How Much Is a Homemaker Worth?

The Story: A study conducted by the financial service company Investopedia found that the sum value of different homemaking duties annually amounts to almost six figures. If a homemaker’s job were salaried, it would draw, on average, $96,291 per year. Tasks accounted for in the study included private chef, house cleaner, child care provider, driver, and laundry service provider.

The Background: There’s no escaping the fact that contemporary society often scoffs at stay-at-home moms. “This isn’t the 1950s anymore,” the thinking goes. “Why in the world would someone want to be imprisoned in her own home?” The common idea, of course, is that many responsibilities on the home front should be outsourced, thus releasing moms from domestic shackles to realize their vocational dreams. While such a mindset isn’t automatically wrongheaded in every case, it can frequently betray a prioritization that is biblically questionable.

Why It Matters: Proverbs 14:1 states: ”The wise woman builds her house.” While the monetary value and practical feasibility of full-time homemaking may vary from home to home, what remains constant is the irreplaceable significance of a homemaker’s contributions. The Investopedia article concludes, “The daily work of a homemaker can sometimes be taken for granted….However, these services could earn a homemaker a considerable wage if he or she took those skills to the marketplace. Homemakers, in general, contribute a lot more to the home in addition to these tasks and no amount of money can fill those needs.”

Indeed, no study could ever fully quantify the service of a mother who “looks well to the ways of her household” (Prov. 31:27). At the very least, this research should prompt us to express fresh appreciation to those stay-at-home moms whom we love and who, though receiving little recognition in the eyes of the world, are faithful and treasured in the eyes of their King.

  • Luma

    I appreciate this very much! Providentially, I finished “Love & Economics” by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse (founder of The Ruth Institute). She is an economist (a Libertarian in her political philosophy) writing to Libertarian economists arguing that a society based on love, with strong men who take their duty seriously, mothers who stay home and raise their own children, and strong marriages based on self-sacrificial love, could and would form a society with children who grow up with well-developed moral sensibilities and self-restraint. And that this in turn will give rise to a limited government and a free market. Dr. Roback is a committed Catholic and so her piety will be different and distinct from us Calvinists and yet she is also by God’s grace proclaiming the “good” of being a stay-at-home mom. And no, she does not see this as some utilitarian means to the political and economic end she hopes for.

    However, having said that, I do not want my sisters in Christ who have to work or choose to work to take this as a laying on of burdens and shame. I chose to read this book because I have somehow given myself this research assignment to try to break down what I see as a false dichotomy propagated through the culture of the church in America: Namely, you are either a career woman or a stay-at-home mom. Yet Biblical womanhood is so much more than those two man-made categories. I wrote this post a couple months ago:

    As I started digging in, however, I realized how much more research I have to do before working toward the synthesis I proposed in that post. Furthermore, I realized that this kind of thing in the end will not end up being blog material. I want very much to help women see their value as wives and mothers but without dismissing and/or diminishing their value in the gifts, talents and other callings the Lord has given them. Well… I suppose if you’re interested you can read what I’m trying to get at in that post. My aim is a robust gospel-centered understanding of womanhood, but I think there is a better and more Biblical model to use than the paradigm of the 1950’s nuclear family. So no, this isn’t the 1950’s, but neither were the 50’s the height of family goodness and godliness.

    Thanks for the opportunity to interact, this has been so heavy on my heart. By the way, I am a Reformed, complimentarian, stay-at-home wife and mother.

    Thank you again for this post.

    • Andra

      I really appreciate your response to this article. I consider myself to be somewhere in between those two main categories, and my Mother was in the same place and is a huge inspiration to me. It is a hard place to be, because sometimes it seems that both sides look down on you.
      I am a stay-at-home mom, and I homeschool our 2 school age children. I also am building my own business from home which takes a large amount of time. I am drawn to the Proverbs 31 woman, specifically verses 13, 16, 18, 22 and 24 that talk about her investments and the work of her hands. I truly doubt that she made enough money to buy her family a new car, or a big house (to put it in present day terms)…. but she made sure they had food, and supplies for a garden, and clothing.
      I know this isn’t the right choice for everyone! Or even the Biblical choice for everyone, because God calls us all to do different things. I respect woman who choose, or have to work outside of the home. But I don’t feel the same level of respect from others because I am “not giving 100% to my home and family”, or the other side “I am not bringing in my equal share financially”. It is hard when people say “That is so wonderful that you can afford to stay home and work at your hobby”. It takes a lot of sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice that I am glad to be able to make because I feel called to do this! We do not have a big home, in fact right now we have a very small apartment. We have 1 reliable car (by choice). Maybe some day we will have more, but for now I feel blessed for the little that God has provided because it means that I can be there for our children, family, and friends all the more!
      I am off to read your article. Thank you for this!!

  • TC

    Great article, Matt.

  • Pingback: The Financial Value of a Homemaker | The Apollos Project()

  • Andrew

    What’s worth more? A stay at home mom or single mom that works? Hmm…I’ll go with the single mom that works. Or even a married mom that works and still is a private chef, house cleaner, child care provider, driver, and laundry service provider. I don’t understand the point of this article. Is it to make homemakers feel worth and better about themselves? Yes they are treasured in the eyes of their King, but so is everyone else.

    • Matt Smethurst


      Thanks for dropping by and for asking these questions. The intent of the post isn’t to insinuate that stay-at-home moms are superior to other moms. Single moms who work are just as heroic in my eyes. The point is simply to highlight a study that reveals how valuable a homemaker’s job really is. While our society may be quick to disparage homemaking as hopelessly old-fashioned, this study should freshly prompt us to honor moms who work day after day in their homes “with all their hearts, as though working for the Lord, not for men” (Col. 3:23).

      Hope that helps to clarify, brother.

      • Mon

        Apparently theres always a need to justify stay-at-home moms, in light of the marginalized single-mother, who doesnt have the luxury or the privilege to do so. From someone who had a mother who had to work outside of the house to provide for her children, I always wonder why posts like these need to be generated- as though “the eyes of the world” have become the ultimate authority on these issues- so much so that we need posts like these to justify stay-at-home mothering. Not to mention this helps perpetuate the hatred amongst women, both working and at home- who are berated with different biblical interpretations which do nothing but lay upon guilt at one (or the other).

        Can there please be more posts that address all types of mothers? What about the mothers (single, or otherwise) who cannot afford to stay at home (in the way many of these middle class readers can), what do we make of them being both active outside of the home, only to come back and just as much as the stay-at-home mom? What is their net worth?

        This “outsourcing” of labor is, again, still only addressing those in our country who have the means to do so. The socioeconomic bias is prevalent, and its devastating to those who, unlike many of these stay-at-home moms, are married to men who can afford to let them stay at home. Also, this isn’t a blanket statement, there are many exceptions. But posts like these single out a certain type of mother as the “ideal” and only does damage.

  • Zac

    My wife chose to be a working mom, she works full time and our children attend public school. Personally I’m sick of the church making her feel like she is less worth because she has ambitions and pursued them. Our kids are still being raised by their mother and myself. My wife is just as strong as a stay at home mom and in many ways stronger. Economically the world is in a place where it takes two to build a home. Really wish the church would stop making families like mine feel lesser because my wife works

    • Andrew


    • Collin Hansen

      How does encouraging stay-at-home moms, devalued in our society, make your family feel lesser? Are you talking about something other than this particular post?

      • Zac

        It is the culture of the church. The church tends to value stay at home moms over working moms, in my experience

        • Collin Hansen

          While that’s true of certain churches in your experience, the statistics say otherwise on the whole. More and more women feel pressured economically and socially to work, whether they want to or not.

          • Zac

            I believe the statistics as a whole support the idea of women going to work, agrred. Im talking statistically in the reformed church, a church I love and am a part of, in general would say a woman should stay at home and not work. I do not find that to be accurate or relavent to todays society. An educated man, with college degree might make 80,000 a year at the peak of his career, with maybe closer to 35,000 to start off. Those numbers generally dont support a family of say 5 or 6 people. Ecocnomically speaking, woman are having to work to support the whole home, and I see nothing wrong with that

          • Mon


            you might be able to make this argument in the whole of society (although I’d argue that secular spheres are arguing over this same issue, only in a different manner as it does not involve “God”), but it is true that especially in more conservative, Reformed circles that women are guilted by posts like these- which end up pitting women against each other. These posts make certain women “an ideal” and others not, and in the context of a relationship with the living God, it starts to become something that makes women feel guilty over- and even condemned by their fellow sisters in Christ. I’m certain as a man you wouldnt understand the intricacies of theses issues but they are there. It should behoove you to celebrate all women, not one over the other. This dynamic creates sinful competition, and then judgment.

    • Matt Smethurst

      Thanks for commenting, Zac. Please see my response to Andrew in which I clarify the intent of this post.

    • Anna

      I totally agree, Zac! Not only did my mom work while my dad stayed at home to take care of me, I find that I came out stronger because of it.
      Also, the church that I attended growing up condemned my mom and a family friend of ours, not only for working, but also for sending us to public school, which is (pardon my French) bullshit. We no longer live in Biblical times (or the 2000+ years after them), in which a woman couldn’t work at all. Personally, I don’t plan on being a stay at home mom when I have children because I find both working a job and caring for children rewarding, and see no reason not to do both. My husband can choose whether or not he wishes to work when we have kids either.
      Also, I find posts such as these to be inherently praising to one group and demeaning to another. It just happens, intentional or not. Perhaps we should focus on issues that most women face, homemakers, breadwinners, or otherwise, such as low self-esteem, how to balance a relationship with God with an incredibly hectic lifestyle, making lifelong and significant friendship with other women. et cetera.

  • Maggie

    We are christians, yes? Then we are to be IN the world not OF the world. Is the Bible is the living word of GOD, or a suggestion and history book? We can not be on both sides of the fence. WE must make decisions based on what we believe the Bible is. I beleive it IS the LIVING WORD of GOD and follow it as truth. Or…..It is to give fuzzy feel good feeling. So move on (it’s a suggestion history bookers), an do not get all out of shape by the people who believe the Bible is the living word of GOD. The truth is people who believe the Bible is the living word of GOD, they are going to be weird and NOT fit into this world. Their point of view is not going to be the same as a worldly persons.

  • Luma

    Dear Zac and Andrew, the issues you have raised are precisely the issues that have given me a heavy heart. They are what have caused me to start questioning whether the church as a whole has been addressing this area with clarity. I do think that different corners of the Reformed world have a varying aroma to their church culture. Some, as you say shame or look down on the working mother, others on the other hand, as Collin has pointed out, put pressure on women to work and/or devalue the stay-at-home mom. It is this polarity in the church regarding this issue that has me reading and researching looking for a more excellent way.

    As Matt said in his comment above, this post was not meant to disparage the working woman. And yet, some how, some way, in some forum these issues should be discussed in brotherly love and respect. I want to say that in my experience both stay-at-home moms and working moms have at one time or another felt devalued. I think one of the things we need to be asking ourselves is how do we encourage all Christian women to understand their value in Christ Jesus. This may help us keep away from language that divides and polarizes.

    • Ali J Griffiths

      Luma – this is much much wider than a reformed church world issue. In the egalitarian churches I have been involved in there is a clear line drawn between those who work outside the home and those who are full time stay at home mothers. I have been in both positions and I felt infinitely more comfortable when working part time because of the attitudes of Christians about stay at homers. I absolutely agree that we need to find a way of encouraging all women to understand their value is in Jesus Christ – we also need to make sure the men understand this as well!

      • Luma

        Thank you for the clarity. You’re right, this is more than an issue in reformed churches. It goes across all denominational lines.

  • Rachel

    It’s been over a year since I decided to quit my career to stay at home with my young boys, and let me tell you, it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had (I’ve worked various jobs since 14). Your work never ends, the responsibility is huge, and you receive very little immediate reward and recognition. I suffered from depression the first few months I stayed home. I felt that my talents and gifts were being wasted; my personal (and quite honestly, selfish) dreams going to the wayside. I often thought about going back to work. But what’s kept me at home is knowing the Lord convicted me and my husband that this was the best choice for our family (not to say that’s the best choice for all families b/c it’s not). I can see the small differences being home has made for our children and our household. It’s still challenging many days, but now I can’t imagine missing out on this time with my children. I consider it a gift and a blessing. I appreciate your last sentence that God treasures us as He sees our daily work, joys, and struggles.

  • Zac

    I do understand the point of this article was not to make working moms feel less valued but the reality is that is does. Why? Because woman have become very sensitive to this topic. Both types of house hold can be God honoring.

  • Katrina

    The main reason women are sensitive to this issue is that it leads to comparing rather than answering God’s specific call for you as an individual. We all have a tendency to look for validation by projecting our private call on others. I can’t make you feel anything. If you are feeling pressured, first evaluate if you are living in obedience to Christ. If yes, then keep doing it and rejoice with others who can also answer yes even when their daily lives are different from yours. If no, then the pressure may be the Holy Spirit directing you where you have not gone. Don’t drag your feet and don’t tell anyone else that they have to come along with you to be in God’s will. There are many different ways to be a woman/wife/mother who walks in God’s ways. Let’s not make a Corinthian mistake and start competing (I follow Paul/I follow Apollos/I follow Cephas)!

  • Luma

    Rachel, I went through the same thing when I quit law school to be a stay-at-home mom. I struggled for years with feeling unproductive and undervalued (in spite of my husband’s love, support and encouragement). It wasn’t until I understood who I was in Christ that those things started to go away and I started appreciating the blessing of being home with my children. I praise God for his provision!

    I looked at my last sentence above and it sounds lamely PC, that’s not how I intended it.

    Zac, you’re right, this is a very sensitive topic for women.

  • Megan Gordon

    I personally found this article very encouraging as a stay at home mom and since I believe that was your intention, I thank you.

  • Pingback: Links of the Week « My World()

  • Nathaniel Winn

    Mint republished an article from Investopedia. Mint in no way conducted a study.

    Nor did anyone else. Adding up salaries for a variety of jobs is not anything like an accurate method for calculating the value of the work. Personal chefs, for example, make what they do because moneyed classes pay exorbitant rates for the luxury of leisure.

    Porcshe Moran’s article even acknowledges that “A private car service might seem like a high-end luxury to most, but the beneficiaries of a homemaker get this service on a daily basis.” Does the working commuter get to claim $4k in extra value per annum by virtue of driving?

    Working mothers are precious in God’s sight. Stay-at-home mothers are precious in God’s sight. The value of a mother is beyond the realm of economic calculation, and to apply a price tag (however inflated it may be by poor methodology) actually cheapens this truth.

    • Matt Smethurst

      Thanks for the correction, Nathaniel; I’ve updated the post accordingly.

    • laura grace

      “The value of a mother is beyond the realm of economic calculation, and to apply a price tag (however inflated it may be by poor methodology) actually cheapens this truth.”

      100% agreed.

  • Phildog

    “The point is simply to highlight a study that reveals how valuable a homemaker’s job really is.”

    Unfortunately, the study is complete nonsense. It is flawed and it is not worth commenting on it. It is not helpful to make a valid point based on this article. It is unfortunate financial comments are often made in theological columns that are poorly researched just to support a valid point.

    That being said, we should not require a flawed study to support a perfectly reasonable idea. All mothers should be honoured because of their unique role (not forgettting fathers). Their role requires sacrifice. Whether that is not working, whether that involves a need to work, a sacrifice will be involved if mothers are determined to carry out their roles in a God-honouring way.

    Please continue to think about this and comment, but make the comments appropriate to the research.

  • Judi Pavlovszky

    I’ve always found these “values” placed on the tasks performed by “homemakers” to be ridiculous. Most adults perform these tasks, even while holding down a job. The study assumes that all homemakers can perform each task at a professional level and would be paid as such.

    The stay at home wife and mother is a recent cultural aberation, the result of a rising middle class that could afford to live on the earnings of one adult. For most of history, the only way for the average family to survive is for everyone to contribute. That is still the case in many countries, cultures.

    The fairytale of the happy 50s family, with dad working, mom at home in pearls and highheels vacuaming the home with the white picket fence and the 2.3 well adjusted children is just that…a fairytale.

    There are good “homemakers” and bad “homemakers”. Most work outside the home and some don’t. Some are men. Most of them are trying to do the best they can, some don’t care. Hard to put a value on that.

    • Ali J Griffiths

      Considering the high cost of childcare in the UK the stay at home mother is often staying home because she could not earn enough to pay someone else to look after the children. That is one of the reasons I stayed at home with small children – we would be classed as middle class but we weren’t well off enough for me to consider work. Full time motherhood was my significant financial contribution to the family coffers.
      I am not sure about the historical angle – my understanding is that most mothers if they did work in the past would have supplemented their income from home whilst they did the childcare. It is my impression that mothers working outside the home only became the norm with the arrival of the industrial revolution. In the UK it would not have been considered appropriate for a woman to retain her position once married until relatively recently and certainly not the norm to work outside the home once children arrived. If they did then childcare would have been provided by family or neighbours so it remained home based – very different from what we have on offer now.

      • Maggie

        Mrs Griffiths you are right, this was not a issue of having money or not. My parents where depression children, making my grandparents much older…. Retainin your employement after marriage would be completely disrepecting your husband, you might as well scream at the top of your voice ” My huband is worthless person that can even provide for his family” Only the well to do would risk social outcasting like that! If women did supplement their husband provision it was taking in wash or mending or dressmaking. Now I got this information from a group of 75 to 92 years in Michigan and Kentucky for a research paper in 1992 while I was in college. I was also told that the well-to-do would send their daughter to college for a husband if their area was small. My Granny was very progessive she did not marry until she was 24yrs old. She worked for her Daddy in his office, file and weekly she ran receipt and payroll between Lexington and Morehead Kentucky by horse back. It is a 45 minuate by car today. She shot a man (trying to rob her of the payroll)that is how she met my Gramps, he was a cop. Police officer are very under paid today as they were then. They had 9 children. When he was killed in the line of duty, my Granny was lefted with 9 children not money coming in ( no pension in those days or widow benefits)My Gramps was killed during prohibition, a rum runner shot him. The reason I tell this story is to identify the reliability of my information. First hand is my information, and woman worked in the factories during WWI and WWII because they where honoring and doing anything they could to support their husbands, brothers, and sons. My Grandma on my Daddy’s side worked in the factories in Detroit, MI. She save up the money (because I Grandpa would not put any of her money in the household, HE supported them, He was very proud) bought my Daddy and Uncle hunting land in northern Michigan where I grew up.

        • Ali J Griffiths

          It was worth commenting on this post just to get your personal story! What an amazing heritage of strong women – thanks for sharing that.

          • Maggie

            Thank you, Mrs Griffiths.

  • Andrea Gustaff

    I love and appreciate this article however, I feel like the articles I read supporting homemakers focus on affirming “stay at home moms” while “stay at home wives” are never mentioned. My husband and I haven’t been blessed with children but he loves that I serve in the home. I am also free to help others that I was not ever able to help because I worked outside the home. Interestingly, when I worked we had more financial issues than we do now. I pray that as long as the Lord has me at home I will honor Him and my husband.

  • Aimee Byrd

    I wrote an article a while back ago about the struggle that a housewife goes through with her ambition for accomplishment:

    Every mom, with an outside job or not, shares the struggle of keeping a home a home.

  • Pingback: DADs 2:3 – The Worth of a Homemaker | Counseling One Another()

  • Jaleyn

    I have been both in my life and time a stay at home Mom and a working Mom… I have been blessed as a nurse to do something I enjoy and feel good about. I have also been blessed to have 3 grown sons 2 daughters-in-love and 2 grandchildren. I love to cook and bake and sew and enjoy my duties at home… I have endeavored to be a good wife, Mother and grandmother and I think that is what the Lord would have me do… Everyone’s definition is differant of that and I do not think we should judge or condemn anyone.

  • Pingback: Laudable Linkage, Pics, and Videos « Stray Thoughts()

  • Pingback: She Is Far More Precious Than Jewels | Tracts & Treatises()

  • purisomniapura

    Thanks for the word of encouragement!

  • James McCarty

    Mothers are invaluable. Fathers are invaluable. Meaning you can’t put a monetary value on their importance. So just as it is nonsense for a Father to make a case for his role being “invaluable” by pointing to his monetary salary, so it is nonsense for a Mother to seek to help others see the “invaluableness” of her role by pointing to the monetary “street value” her services could earn. 

  • Sebs |

    Great article! Indeed, mothers/homemakers are super valuable to the family. Thanks for posting this.

  • Pingback: How Much Is A Homemaker Worth? | Faith Church Blog()

  • Phil

    You stated:
    “…The common idea {of those scoffing at staying home}, of course, is that many responsibilities on the home front should be outsourced, thus releasing moms from domestic shackles to realize their vocational dreams. While such a mindset isn’t automatically wrongheaded in every case, it can frequently betray a prioritization that is biblically questionable.”

    Actually, I find this general interpretation to be out of touch with both modern thinking and modern believers. How exactly is a believing mom, who works outside the home (not for financial reasons but because she has talent/interest in a particular field), betraying a biblical principle?

    If it’s not betraying a biblical principle, and you just wanted to highlight how domestic chores add up financially (for a mom, dad or a single), then that’s an interesting take.

    But you didn’t, so it’s not simply an appreciation of stay at home moms, but an attempt to single them out as the favored ones who, “..look well to the ways of her household.”