kids

What would you pay yourself for being a mum?

Office manager and Melbourne mum, Kathy Lord, 48, has two teenage boys – Ollie, 15 and Archie, 13  – who were born 20 months apart.

“It was pretty frantic for the first 10 years and it hasn’t really stopped,” she told Mamamia.

Like many mums, the 48-year-old’s day starts before sunrise, she does the school drop-offs and pick-ups, and can hardly find the time to finish a novel.

Kathy Lord and her family. Image supplied.

Her floorboards are clean, the bin is taken out and she emptied the dishwasher this morning before she went to work. She fits in mandatory parent portal online chores from bed and even feeds the neighbour's cat.

Although her boys are independent, Kathy's trips to her sons' (and friends') basketball, football, music lessons and swimming commitments could fill up an Uber driver's time sheet.

"A minimum of one sports practise and one music lesson with two kids means I have something on every single night," she said.

What Kathy's morning time sheet would look like. Image supplied.
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Kathy is not alone.  Fresh research from Me Bank has found working mums are spending close to 20 per cent more time on domestic duties than working dads and they undervalue their contribution.

Working mums said they would only pay themselves an average hypothetical salary of $45,000 for all the work they do.

Stay-at-home mums in the ME survey paid themselves a bit more -  $48,000 - but it is still considerably less than the average wage of about $61,000.

But Kathy, with no complaints about her husband or her role in the family, says $45,000 "wouldn't cut it".

"I haven't calculated the hours but on an hourly base, you'd have to give yourself a minimum of $50 an hour. You're worth it."

"When you get up at five o'clock in the morning, that's three hours before I even get into work that I've done.  That's already $150 worth of work and then there's five hours when I finish work."

Archie and Ollie. Image supplied.
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The mum of two's hypothetical wage is just under $100,000 before tax. Kathy says mums need to double their value.

"$45,000 is a basic wage. This is not basic - this is everyday, never stops and is life changing for your children," says Kathy.

The Melbourne mum, who filled out a dummy time sheet, said it was overwhelming to see how much she was accomplishing.

"[The time sheet] makes you feel very proud of the fact you've got through it without doing yourself in, because, this is a tough job," she said.

There are no breaks. Image supplied.

Of course, most mums won't be paid, nor do they expect anything in return for their efforts, but it's fantastic that Kathy is aware the value she adds to her family.

"I wouldn't take a job for $45,000 if I had to do all of these things and be this busy and that was what you were going to pay me - I'd say, 'Are you kidding me?'"

Kathy says it's not accepted that mothers would ask for a reward for doing the things that "have to be done", but she does see motherhood with its own rewards.

"I have got the best two boys. We are happier knowing that we have put everything that we have possibly got into the kids. It's about putting all your effort in," said Kathy.

"The reward is when they get older, they can speak to you and be grateful and say, 'Thanks Mum'."

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