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Episode 68: The True Worth of Motherhood

Updated: Jun 18



This is Episode 68.


"Welcome to 'Wellness in Every Season,' the place where we explore the rich tapestry of motherhood and wellness in all its forms. I'm Autumn Carter, your host and guide. 



Welcome to today's episode of "Wellness in Every Season," titled "The True Worth of Motherhood: Beyond the Pay Gap and Pink Tax." Today, we'll explore the deep-seated economic challenges that mothers face, starting with the enduring gender pay gap and the pervasive pink tax. These financial disparities do more than affect the wallet—they weave into the very fabric of family dynamics and everyday life.

As we delve deeper, this episode will also shed light on the invisible labors of motherhood that often go unrecognized and uncompensated. From the emotional toll of balancing family well-being to the physical demands of daily chores, we'll introduce you to concepts like Emotional Dollars, Energy Checks, and Bandwidth Bills. These innovative metrics are designed to quantify the unseen investments mothers make every day, offering a new way to appreciate and measure the true cost of being a mom.

Join us as we peel back the layers of financial disparity to reveal the real costs and contributions of motherhood. This discussion promises not only to enlighten but also to inspire action and appreciation for the invaluable role mothers play in our lives. Don’t miss this powerful episode as we navigate these critical issues and celebrate the true worth of motherhood.

Key point #1

Imagine the soft glow of morning light spilling across the kitchen where a mother starts her day. It’s early, still quiet, and the coffee brews as she reviews the day’s schedule, packed with the invisible threads of her many roles—caregiver, chauffeur, chef, mediator, nurse, and event planner. This is the backdrop of a typical day for countless mothers, one that often goes unnoticed in its significance and undervalued in its impact.

As she prepares breakfast, her mind races through the logistics of school runs, work deadlines, grocery shopping, and doctor’s appointments. Each task might seem mundane, yet each carries the weight of her family’s well-being. The scene shifts to her at work, where she balances professional responsibilities with the constant pull of maternal duties, her phone always at hand for any emergencies or last-minute changes at home.

But the true measure of her day isn’t just in the tasks she ticks off her list; it’s in the moments in between—comforting a child over lost homework, negotiating peace between siblings, or finding that lost favorite toy. These are the moments that don’t come with a paycheck or a performance review but are critical to the nurturing and stability of her home.

This mother, like so many others, operates in a world where her labor is often sentimentalized but seldom quantified in economic terms. Society’s lens frequently blurs the lines between nurturing as a vocation and the economic value it should command. This discrepancy forms the essence of our discussion today—how the profound, multifaceted labor of motherhood is a cornerstone of our society yet remains one of the least recognized in terms of financial compensation and social acknowledgment.

Through this narrative, I invite you to reflect on the familiar yet overlooked tapestry of motherhood, setting the stage for a deeper conversation about the economic and emotional intricacies that define the daily lives of mothers everywhere.

Key point #2

As we delve into the expansive, often unseen world of motherhood, it's important to acknowledge how challenging it can be to capture the full extent of your contributions. Today, let’s reimagine how your resume might look if you decided to re-enter the workforce to help you see your contributions through the lens of an employer to help you recognize the multitude of tasks you manage every day. What you do with this information is up to you, but I would love for you to share this once you have the opportunity to internalize this information.

In this updated resume, your job title might read as Executive Manager and Chief Operations Officer of your household. Under this role, the resume would list an array of responsibilities that showcase your diverse skill set. You’re not just a Logistics Coordinator, meticulously planning and executing daily schedules, managing school runs, and coordinating family logistics to ensure everyone is where they need to be, equipped with all necessary supplies; you are also the Nurse and Nurturer, caring for the physical and emotional needs of your family, and the Creative Director, researching and selecting family entertainment that caters to each individual's preferences.

I am going to go on but don’t want you to list these on your resume in the way I am displaying them here. This is to give you an idea of your work, not a future employer in the way I am sharing. You can for sure list Executive Manager and Chief Operations Officer on your resume, however. If you need help writing your resume, please join my dream job mom program or email me at

As a Nutrition Specialist, you plan, shop for, and prepare meals that cater to the health and dietary needs of your family, often balancing time constraints and budget considerations.

Your role as a Financial Planner involves managing the household budget, making strategic decisions to stretch finances, and planning for significant future expenses, such as education and healthcare. You’re also an Event Planner, orchestrating birthdays, holidays, and family gatherings, often juggling multiple schedules and managing vendors.

As a Conflict Resolution Expert, you navigate sibling rivalries and household disputes with diplomacy and tact, teaching valuable lessons in communication and empathy. Your daily tasks also include roles like Health and Safety Officer, ensuring the home environment is safe and responding to health emergencies with informed and timely decisions.

The skills section of your resume would be robust, listing high-level competencies such as advanced negotiation skills, crisis management, and expert-level multitasking. Each of these tasks, often taken for granted, involves critical thinking, patience, and immense adaptability—skills that are highly valued in any professional setting.

By reframing the daily tasks of motherhood as professional and valuable skills, your resume not only fills in what some might see as a 'gap' but highlights it as a period of intense, relevant experience. This approach changes the narrative, recognizing the professionalism and value of the work done within the home.

Before we continue our discussion on the economic contributions that women like you make through unpaid childcare and housework, let’s take a moment of mindfulness. During this break, reflect on the skills and tasks you’ve managed today, acknowledging the complexity and importance of your role. After this mindful interlude, we will explore further the unseen economic value that you contribute every day.


Segment: Mindfulness Practice: 

Let's take a moment now for a mindfulness exercise designed to help you, as a mother, ground yourself, feel recognized in your contributions, and find a moment of rest. This will be a time to pause, reflect on your role, and reconnect with the deep-seated motivations—the 'why'—that keeps you moving forward each day.

First, find a comfortable position, whether seated or lying down. Gently close your eyes if that feels comfortable, or simply soften your gaze. Take a deep, slow breath in, filling your lungs completely, and then exhale slowly and fully, releasing any tension you might be holding. Repeat this deep breathing three times, each breath helping you settle deeper into this moment of pause.

Now, with each inhale, imagine breathing in calm and peace. With each exhale, imagine releasing any stress or fatigue that has built up over the day or the week. Allow yourself to feel supported by the ground beneath you, reminding yourself that you are not alone in this journey of motherhood.

As you continue to breathe deeply, bring to mind all the tasks you've completed today, no matter how small. Visualize each task as a thread in the larger tapestry of your family’s life. Each thread is crucial, your efforts weaving stability and love into the day-to-day existence of those you care for. Feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in this visualization, recognizing the significance of your role.

Now, gently ask yourself, "What is my why?" Reflect on what drives you, what gives you strength, and what brings you joy in motherhood. Allow these thoughts to surface naturally, without judgment. It could be a smile from your child, the peace of bedtime routines, or the satisfaction of supporting your family’s needs. Whatever it is, hold these motivations close to your heart.

Take a few more deep breaths, letting these reflections fill you with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. When you feel ready, slowly open your eyes if they were closed, and take a moment to orient yourself back to your surroundings.

Remember, every day you are doing incredible work, often without acknowledgment. This mindfulness pause is a way to honor yourself and your invaluable contributions. Carry this sense of calm and recognition with you as you continue with your day.


Key point #3

Unpaid childcare and housework, often referred to as the "shadow economy" of home labor, represent substantial economic contributions that women like you make every day. While these efforts are seldom recognized in traditional economic analyses or reflected in GDP metrics, their value is immense and multifaceted, encompassing not only direct financial savings but also long-term economic impacts.

The financial value of unpaid childcare and housework can be approached by estimating what it would cost to outsource these services. For childcare alone, the national average cost can range significantly, often running into thousands of dollars per month. If you are providing care yourself, you are effectively saving your family this substantial amount of money. The same goes for other domestic tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and managing the household. Professional services for these tasks—cleaning services, personal chefs, and home management consultants—can also accumulate considerable costs.

Beyond direct savings, your work in the home also has a ripple effect on the broader economy. By nurturing and educating your children, you are contributing to the development of future workers and consumers. The time and effort you invest in your children’s early education and social development are foundational to their success as productive adults, impacting economic outcomes far into the future.

Moreover, by managing household tasks efficiently, you enable other household members, like your partner or older children, to engage more fully in paid work or educational opportunities, thereby increasing the overall income potential of the family. This redistribution of tasks allows for a more optimized allocation of time and resources within the family unit, potentially leading to better job retention and career advancement for wage-earning family members.

However, the hidden costs of unpaid labor are also significant. The time and energy you invest in unpaid work can limit your opportunities for paid work, further education, or professional development. We will circle back to this, so hold on.

This trade-off often affects retirement savings, social security benefits, and overall financial independence. Moreover, the lack of formal recognition for household labor means that this work is not accounted for in measures of economic productivity, skewing perceptions of economic contribution and worth.

Recognizing the full economic value of your contributions involves not only acknowledging the cost savings and economic impact but also advocating for societal and policy changes that recognize and compensate unpaid household labor. Potential policies might include credits toward social security for time spent in unpaid care roles, direct financial recognitions such as caregiver allowances, and more substantial support systems for mothers and caregivers, including accessible childcare and healthcare.

Understanding and articulating these contributions can help shift how society values unpaid work, leading to greater appreciation and potentially transformative economic and social policies. It’s essential to bring these discussions to the forefront, ensuring that the significant contributions women like you make through unpaid childcare and housework are recognized and valued. Let me show you how, but first let me tell you about one of my programs I am very excited about.



Welcome, dear listeners. Do you ever feel like your days are just a never-ending checklist, leaving you yearning for moments that truly enrich your soul? I get it. You're not just a mom; you're the heartbeat of your home, deserving of a life that's as complex and fulfilling as you are. That's why I'm inviting you to a journey of transformation in my 90-day coaching program called "Reclaim Your Time, Renew Your Spirit."

Picture a life where your daily obligations transform into soul-filling activities. Imagine crossing the threshold of your home and feeling a sigh of relief wash over you, rather than a tidal wave of stress. And yes, even envision a household where responsibilities are shared equally, reflecting the unique strengths and needs of each family member. That's right—in this program, we'll take time to explore what equality in the home really means for you and your loved ones, helping you to build a more balanced, joyful domestic life.

This isn't your typical coaching program; it's a collective journey toward soulful, meaningful living. From day one, you'll dive deep, not just into your daily to-dos, but into your dreams, your desires, and the very essence of what makes you 'you.' We'll explore everything from color-coded time-blocking worksheets to meal planning with recipes that bring more than just food to the table—they bring joy. 

We'll guide you through decluttering your spaces, both physical and emotional, creating room for new growth. And let's not forget self-care; we'll delve into what that truly looks like for you, making it an unshakable pillar of your daily life. All of this unfolds in a nurturing community of like-minded moms, each on her own path to transformation.

As we wrap up our time together, we'll focus on recognizing your intrinsic worth, nourishing your relationships, and even explore how creating space for yourself contributes to a happier, healthier life and partnership. This is more than a program; it's a launchpad into a life where you thrive in every sense of the word.

Ready to embark on this transformative journey? Join the waitlist now at Your new chapter is just around the corner, and it starts today.


Key point #4: 

Recognizing the full economic value of your contributions as a mother involves both understanding the financial impact of your work and actively advocating for change in how society values unpaid labor. Here are some actionable steps you can take to raise awareness and push for policies that better support mothers and caregivers:

Educate Yourself and Others: Start by learning more about the economic value of unpaid household labor and childcare. Share articles, studies, and infographics on social media to educate others about the financial worth of this work. The more people understand, the greater the push for change.

Join or Form Support Groups: Connect with or establish local or online groups focused on motherhood and economic equality. These groups can serve as powerful platforms for sharing experiences, providing support, and organizing collective actions or campaigns aimed at recognizing and compensating unpaid labor. I am a member of IAMAS and am presenting a workshop at their conference in Boston next month.

Advocate for Policy Changes: Reach out to your local representatives and advocate for specific policies that support unpaid caregivers. This might include pushing for credits toward social security for time spent in caregiving roles, advocating for caregiver allowances, or lobbying for more accessible childcare and healthcare solutions. A smaller way to do this is to vote for those who believe in these changes.

Participate in Surveys and Studies: Engage with academic and policy-making bodies conducting research on unpaid labor by participating in surveys and studies. Your contributions can provide valuable data that highlight the need for policy changes.

Raise Public Awareness: Write op-eds, blog posts, or letters to editors of local newspapers expressing the need for societal change regarding unpaid labor. Highlighting personal stories and concrete data can make a compelling case to a wider audience.

Support Legislative Efforts: Keep informed about legislative efforts aimed at improving support for mothers and unpaid caregivers. Voting for and supporting policies that aim to recognize and compensate unpaid work can lead to significant changes at both local and national levels.

By taking these steps, you not only contribute to a broader understanding of the economic value of motherhood but also participate actively in advocating for societal and policy changes. This proactive approach can help shift how society values unpaid work, fostering greater appreciation and leading to transformative economic and social policies. Your voice is powerful—use it to champion the recognition and valuation of the work you and countless other women perform daily.


To address the significant hidden costs of unpaid labor that many mothers face, which can limit opportunities for paid work, further education, or personal development, let’s explore a practical lifehack designed to help you reclaim some of these lost opportunities. This lifehack revolves around the concept of "micro-investments" in your personal and professional growth. These are small, manageable actions that can be integrated into your daily routine without overwhelming your already busy schedule.

Time Blocking for Personal Development:

   Start by identifying small pockets of time throughout your week that can be dedicated exclusively to your personal growth. This might be early in the morning before the household wakes up, during nap times, or even while waiting during kids’ activities. Use these blocks for activities that contribute to your professional skills, such as online courses, reading industry-related articles, or even listening to educational podcasts. This method helps ensure that you’re consistently dedicating time to your own development without drastically shifting your family’s routine.

Virtual Networking:

   Leverage social media and professional platforms like LinkedIn to connect with peers, mentors, and industry leaders. Engage actively by joining groups, participating in discussions, and attending virtual webinars or meetups. This can help you stay updated with industry trends and opportunities without requiring you to attend in-person events, which might be difficult to manage.

Skill Swap:

   Partner with other moms in your community or online who have skills you want to learn and vice versa. For example, if you're proficient in a foreign language and another mom is a graphic designer, you can offer to teach each other your respective skills. This exchange can be a fun, social, and productive way to learn something new and make valuable connections.

Incremental Learning:

   Invest in bite-sized learning opportunities. There are numerous platforms that offer courses in manageable segments, allowing you to learn a new skill or subject without needing to commit to long hours of study. These small increments can add up to significant knowledge gains over time and can be more feasible to fit into a busy schedule.

Reflection and Goal Setting:

   Regularly set aside time to reflect on your goals and progress. This could be as simple as a monthly coffee date with yourself to review what you’ve learned and adjust your goals accordingly. Writing down these reflections and achievements can also boost your motivation and clarity.

By incorporating these micro-investments into your daily life, you can begin to counteract some of the professional and educational limitations imposed by unpaid labor. This approach allows you to build skills and network incrementally, aligning with your current responsibilities but also paving the way for future opportunities. We will explore more on how to apply these hacks effectively, so hold on as we continue to uncover ways to navigate and balance the demands of motherhood with personal growth.

Key point #5:

Today, I want to share some deep truths about the economic challenges that touch the lives of mothers everywhere, beginning with the all-too-familiar Gender Pay Gap. This isn't just about numbers on a paycheck. It's about how these numbers shape the lives of families, affecting everything from who pays the bills to who saves for college. Despite years of conversation and supposed progress, women still earn markedly less than men across most sectors, and this gap has barely budged over the last twenty years. This enduring inequality means less money for family expenses, fewer opportunities for personal growth, and a compromised future. It's a clear sign that the value we place on women's work, both in offices and homes, is still not where it needs to be.

Let's talk about the Pink Tax, another burden that quietly chips away at financial security. It's not just a few extra cents here and there—women face higher prices on everything from razors to jeans. For single moms or those who stay at home, the impact is even more pronounced, making it harder to stretch budgets that are already tight due to the gender pay gap. Recognizing how this tax affects your spending is the first step towards pushing back against these hidden costs.

Then there's the Division of Labor at Home. In so many households, including those with part-time and full-time moms, and in many same-sex couples, it's typically the more feminine partner who ends up doing more of the childcare and housework. This isn't just about sticking to old roles; it's about the real toll this takes on someone's health, career, and personal growth. It's vital that we see this not just as 'how things are' but as something that needs to change, to allow for fairer, healthier home lives for everyone involved.

To truly understand the value of what mothers do, let's consider Emotional Dollars, Energy Checks, and Bandwidth Bills. These aren't just clever names; they're a way to measure the enormous mental, physical, and emotional investment mothers make every day. Emotional dollars might reflect the countless decisions made to keep the family happy and healthy, energy checks could capture the sheer physical work involved in parenting and maintaining a home, and bandwidth bills represent the time that gets filled with family tasks, time that could otherwise go towards personal ambitions.

By talking openly about these challenges, I hope to deepen our understanding of the real, substantial contributions that mothers make. Recognizing this labor is just the beginning. We need to start by valuing this work within our own homes, in our day-to-day interactions. From there, we can push for the societal and policy changes needed to truly support and compensate mothers for the incredible roles they fulfill. It's about building a world where the work done in the quiet corners of our homes is as valued as the work done in the busiest offices. Let's start that change today. 


Segment: Coaching Questions

Now that we've explored some of the crucial economic and emotional challenges facing mothers today, let’s transition into a more reflective space. Here are ten coaching questions designed to help you think deeply about your own experiences and consider ways you might advocate for change or better balance in your life:

1. How has the gender pay gap affected your financial planning and career choices? Can you see its impact on your long-term financial security?

2. In what ways have you noticed the pink tax influencing your household expenses? Are there specific areas where you feel you're paying more just because you are a woman?

3. Reflect on the division of labor in your home. How equitable is the distribution of household and childcare duties? How does this affect your personal and professional life?

4. What changes would you like to see in your household to create a more balanced division of labor? How could these changes improve your well-being and that of your family?

5. Think about the concept of Emotional Dollars. What emotional and mental labor do you invest in your family that often goes unrecognized?

6. Considering Energy Checks, what physical tasks demand the most from you daily? How could these be better supported or shared within your household?

7. Evaluate the Bandwidth Bills you've incurred. How has dedicating time to unpaid labor affected your personal growth or career development?

8. How can you begin to advocate for recognition of the unseen labor you perform, both within your own family and in broader societal discussions?

9. What societal or policy changes would most benefit you or other mothers in your community? How can you contribute to making these changes happen?

10. Reflect on your personal values and the role they play in how you balance work, life, and family responsibilities. How can aligning your daily activities more closely with these values improve your quality of life?

These questions are designed to help you reflect on your situation and consider practical steps toward personal fulfillment and systemic change.


Episode summary:  

In the latest episode of "Wellness in Every Season," titled "The True Worth of Motherhood: Beyond the Pay Gap and Pink Tax," we delved into the economic challenges that disproportionately affect mothers. We examined the persistent gender pay gap and the pink tax, highlighting how these issues extend beyond mere financial disparities to significantly impact family dynamics and personal well-being.

We also explored the often invisible labors of motherhood, from the emotional toll of balancing family well-being to the physical demands of daily chores. By introducing innovative concepts like Emotional Dollars, Energy Checks, and Bandwidth Bills, we shed light on the unseen investments mothers make every day. This discussion aimed not only to raise awareness but also to inspire a deeper appreciation and recognition of the substantial contributions mothers make.

Don't forget to subscribe to "Wellness in Every Season" so you don’t miss next week’s interview with Mom Coach Alysia Lyons. We'll dive into her journey to becoming a coach and discuss her signature peace assessment. After experiencing a session with her today, I came away with several actionable items and a clearer sense of the direction I'm headed. Join us to discover insights that could enhance your own path to peace and well-being.



Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode. I'm Autumn Carter, guiding you through motherhood's seasons. I hope today's discussion inspired you and offered valuable insights.

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