I read an interesting article online about women becoming the primary breadwinner in an increasing number of marriages. For some couples this may constitute a change, but in the Daddy Files household it’s been there for a few years.
I used to work with my dad as a stainless steel salesman. I made better money and I knew if I stayed there my salary would increase exponentially in a matter of just a few years. But even though I loved working with my dad, I hated sales. It just wasn’t for me. So I quit and took a sizable pay cut to go back to journalism. When I did that, MJ became the breadwinner and it’s been that way ever since. And if I stay in journalism, it will always be that way.
At first I had a real problem with it. After all, I’m the man. I’m supposed to bring home the bacon. I’m supposed to be the work-a-holic, allowing for my wife to stay home with the kids. It took me awhile to adjust to things, but now I know there’s nothing wrong with our situation.
Instead of being pissed that I don’t make more money, I’m proud of my wife for having the ability to earn a good paycheck. In a male-dominated working environment, she’s managed to propel herself up the ranks to manager. In her former job at the godawful Bank of America, she was a top performer twice and earned trips to Arizona and the Bahamas. Now she’s at Citizens Bank as a manager where I’m sure she will earn similar accolades.
Her job keeps us going, plain and simple. I work full-time too, but the good thing about my job is the flexibility. I work some nights and I’m usually able to adjust my schedule in a pinch. Sure I don’t make much (most journalists don’t) but every little bit helps.
Besides, I get to spend more time with Will that I probably wouldn’t if I was the breadwinner. I take care of him every morning and get him to daycare. I also pick him up at night and I’m in charge of his dinner. MJ takes over when she gets home, conducting bathtime and bedtime rituals.
But there are down sides.
She works a lot. She leaves before Will wakes up and she’s usually home an hour or so before he goes to bed. I know she wants to spend more time with Will and sometimes she’s disappointed when she feels like she’s gone 3-4 days without really seeing him. During those times I can see it in her eyes that she wishes she was a stay-at-home mom, and that puts a few chinks in my armor of masculinity.
I want to give my wife and son everything. And because society puts such an emphasis on men being able to contribute financially to the family, sometimes I feel like I’m slacking off in that regard. But with the changing of the guard and the emerging idea of being equal partners in parenting, I realized it has to be a two-way street. So if fathers are expected to share all of the parenting duties normally reserved for women, then women should be taking on more of a role as a breadwinner right?
What do you guys think?