As the U.S. Department of Labor styles it, Labor Day “constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” But there’s one category of labor that tends to get overlooked — the uncompensated labor of moms and dads whose primary occupation is child-rearing and managing their households.
As any stay-at-home parent will tell you, there’s little down time. There’s the obvious work of caring for a child, which is particularly intensive in the years before he or she starts school. But the job also typically requires maintaining a household, fulfilling a host of duties such as cleaning, shopping, meal prep and managing the family’s finances and schedules. It’s not uncommon, either, for stay-at-home parents to take on elder-care duties when relatives become infirm.