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Giles Coren: ‘Never Mind Monitoring Mums. What About Us Dads?’

Regular morning, evening and weekend childcare shifts plus specialist knowledge and a few years’ experience surely must equal a decent salary? Asks Giles

Once again they have totted up what mums would be paid if the work they do was charged at professional rates, and this time it has come out at £31,216 per year. Which is pretty good money compared to, say, the starting salary of a nurse or a teacher, but a little thin when you consider that’s what Wayne Rooney earns in the time it takes him to close one nostril with his right finger and blow out a greenie. And he does that a LOT.

Thirty one grand. Hmmm. I’d say that the mother of my children is definitely worth that sort of salary now. After all, she cooks all those Annabel Karmel recipes off by heart these days, while getting Kitty dressed with one hand and blowing Sam’s nose with her toes. And all with good humour and precious little harrumphing at her useless husband.

But in the beginning, blimey. I’d have been docking her salary for all sorts of failings: tiredness at work, grumpiness, failure to stock enough nappies, lack of attention paid to husband…

Once again they have totted up what mums would be paid if the work they do was charged at professional rates, and this time it has come out at £31,216 per year.

Read more Giles Coren features

So it’s pretty lucky it doesn’t work that way. In fact, if it did, I think the more interesting question would be, how much should dads be paid? Because dads, after all, however great we are, are only ever the second line of defence (or attack, depending on your viewpoint). Everything a mother does is done without question. She cannot be substituted, so she cannot be monetised. We, on the other hand, are mere help. I think I am a lot of help, as it happens.

Let us say that I am worth £10/hour, which is about the hourly rate for a trained nanny (my nearest competitor in the market) but is fair, I think, because I have plenty of experience myself and know the children intimately.

So let’s see…

I heroically often get the kids up and give them breakfast while Esther has a shower: an hour a day. Sometimes I pick up Kitty from nursery: half an hour. Most evenings I read to the kids while they have tea: half an hour. Then I do bath and bedtime: one hour. So that’s, um – 10 plus 10 – add a bit, er: £30/day, seven days a week. Or £210/week.

Thirty one grand. Hmmm. I’d say that the mother of my children is definitely worth that sort of salary now.

Wait, wait. I also take Kitty swimming on Sundays: two hours. Wheel the kids round the farmers’ market on Saturday morning: one hour. So that’s £240. And then of course, on Sunday afternoon I doze in front of the football while Kitty puts her fingers in light sockets and Sam swallows marbles – will you give me that? Great, another two hours. So £260. Which makes: Oh. £13,500 a year. For being what I always thought was a pretty much full-time dad.

How sobering.

 
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