Steven Nelms has been married to wife, Gloriana — Glory for short — for three years. Together they have a two-year-old son named Ezra.
When Steven and Glory got married, Glory worked while Steven finished up school. Once their son was born, it didn't seem financially possible for Glory to go back to work. Nelms explains to IJReview:
“With childcare costs it would've been a wash with her income at best. So we decided that she would stay home as long as it made sense.”
According to Nelms, before having Ezra, Glory had been employed since the age of 14.
“It has always been part of her, especially since she began contributing to the financial needs of her family by 17 years old,” he says. “So getting a paycheck was a significant part of feeling valued and appreciated for all the hard work she did to provide for herself and help her family.”
In an attempt to appreciate all of the work Glory does for the family — and put a numerical value on it — Nelms wrote a profound essay that he posted to We Are Glory.
"I’ve had this thought in my head for a while now. I’ve been thinking that I can’t afford for my wife to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. Now, I don’t at all mean to offend anyone with this post. I just have to say that for me personally, I can’t afford it... I mean that I quite literally cannot afford my wife to be staying at home. Here’s why...
My wife stays home and takes care of our son every single day. She changes his diapers, feeds him, plays with him, puts him down for his nap, and comforts him when he’s upset. And that’s just the bare minimum. A child can typically get that attention at a day-care. But on top of that, he is her only focus... Obviously, this is part of being a parent. You take care of your child and you raise your child. But let’s face it. In our day and age... there is a company ready and willing to do just about anything. So while, yes, my wife is my son’s mother and it is a natural result of being a parent to love and care for your own child, there is also a very quantifiable dollar amount that can be attributed to the services rendered. I am in no way trying to simplify, objectify, or devalue the priceless love of a mother for her child. But let’s be real. Pay day feels good for a reason. Because you’re seeing your hard work appreciated in a tangible way that lets you “treat yo self”. And this is exactly why I can’t afford my wife being a Stay-At-Home Mom. The national average weekly salary for a full-time nanny is $705. That’s $36,660 a year.
We make ends meet comfortably and are by no means scraping the bottom of the barrel... [but] the services rendered of caring for our child every single day of the year would absorb the majority of our income. Flat out, no question, game over, I cannot afford my wife to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. And that’s just the beginning of it.
Nelms further elaborates on the cost of all his wife does based on his personal research:
- Cleaning Service: $50-100 per visit once a week = $5,200 a year.
- Personal Shopper (running the errands like buying groceries and “a new pack of white undershirts”): $65 per hour at 4 hours a week = $13,5250 a year.
- Chef (lunch and dinner): $240 a week = $12,480 a year.
“So far we’re looking at a grand total of $67,860! Remember, we’re working with extremely conservative averages here.”
He takes it a step further.
- Financial Assistant (paying the bills, finances, budgeting): $15 an hour — add $75 an hour if your wife plays a part in “professional interactions” like business dinners as, according to Nelms, the average for a PR assistant is $75 per hour.
- Laundry: $25 a week, minimum.
“Let’s average 5 hours a week on financial services, 4 hours per business dinner (about 3 a year), and a weekly laundry service. Add that onto our very conservative estimates for childcare, house cleaning, and shopping, and that’s an annual salary of $73,960. Looking objectively at an almost insultingly conservative average of the services rendered, I cannot afford my wife.”
"My wife sometimes feels patronized when I ask her permission to buy something for myself. She feels like it’s my money and my name on the paycheck so I shouldn’t have to ask permission to get myself something every once in a while. The truth is, I’m ashamed of any time I’ve ever made her feel guilty or humored when she’s purchased something for herself. I’m ashamed that she has ever felt like she doesn’t have just as much right to our income as I do. The fact of the matter is that our income doesn’t even come close to covering what she does for our family. I would have to make over 100K to even begin to be able to cover my living expenses as well as employ my wife as a Stay-At-Home Mom!
In short, I can’t afford for my wife to stay at home. And I’ve tragically failed to show my wife the appreciation that she deserves. She loves me, loves our son, and loves our family, so obviously she isn’t doing any of those things for a paycheck or even for recognition. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to know that as a Stay-At-Home Mom her appraised salary is nearly double my actual income. So in a very weird way, this is my way of saying how much I value my wife as the mother of my child and the one who always has my back no matter what. You are more precious than rubies. And I can’t afford you."
As Nelms had hoped, the blog post resonated with Glory and it reaffirmed the importance of all she does as a mother and a wife.
Nelms recognizes that different families have different circumstances.
“In whichever way your particular family is able to provide for one another, it should be encouraging. Comparing one family dynamic to another shouldn't serve to discourage anyone in what is necessary for their circumstances.”