Monday, February 7, 2011

Computing My T.E.V.

The Canadians are losing their polar bears and they aren't going to take it anymore. Well some of them aren't anyway. Canada's Environment Department is on a mission to prove those big cuddly fellas stick around for awhile. Cute pictures don't do much in a budget crunch, you've got to prove they are good for more than a fuzzy rug. How do you do that? You determine its "Total Economic Value" (T.E.V.) Team member Mary Taylor spoke about the process, "The existence value -- what's the value of having this species now and in the future? We also look at the bequest value -- what's the value for future generations? So we're looking at a range of values, values even beyond those in the marketplace." A similar process put an elephant's value at $4,000. N0t sure how much he went for on Ebay though.

This idea got me thinking about my own T.E.V, and the T.E.V. of many mothers who daily feel undervalued, exhausted, and at times borderline pointless. Truth is, we wear lots of hats, and should we get paid for some of those gigs, our T.E.V. would be fairly impressive. Let's crunch some numbers:

Here are my proposed salaries*:
Teacher: $46,109
Clinical Nurse--Home care: $71,560
Housekeeper: $21,000 (There should be bonuses for every boy in the house with bad aim. . if you know what I mean)
Personal Chef: $45,000
Executive Personal Assistant: $51,000
Beautician: $21,000 (I'd get paid more, but I don't know how to french braid)

*salaries actually researched. . impressed?? get the idea.

The point is, were sheer numbers under consideration, I might be worth a great deal.

255,669 smackers to be precise.

Of course, that is not why I do what I do. And our society rarely looks at my T.E.V. this way. They have a hard time looking past the ponytail and three little ones I'm herding at Target. I certainly don't dress like someone worth almost $300,000. But, just like the polar bears, I have alot to offer. And I need to remember that. We all do. It isn't just the jobs we do now, every day, that matter and add up. It is what we are creating. I don't dust the shelves because I like the smell of pledge and shiny wood. I actually don't savor every opportunity to change a diaper, vacuum (again) or cook a dinner. I don't do this because I expect a paycheck at the end of the week. I do it because I expect a paycheck in the eternities. And I do it for the hugs. I want my children to feel safe and clean. I want them to learn about truth and work. And someday I hope they will grow to be faithful, kind, stalwart, creative adults. That is a serious payday.

I don't know how to remind myself of this value when I am feeling pent up, frustrated, and crazy. But I will try. I will coax myself away from the laundry pile and take a look at my kids playing together and say, "Yeah, this is worth it. This is a great future investment." And I will write myself a check for a free game of Candyland.

You and me, polar bears. . . we are like money in the bank.

1 comment:

  1. Morgen! I love this! Andrew came home one day and told me he'd read an article similar to this-- They reported that the cost to replace a stay at home mom for all the duties she performs (chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, teacher, etc.) would place her salary at $180,000 or something. I told him I thought that sounded low. Your estimate is getting closer :-) The trick is, as you say, keeping that eternal perspective when the laundry piles up, or, as I'm currently struggling with: my one-yr-old keeps playing in toilets that my 3-yr-old hasn't flushed (3 and 1 are not a good combination...)

    I'll sign off with one of my favorite quotes (you've probably read it before): "The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. "
    — C.S. Lewis