It’s often said a stay-at-home parent is the hardest job in the world but with most stay-at-home mums or dads being paid nothing, they are possibly the most undervalued workers in the country. New research by Royal London has revealed the actual costs of employing a full-time homemaker.

It estimates the average homemaker spends 15 hours a week cooking; 15 hours ferrying children around by car and 10 hours cleaning the house. They also provide 25 hours of child-minding, 2 hours of gardening, 5 hours of tutoring to kids and another 5 hours doing general maintenance around the house.

Employing a child-minder for 25 hours and paying them €9 an hour would cost €225 a week. A driver to bring the children to and from school and to activities at €10 an hour for 15 hours costs €150. Getting a cleaner to work 10 hours a week at €9 an hour would cost a further €90.

So, the total cost of all unpaid work carried out by stay-at-home mums and dads is a massive €40,560 a year.

The problem is that stay-at-home Moms and Dads tend to undervalue themselves or worse still, actually place no monetary value on their role.

The most recent figures from the CSO reveal that the number of people that class their economic status as “Looking after home/family” has declined steadily over the last three decades. In 1986 there were 653,843 people in this category, in 2011 the number had nearly halved to 339,918. The number of women working in the home is also down, from 653,398 in 1986 to 321,878 in 2011. However, males are bucking this trend and the numbers ‘looking after the home’ full-time have risen steadily from 445 in 1986, to 18,040 in 2011. It’s believed the official figures could be understating the real situation because some men may be uncomfortable classifying their “stay-at-home” role.

Of the 339,918 people working in the home, it is estimated that more than 230,000 have children. Despite the hefty cost of replacing a stay-at-home parent in the event of death, most homemakers don’t have adequate life cover.