Dream listener
  • Accountability partner (Did you remember your lunchbox?)
  • First-crush confidant
  • First friend break-up consultant
  • Throw-up catcher (That one isn’t so great, but tell me who you could pay to catch your child’s throw-up at 2am… 2:15am… 2:30am)
  • Chief Prayer Warrior (My personal favorite.)
  • Morning Snuggle Dispenser (OK, maybe THAT one is my favorite)
  • Friday Afternoon Movie and Popcorn Organizer
  • Willing audience for Knock-Knock Joke practice appreciation
  • Bed time tucker-inner.
  • Lead potty trainer (You can’t outsource this – I tried!)

I could go on forever.  But you get the point.

The absolute most important aspects of motherhood have no price tag!

There is no dollar value for LOVE.

Motherhood has value.

you cant outsource motherhood header

It has such a high value that it is impossible to put a dollar figure on.  It is is literally priceless.

Let that soak in.


(and this is a big one)

…when I asked a non-random sampling of women (the friends who had time to talk to me) about where they spend their energies as a mom, they all listed the same stuff.

They listed the endless parade of tasks without end. (Say it with me…) Cooking… cleaning… laundry… diaper changing… homework supervision… taxi service… more cooking… more cleaning… more laundry… balancing an impossible budget.

No wonder we feel so worn out and defeated as moms!

(I include myself in this – I’m just as guilty)

We just listed a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with motherhood!

(OK, maybe it IS related. It’s part of creating a safe environment to nurture our family. It’s important stuff, but it’s thankless.)

(Sadly, most of it is thought of as minimum wage kind of tasks.   Untrue, but it’s not glamorous work!)

We just listed a bunch of stuff we could (if budget allowed) pay someone else to do!

The heart and soul of motherhood is nowhere on a to-do list!

I’ve tried.  It doesn’t work to put “hug my children” on the to-do list. Listing “spontaneously tickle my children” just totally misses the point.

The heart and soul of motherhood (for me) is to love my children as fiercely as I can.  It’s to know those little hearts so well that I can get in their heads and know when they are wandering astray.

It’s to know their character so well that I can immediately know when to take their side against the school versus when to let them suffer the consequences of their ways.

My prayer on a daily basis is for God to change me into the Mom I need to be to help my sons grow into the men that God has called them to be.

That’s a big prayer.  And it is the essence of motherhood for me.

You can’t outsource that.

There is no amount of money in the world that would buy that prayer.

You can’t outsource motherhood.

Take joy in that.

Mom, the stuff you do everyday matters.

It has significance.

It has value.

It is important.

Motherhood Matters.

you can not outsource motherhood

Why is this a big deal and what does it have to do with Joy?

If you look at the list we created for Joy and Happiness, one of the key words is “well-being.”

Well-being and self-worth are related.

You can not find joy if you do not believe that motherhood has value.

You can not find joy if you do not believe that you have value.

Find value.  Find worth.  Find Joy.

So Now What?

Your “joy assignment” today  should be fun.

I want you to think of two things (or more) of things you do as a mom that could NEVER be outsourced.  The boo-boo kissing, monster killing kind of stuff.

I’d love to hear what you come up with.

For more ideas on living with passion and purpose, check out this post titled P IS FOR PASSION.

    You Can't Outsource Motherhood

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. That makes me a bit sad, that those household chores are thought of first. They do take a lot of time, so I understand it. I wonder if part of it is how we label ourselves. If you think of yourself as a housewife or even homemaker, you are putting the tasks of running a house first in some way. I always listed my occupation as “wife and mother.” My husband thought it was funny the first time I put that on a government form, but that is how I think of myself.
    Ginger Kay recently posted..On Distance and Aging ParentsMy Profile

    • I chose to think that the household chores are at the top of the list because they are what we put on the to-do list. Most of us don’t put “be a good mom” on the to do list – we just do it. Motherhood is about a relationship, not about a task list. But it’s easy to get caught up in the stuff we can check off the list.

  2. I love this post and I am really enjoying your series! A good friend told me one time when I was feeling a bit discouraged and made the comment that I thought someone else could probably do a better job at this whole “mother thing” than I was doing that nobody else will ever love your kids more than you do. I think knowing and loving our kids is the most important thing and you certainly can’t put a price tag on THAT.
    Jean recently posted..Keys to a Smooth Sports Practice Night, Part 1My Profile

    • YES! YES YES! The relational aspect of motherhood is the most important part! Your friend is very wise, I’m glad she was there to encourage you.

  3. this reminds me of when I was first laid off and MIL and SIL tried to get me to admit that being a SAHM was worse than a working mom. I told them flatly out that both roles were equally hard, but different and the same. you can’t compare them at all.

    No one could ever pack my son’s lunch just the way he likes. No one could ever hug and hold him just the right way that he needs to know he is loved and protected. No one will ever understand all his facial expressions and tones of voice. No one will ever do his nighttime routine just the way his mommy does.
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    • ALL moms work. You know I don’t “do” the mommy war thing. I’ve worked and left my kids in the care of a professional. I’ve stayed home. I’m now technically a work-at-home mom. It’s all hard work.

      Speaking from that perspective… when mom has to work outside of the home to earn a paycheck, she does outsource some stuff. She typically is outsourcing a little of the cooking / cleaning / educating aspect of her to-do list. But she DOES NOT outsource being a mom. Remember? Motherhood isn’t your to-do list. If I had extra cash laying around, I’d outsource a bit more of that cooking and cleaning thing myself. So why in the world would I judge someone else for doing what I want to do.

      Remember? I tried to outsource potty training. 🙂

      I would question one thing you said… I’m willing to bet that Dino’s DAD can do a great job of loving and protecting his son too. (Dad’s may not get the whole “tone of voice” thing, but they typically ROCK at protecting their family.) The only reason I mention this is that it’s really easy to forget that parenting is a team effort for most of us – we really aren’t alone.

  4. A mom is definitely irreplaceable!
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  5. Tammy Howard says:

    That’s really true. There is no substitute of a mother.

  6. Very sweet post!! You’re on a roll with this 31 day challenge!!
    Roshni recently posted..Co-sleeping part two!!My Profile

  7. “My prayer on a daily basis is for God to change me into the Mom I need to be to help my sons grow into the men that God has called them to be.” Such a challenge and an inspiration!! Thank you for challenging me again.
    Dawn recently posted..Putting It All Out There Today – Please Be KindMy Profile

  8. Aint that the truth?!?! It is so easy for me to get caught up in the to-do lists without appreciating myself for all of the true work of motherhood. Great post!
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  9. Lovely post. A wonderful reminder to me on this Monday morning. A reminder that motherhood has immense value. It is shamefully easy to dismiss the value of motherhood. And I myself am guilty of thinking I would be of more value if I earned a paycheck.

    • Nikki – I’ve struggled with that too. Staying home with kids is hard work! It’s exhausting and endless and (sadly) thankless. It’s too easy to think of ourselves as “just a mom” because we don’t have a job label or earn a paycheck. But staying home IS work. Being a mom has value!

      There are some studies that break down the hidden expenses when a mom goes back to work. Direct costs include higher tax burden, increased transportation costs, and additional wardrobe costs for the mom. Obviously, it can include childcare. But it also includes hidden stuff… the increase in times your family eats out because mom was working. The increased usage of convenience foods. Buying more clothing for everyone because the mom isn’t available to do laundry. Late charges on bills (because we get busy). Additional medical expenses (because we are stressed). And on and on and on.

      The brutal truth of it is that for many women, going back to work won’t bring in a penny more income by the time all those costs are accounted for. Just some food for thought.

      Nikki, YOU HAVE VALUE as a person. Your value isn’t tied to a job. It isn’t tied to a role as wife or mother. It belongs to you just because God loves you. Nothing you can do will ever change that. OK?

  10. Parenthood as far as I can see has changes such a lot in the last 50 years and the role of the mother unfortunately has been put under so much strain with society driving most mums out to work as soon as humanly possible after they have had there children just to pay the bills. The needs of the children have to come first and this means to parents at hand whenever possible. Not only for there physical needs but especially for there mental development.

    Society has a lot to answer for lee
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  11. Yes I’m totally agree with you. Mothers is Irreplaceble. She has the best job in the world. She guide and protect her children for them to grow orderly

  12. This is such well-written post and a reminder to all mothers where their real worth lies. Unfortunately, it is not just others who trivialize the amount of work done by a homemaker and a mother, but also mothers themselves.

  13. Wonderful post! Mother truly are unreplaceable! I love the check list if you were to get someone else to fill in for a mother. I love my mom and I owe her the world, thanks for posting this article, I am going to give my mama a call right now!

  14. Great post dear! You really posted a great article and it will help all the person. Who are wanting help form someone. Your information is very helpful.
    Thanks for writing these type of article.

  15. You’re right about motherhood can’t be outsourced. Real mothers have these natural love with their children and other people’s children. This can’t be replicated by other women.

  16. I can be laughing with the title of this post but after a while I must think that yes for real motherhood can be outsource. I love this posts so great!

  17. I think this post give us some real info about how to be a good mom.

  18. Amazing post . i like this site and all post. Also i have knowledge about nurse site. it is very nice site too. you can see this site. visit this site.

  19. I must say this is beautiful post. I can’t believe I read this “Motherhood” blog. This is one of a kind and thank you.

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