|Get the tea ready Mabel, the guests are here. Pic Credit: SimoneySunday|
Although I cook every night, I do not always load the dishwasher or wash up afterwards. I might not clean my windows for months. Ironing is a pile I like to play Jenga with. If I struggle with just a husband and a cat, how much more must home-makers struggle to juggle child-raising, cleaning, tidying, budgeting and part-time or home working?
While I have heard comments from (non-married people, generally), saying 'they have it easy' and 'I'd like to lounge around all day watching Jeremy Kyle' in relation to SAHMs and SAHDs, I disagree. I think they do an amazing job.
They deserve a medal! Or actually £19,000 at the minimum - according to Liverpool Victoria (LV= as it is now known).
The life and pension provider recently carried out a survey which found that homemakers work an average of 56 hours a week, not including childcare duties.
Although one in three breadwinners feel stay-at-home role is ‘easy’ (HA! I wonder how many of my SAHM friends would think it's 'easy'??!), the average British household would have to find £364 a week (£19,000 a year, based on the minimum wage) to pay for extra help if the homemaker became ill or injured.
In fact, LV= discovered that the average housewife or househusband has a working week that is 17 hours longer than their at-work partner, if we exclude travel time.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the average number of hours worked by full-time employees a week was 39.2 in 2014 (Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, ONS, 2014). This is 16.8 hours a week less than LV's research, which was carried out by pollsters Opinium.
LV= found that full time homemakers spend an average of 56 hours a week covering essential household duties such as cooking and laundry.
What’s more, on average homemakers with children face an additional six hours a day providing childcare.
While cooking (1h 47m), cleaning (1h 45m) and laundry (1h 30m) are the most time-consuming chores, ‘keeping house’ also includes wider tasks such as shopping for essentials (1h 23m), mentoring children with homework (1h 8m), gardening (1h 4m), transporting family members (56m) and other tasks including house admin, including paying bills, managing finances and home improvements (1h 41m).
I'm quite dizzy just thinking about it. But LV= is not just highlighting the importance of SAHMs or SAHD to the overall working of the household.
It is highlighting the fact that most people do not have even £19,000 savings set aside in case of a financial emergency.
People do not even have proper life cover. Yes most people who work for a large or medium sized employer will have some form of life assurance - 3x or 4x salary is a general rule (don't tell the Merman) - but this is only in the event of death. What about unemployment or illness? The State will not support people any longer.
Therefore, it is worth checking out what else your employer offers. It may be that you can have an additional income or critical illness policy through the workplace, though this would be a benefit in kind. Some policies can allow the working partner to take out additional cover for their SAHM or SAHD.
Other life and protection providers could cover individuals against critical illness, injury and inability to work for just £10 a month.
The Seven Families Campaign has been drawing attention to the difference that it can make to everyday people to have proper life cover and critical illness and income protection in place, whether it is because the working partner gets made redundant, or the SAHP (Stay at home Parent) has become too ill to continue making the household function.
It is never too late to start thinking about getting a form of income protection or critical illness cover. Most advisers will be able to direct people in the right direction; at the very least, there are plenty of information sites available online, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Money Advice Service and Seven Families that can help you work out your protection needs.