Valuing what you do

While Laurence and I both do paid work, there’s no question mark attached to the fact that he is the main earner and I am the primary caregiver. It’s a set up we discussed and chose together when Talitha was a baby and, for the most part, it works well for us. If one of us is at times disgruntled with our earning mismatch, it’s always me. I’ve come to realise that that’s partly because I don’t always value what I do.

I found it amusing, then, to take SunLife’s ‘Mum Salary’ quiz. Apparently my mum salary works out to £75,545! It calculates your salary based on average salaries from occupations that mothers’ jobs are most like.

It’s meant to be a lighthearted bit of fun. After all, many of the jobs they mention are probably taken on by fathers in many households, especially where mothers also work outside the home. However, it drives home the serious point that mothers should consider life insurance too. We may not bring home a paycheck but our work does determine the family’s finances.

I was surprised three years ago when we were buying a house when our financial advisor recommended that I purchase life insurance. Earning only a small fraction of what Laurence does, I felt that, financially at least, he’d be fine should the worst happen but of course I do make a contribution even if I don’t get paid for it. From that perspective, it’s interesting to see what this quiz throws up.

Of course, there are bigger questions to ask around why we value work based on payment and, beyond that, why we reduce people to figures. Those are questions for another day. In the meantime, have look at the quiz and see what you think.

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