It's a familiar scene this time of year: A mom, a stroller, two babies and six giant bags filled with gifts ripping at the seams. The mom hauls it all up a busy New York City street and finally makes it to the door of her building where the doorman relieves her of a few of the bags and carries them to the elevator and pushes the button for her floor.
The doorman will receive a $200 tip from that mom this Christmas for his help all year long. The mom? Well, hopefully the kids and her husband will like the gifts.
It's the time of year when people simultaneously fret about who and how much to tip -- the doorman, the dog walker, the cleaning people, the baby sitter, the hairdresser -- and what to give mom, the hardest person to shop for.
So how come we never think about tipping mom?
According to the Emily Post Institute "holiday tipping is really thanking." If that's true, mom deserves a big tip.
"All these people we monetarily thank during the holidays are doing the job they are paid to do," said Troy Remick, mom of five.
Maybe that's part of the issue. Because moms aren't actually paid for the job, there's no base on which to determine an appropriate amount to tip.
According to Salary.com's 2013 annual salary survey for moms, a stay-at-home mom should be paid $113,568 per year for their work in the home -- an average of 94 hours per week. A mom that works outside the home? She should get $67,436 for her 58 hours of work per week at home. That's in addition to the salary she collects for working 40 hours per week outside the home.
The Emily Post Institute recommends the following tipping guidelines. For the cleaning person, one week's pay. For the dog walker, one week's pay. For the beauty salon staff, the cost of one visit. For the nanny, one week's pay.
But in an unscientific survey of mom friends, none actually wanted to be tipped this holiday season. Not one.
Parenting, said Michelle Douglas Carroll, is "done out of love. Appreciation and support would be the best tips."
Libby Conover agreed. No tips necessary, but to be "certainly remembered and appreciated."
And maybe a little break would be nice too. Alice Gomstyn, a baby blogger at Babble.com and Mildly Inappropriate Mommy said "I would like to be tipped not with cash but with sleep. If someone could take about a week's worth of good night's sleep and stuff it in envelope for me, I'd be the happiest, bright-eyed mommy in the world."