Here's one of the worst questions you can ask a stay-at-home mom: "So, what do you do all day?"
Redbook and Laura Vanderkam, author of "I Know How She Does It," took the patronizing question and dug deeper to find out what stay-at-home moms' lives in the modern world are really like.
To do this, they surveyed 558 women who self-identify as stay-at-home moms and asked them questions about their lives. They also had them record their previous day's activities hourly (which would provide more accurate answers compared to asking about a typical weekday).
"Our respondents' lives were incredibly diverse. One mom spent the day substitute teaching. Another milked goats and spent five hours building a tool shed. A third played tennis for three hours," Redbook reported. "There were a few throwback moments: 'Sat down and had a cocktail after getting dinner in oven.'"
Here are 5 of their findings that we thought you'd like to know. Some of them are really surprising!
1. Stay-at-home moms are generally happy.
Some 46 percent of stay-at-home moms reported being "very happy" and 34 percent said they were "somewhat happy." In addition, 36 percent of responders said they are stay-at-home moms because they want to be.
2. Yes, most stay-at-home moms work.
While they called themselves "stay-at-home moms," out of those surveyed, almost two-thirds contribute to their household income and 25 percent said they ran a business from home.
Graphic by Redbook
3. What stay-at-home moms do depends on their socioeconomic status.
Those on the lower end of the spectrum do a lot of housework while moms on the higher end socialize, exercise and run errands.
4. Stay-at-home moms think $50,000 is the salary they deserve.
We think it should be more! A 2015 study that rounded up all the different tasks handled by moms and multiplied it by the number of hours moms dedicate each chore (according to Bureau of Labor Statistic rates)—it all adds up to $65,283.81.
5. Moms of at least four children tend to be the happiest moms, marking themselves as "very" or "extremely" happy.
Even moms in families with lower-than-average incomes showed the same trend. At first, we were like, "What?!" But then when you step back and think about it, it kind of makes sense. As a first-time mom, we can be very hard on ourselves and perfectionists. Moms of bigger families? "They just rolled with life. Why worry about a few toys on the floor when you could relax with your family instead? Likewise, for stay-at-home moms, managing four or more children will mellow all but the most stubborn of perfectionists," Vanderkam wrote.
Read the full survey: "The Mom Gig."