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Your father may be your hero, but his value takes a hit when we look at tasks he does around the home, according to Insure.com’s 2012 Father’s Day Index.

The index, which takes a look at jobs associated with fatherhood, found that the paycheck for Dad’s domestic tasks this year would be $20,248.

Insure.com’s recent Mother’s Day Index placed the value of Mom’s role at home at $60,182. The tasks we associate with fathers — like handling family finances, moving furniture, removing pests and mowing the lawn — could be done for just 34 percent of the cost of hiring someone to perform all the cooking, driving and cleaning done by Mom.  See Dad’s tasks and compensation below, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

The 2012 Father's Day IndexInsure.com’s wage analysis can’t measure the value of pushing a swing or carrying someone on your shoulders. Yet those experiences form the priceless memories of childhood.

Also, dads often are the primary breadwinners through their work outside the home. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research says female workers are fighting a gender gap in the workplace. On average, they earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, the institute reported in 2010. That’s why it’s important for fathers to carry adequate life insurance. When a father dies unexpectedly, most female heads of households find it difficult to match his earning power.

Despite their need for life insurance protection, only 61 percent of men held life insurance policies in 2010, says LIMRA, a global insurance research and consulting firm.

Added value

Like women, men today are struggling to balance the demands of a changing workplace with the challenges of raising children, says Bruce Linton, author ofBecoming a Dad: How Fatherhood Changes Men.” A marriage and family therapist, Linton says moms and dads are evolving as they share the duties of earning a living while caring for homes and families. Many men have come to realize that it is more fulfilling to be a good husband and father than to be a success in the workplace.

Despite a value of little more than $20,000 around the house, fatherhood “opens men up to a greater potential for what they can be in the world,” Linton says.

Karen Ruskin — a relationship and parenting expert who practices family therapy in Massachusetts — agrees.

“The fact is that fathers are more than just a paycheck,” Ruskin says. “Being a man means that you are supportive of your spouse and your children’s life journey.” 

The new glass ceiling

Linton sees a new “glass ceiling” – this one for men.

“I think the glass ceiling for men is the world of the home,” says Linton “There has been a movement going on for the last 25 years or so for dads who not only want to be able to bring home the bacon, they actually want to be able to sit down at the table and eat it with their family.”

Many men who were compelled by circumstances to help care for their children now enjoy their domestic lives, he adds. “It may have started out as a necessity to be more involved with the home. What I see is men who actually become very attached to being with their children and see the value of that.”

Dad job BLS occupation used Hours per week/weeks per year BLS mean hourly wage
Barbecuing Cooks, All Other 3 hrs./52 weeks $       11.99
Driving Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 9 hrs./52 weeks $       12.03
Helping with homework Teachers and Instructors, All Other 10 hrs./40 weeks $       17.91
Family finances Accountants and auditors 0.5 hrs./52 weeks $       33.72
Mowing the lawn, landscaping, snow removal Grounds Maintenance Workers, All Other 2 hr./52 weeks $       14.07
Moving furniture Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 30 mins/month $       12.62
Car maintenance Automotive service technicians and mechanics 20 hours a year $       18.54
Coaching a team Coaches and scouts 40 hours/year $       17.47
Scout leader Recreation Workers 50 hours/year $       12.18
Assembly of toys, bookshelves, etc. Assemblers and Fabricators, All Other 30 hours/year $       14.16
Pest removal (spiders, gross bugs) Pest control workers 4 hours/year $       15.65
Handyman Maintenance and repair workers, general 4 hrs/month $       17.75
Plumber Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 30 mins/month $       24.92

Dad’s 2012 value: $20,248

Wage source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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