This Just In: Stay-At-Home-Moms in the 1% May Be Getting ‘Wife Bonuses’

posted: 05/19/15
Wife Bonus
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Is incentive necessary in the world of parenthood?

When you're the type of mom who's throwing on her Target jeans and picking Cheerio bits out of her hair, it's easy to spot the women who are working with a little bit more in their bank accounts. You know them - the woman at the gym whose workout outfit costs more than the sum of your entire wardrobe, or your neighbor who is always jetting off to girlfriend trips in exotic locales.

It turns out these woman may be getting a boost from their "wife bonus," an idea revealed in a recent New York Times. If you, like me, are unfamiliar with this term, it's basically a bonus a woman receives from her (we're assuming wealthy) husband based on "how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a "good" school -- the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks."

As the author puts it, these well-educated, extremely capable women run their homes (and their families) as if they were the CEOs. And, they also get rewarded like them. If you're familiar with "Unbreakable Kimmy Schimidt," think of Jane Krawkowski's character Jacquline Voorhees, who hosted a birthday party for her 4-year-old that was more elaborate than my future wedding.

image via Shelia Media

We're betting only the top 1 percent of women receive a "wife bonus," and - who knows? - it might even be a joke. But you can probably relate to the fact that motherhood can be a thankless job and worthy of, um, incentives.

And, believe it or not, you have even gotten a "wife bonus" yourself. Your husband may not be as formal as the men described in the New York Times article, but he may buy you gifts to celebrate your hard work. Only, you'd never look at them as a "bonus" - they were a token of appreciation. Was the mini vacation he planned after you organized the school's charity event a reward? It's definitely something to think about.

I have no problem with spouses doing nice things for each other, but in the "wife bonus" set-up, the woman is still completely dependent on her husband's evaluation. Does a woman who receives a wife bonus get an official assessment? Do she and her husband discuss the ROI at the dinner table, perhaps year-over-year goals, do they quote Office Space and ask themselves "is this good for the company?"

Marriage is tough, and everyone has a different way of making it work, but I think I'd prefer to not feel like my husband is my boss and not have him judge my worth based on how I clean the house. What do you think?