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Editorial: Utah moms especially due a lot of appreciation

Published May 11, 2014 11:45 am

Salt Lake a good place to be a mom?
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There's an old joke about a job listing that specifies applicants must be willing to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with very little vacation time — ever. The job offers no 401(k); indeed, it lacks any chance of retirement.

It includes such tasks as toilet cleaning, laundering, gardening and mopping up after small bosses who demand total commitment even when they are disgusting, belligerent and disrespectful and constantly change the rules.

The punch line is that women are lining up around the globe for one of these seemingly unappealing positions — and, by the way, they are unpaid.

Of course the title is "mother," and the sometimes insanity-inducing little bosses are children, who also, by the way, are continuing sources of the only compensation for all the work: love and pride.

Mothers are often in the news: when the government cuts safety nets out from under them — at it has tried to do relentlessly in recent years — when more of them decide to leave careers and choose, instead, to be stay-at-home moms, as a recent report indicated is happening more often these days.

But when they single-handedly raise good, productive kids, without help in the form of a higher minimum wage or extended unemployment benefits, they do it mostly in silence.

In Utah, despite a new report that ranks Salt Lake City second among the best large cities in the nation to be a mom, women, including mothers, both married and single, have a tough row to hoe.

The report came from creditdonkey.com. It obviously wasn't trying to show how tough it is to be a mother in any particular city, as such data as women's pay and poverty rates were given half the weight of the percentage of households that have women who have children. As the website explains, when there are so many moms, it's easier to find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.

More Utah women, including married and single mothers, work than the national average, but their wages are below the national average and just 70 cents for every dollar paid to working men. The gap between the percentage of men and women with college degrees is much higher than the national average, too.

Still, the report notes, Salt Lake City has relatively low-cost child care. (Could that have something to do with low wages for child-care workers, mostly women?) And Salt Lake City's poverty rate, though nearly 41 percent among moms and rising, is not as high as in other large cities.

Utah has the largest families in the nation, and according to this report, the capital is one of the U.S. cities with the most moms. So, based simply on the amount of mothering done here, there's a lot of appreciation due on this Mother's Day.