Stay-at-home moms are an essential part of the workforce, providing child care, cleaning, catering and organizational services to salaried workers. Job descriptions vary from workplace to workplace, but differ more in their complexity than basic qualifications and responsibilities. Stay-at-home moms are not hired, but enter into a contractual agreement with a wage earner to provide services. According to WebMD, stay-at-home moms are on the rise, as more women forgo the workplace in order to raise their children.
An effective stay-at-home mom will have basic reading and math skills, be a skilled baker and cook and be proficient at removing stains. Patience is important as well, as children will test it.
Physical qualifications ideally include the ability to lift 50 pounds, carry a small child and a load of laundry simultaneously and stay alert during late-night feedings and illnesses. Lots of bending is required, and stamina is a must.
Stay-at-home moms are responsible for making sure the children are fed, cleaned, clothed and loved. A stay-at-home mom should read to her children to ensure they gain literacy skills. She should monitor children’s media consumption closely. She ensures that children have developmentally appropriate playthings that are safe and stimulating.
Stay-at-home moms must have exceptional organizational skills, as they are responsible for coordinating children’s sports and extracurricular activities, play dates and doctor’s appointments. They need to be able to plan effectively, as the popularity of the children’s birthday parties will depend on this skill. Money management skills are a must in order to keep the family’s finances in order.
Stay-at-home moms plan menus, shop economically and prepare healthy meals. Stay-at-home moms need to have the skills to prepare meals from scratch unless the family is wealthy. Baking cookies is not required, but is a step on the career path to “stay-at-home supermom.”
Stay-at-home moms are usually responsible for the cleanliness of the house and the family’s laundry. They must have the ability to spot and throw away old produce, socks with holes and yogurt that is past its due date. They must be able to maintain clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces while toddlers smear peanut butter on the cabinets. Vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing are other cleaning duties.
Special Knowledge and Skills
Stay-at-home moms must have a variety of skills in order to have clean, obedient children and successfully maintain an orderly home.
Stay-at-home moms should be able to give children “the eye.” “The eye” prevents a wide variety of misbehavior. Moms who stay at home should also have some psychic abilities, otherwise known as “having eyes in the back of the head.” These abilities can help mothers to determine when a child is eating the soap versus simply using the restroom.
Stay-at-home moms are often family historians, organizing photos online and sending updates to relatives in addition to maintaining photo scrapbooks. The ability to operate a digital camera and photo-editing software is desirable.
Stay-at-home moms should also be able to recognize when a child is ill and intuit when a doctor’s visit is necessary.
Hours are worked during the time the stay-at-home mom’s spouse is at work, although unpaid overtime is frequently required. Weeks exceeding 80 hours are not unusual, especially during times of illness, holidays and family visits.
Salary and Benefits
A mom with one preschooler and one school-aged child earns a median hypothetical salary of $117,850, according to Salary.com. Most moms are not financially compensated for their work, choosing to accept payment in the form of housing, meals, clothing and other amenities. Benefits vary widely in this job sector, with some stay-at-home moms receiving full medical and dental coverage, although many do not. According to many moms, the primary benefit of being a stay-at-home mom is the opportunity to raise their children themselves, according to their own values.