Quote Origin: Mother — One of the Highest-Salaried Jobs in Any Field, Since the Payment is Pure Love

Mildred B. Vermont? Marian Inman? Apocryphal?

Mother and child from Unsplash

Question for Quote Investigator: Motherhood is stressful and tiring, but the rewards are remarkable. One delighted mother said something like the following:

Being a mother is one of the highest salaried positions since the payment is pure love.

Would you please help me to determine the author and find a citation?

Reply from Quote Investigator: Mildred B. Vermont was an editor at a national magazine when she became pregnant at the age of thirty-three. She initially planned to return to her job after giving birth. However, she decided to spend more time with her child who was named Peter. She continued to work part time as a freelance writer. She described her experiences in a piece published in “Today’s Health” magazine in March 1954. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:1

I have gained, not lost, by this new orientation toward my family. I have not given up my work. I simply arrange the schedule so that I can spend several hours each day at my typewriter . . .

Someday when Peter is grown up, I shall perhaps think again of the old career, the full-time job in the vigorous “outside world.” Until then I am content to be a full-time mother, one of the highest-salaried jobs in any field, since the payment is pure love.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

The editor of “Quote: The Weekly Digest” saw the quotation and reprinted it in April 1954 within the category “Motherhood”. The phrasing was streamlined with two parenthetical words:2

(Being) a full-time mother (is) one of the highest-salaried jobs in any field, since the payment is pure love. MILDRED B VERMONT “Child vs Career,” Today’s Health.

In May 1954 the entry above was reprinted in a column discussing motherhood within a Longview, Washington newspaper.3

In 1955 “The Lawton Constitution” of Oklahoma printed the quotation; however, the parentheses were removed. Thus, the phrasing was slightly inaccurate:4

An old proverb familiar to all of us goes like this “God could not be everywhere, and so he made mothers.”

But, in our way of thinking, this is about the best one: “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest-salaried jobs in any field, since the payment is pure love,” in the words of Mildred B. Vermont.

In 1960 “The Richmond News Leader” of Vermont printed the quotation without the parentheses:5

Author Mildred B. Vermont: “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest-salaried jobs in the world, since the payment is pure love.”

In 1967 columnist Marian Inman of Algona, Iowa printed a version without the word “full-time” and without attribution:6

Mothers have been known to officiate at the last rites of tadpoles, birds and you name it. Mothers can cook, make beds, press shirts and arrange budgets. Mothers, these nice young mothers are a comfort to husband and children. Being a Mother is one of the highest-salaried jobs in any field, since the payment is pure love.

Also, in 1967 a columnist in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania published a version without the word “pure”:7

A little girl told me. “My Mommy has the prettiest face in all the world.” Mothers, wouldn’t that be a wonderful compliment to receive from your child? “Being a full time mother is one of the highest-salaried jobs in any field, since the payment is love.” wrote Mildred B. Vermont.

In 1987 Bill Adler published a collection of quotations titled “Motherhood: A Celebration” which included the following item:8

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.

In conclusion, Mildred B. Vermont deserves credit for the words she wrote in 1954. Her quotation was streamlined when it was reprinted in “Quote: The Weekly Digest”, and it was subsequently rephrased slightly.

Image Notes: Picture of a mother and child from Arifur Rahman at Unsplash. The image has been cropped and resized.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Debra Moffitt whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Moffitt told QI that the quotation had been attributed to Mildred B. Vermont.

Update History: On January 28, 2024 the citation dated May 12, 1967 was added to the article.

  1. 1954 March, Today’s Health, Volume 32, Number 3, Child vs. Career by Mildred B. Vermont, Start Page 30, Quote Page 62, Column 3, American Medical Association, Chicago, Illinois. (Verified with scans) ↩︎
  2. 1954 April 25, Quote: The Weekly Digest, Volume 27, Number 17, Topic: Motherhood, Quote Page 8, Column 2, Published by Maxwell Droke, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Verified with scans) ↩︎
  3. 1954 May 8, Longview Daily News, Bunk: About Mothers, Quote Page 4, Column 8, Longview, Washington. (Newspapers_com) ↩︎
  4. 1955 May 1, The Lawton Constitution And Morning Press, This I Heard by Lucile Creswell Potter (Woman’s Page Editor), Section B, Quote Page 2, Column 2, Lawton, Oklahoma. (Newspapers_com) ↩︎
  5. 1960 May 5, The Richmond News Leader, ‘M’ Is Also for the Many Things They Say About Her by Ralph Steiner (WNS Women’s News Service), Quote Page 29, Column 1, Richmond, Virginia. (Newspapers_com) ↩︎
  6. 1967 May 8, Algona Kossuth County Advance, “Ink In My Veins” by Marian Inman, Quote Page 6, Column 1, Algona, Iowa. (Newspapers_com) ↩︎
  7. 1967 May 12, Public Opinion, The Feminine Look:
    Honoring Mother by Marie Gipe, Quote Page 14, Column 3, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com) ↩︎
  8. 1987, Motherhood: A Celebration by Bill Adler, Part II: Born of Woman, Quote Page 27, Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York. (Verified with scans) ↩︎
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