The Financial Value of a Father Is Less Than You'd Think

Illustration for article titled The Financial Value of a Father Is Less Than Youd Think

If you were raised by a dad, or are raising kids with a dad right now, or are a dad yourself, or have ever met a dad, you probably would not say that fathers are worthless. And, you would obviously be right, they're worth a lot; they're just not worth quite as much as mothers—at least that is what a strange new survey is telling us we need to believe.

Yes, the rollicking good time of a website,, has released its annual Father's Day Index, and it is a doozy. They've found that fathers are worth about a third of what mothers are worth when it comes to doing work on the homefront. Umm, why is this calculation done in honor of Father's Day? "Happy Father's Day: you're pretty great—just not as great as mom!"

In order to determine the "worth" of a father's work, they used U.S. Department of Labor wage data and compared it to 13 "fatherly household tasks." Hilariously, some of the tasks used were barbecuing (which they matched up with the government job category "cooks, all other"), killing spiders (which they compared to "pest control workers") and mowing the lawn ("grounds maintenance workers," obviously). Ah yes, killing spiders, one of the most vital functions a dad performs. Just as all mothers spend hours ironing in their housecoats while yelling at the black and white TV…


Anyway, when all of these valuable contributions are added together, they estimate a father was typically worth about $20,248 in household work for the year. Sadly, today's dad has not even managed to keep up with inflation. This year's fatherly value is about $1,000 less than it was 10 years ago after inflation is accounted for. But forget inflation, what dads these days really can't keep up with is moms. Using the same data, this survey found that mothers contribute about $60,182 in household work. Suck it, dads. It takes three of you to make one mom. Yeah, BURN! As Reuters helpfully notes,

The disparity is notable given research showing women still make less than men for the doing the same hours at the same jobs — 77 cents on the dollar, on average.

Except, wait a minute: Nothing is notable about this at all because it's complete bullshit. I mean, yes, it's fun (and by fun I mean old and tired) to argue that dads aren't worth much on the homefront. Hardee har har, look at this dad trying to change a baby's diaper! And maybe if you were trying to estimate how much to insure a father's life for—which, to be fair, you might be trying to do if you're reading—you'd estimate in the most general way that you'd need roughly $20,000 to pay to have his cooking and landscaping tasks done by professionals. But that would not tell you anything about how much a father is really worth around the house.

There are a lot of dads who do a lot of shitty housework that you probably could not pay anyone else to do—cleaning their kid's poop off walls comes to mind (yes, moms do this too). And if they're not at home putting out the fire their son accidentally started in the living room (see: "Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers"), then they're probably at work making money to pay for the yard where the lawn needs mowing. Same deal with moms, for every home fry cook there is a woman who goes to the office and leaves her husband to darn socks, or whatever it is thinks women are good for these days.


Bottom line: mothers are much more than the sum of their chores, and so are dads. So, relax, you need not explain to your father this year why you only spent a third of the money on his gift that you did on your mom's Mother's Day gift. Though I suppose you can feel justified in asking him to kill a spider for you or to barbecue any meat that's lying around—after all, he's got to earn his keep somehow.

Dads worth less than moms around house: study [Reuters]

Image via Anton Novik/Shutterstock.

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Thanks for reminding me, I need to bake a cake while wearing a girdle and high heels for Gender Stereotypes Day. I hope my husband likes the set of woodworking tools I got him.