We are in an interesting time with these household dynamics, with an ever-increasing number of stay-at-home dads and better educational outcomes among women. Suffice it to say, families will change much in this century.
It is easy to put a rough dollar figure on a mom's contribution to a family. Time-use studies (and a bit of common sense) suggest a typical mother's contribution to a family would cost more than $100,000 per year to replace in the labor market. A working woman who stops working for 15 years to raise kids typically forgoes $1 million in earnings. This is a minimum threshold on how much we value our kids, and evidence of a still robust American family.
There is much to study and learn about the evolving role of mothers and families. One thing is certain: whatever thanks we give moms today will be insufficient.
Michael J. Hicks, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and professor of economics at Ball State University. Contact him at mhicksbsu.edu.