When She Brings Home the Bacon

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?

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6 thoughts on “When She Brings Home the Bacon

  1. Sorry – I can’t help you on this one. I was from an era where the man provided for the woman. And then as my life changed later on in the years, then we both deposited our funds in the same account and bills, fun and activities came from the one source. Good luck on this.

  2. I know from some of our previous discussions that you are happier now in your journalism job. That is giving a tremendous amount to your family. The fact that you are able to give Will a happy home environment and you have hours that allow you to take care of him is an enormous contribution to your family. I am the “bread winner” so to speak at our home so I can’t really relate to your situation. I do know that you are just as important as MJ and you should be proud of your contributions.

  3. I’m the breadwinner in our house too. And I work for a non-profit so you can imagine the quality of our bread :-/

    He stays at home and I work. Sometimes I get shit from people because their own idea of how it should be differs from mine. He hasn’t worked since he got out of the Army. Sometimes, for shits and giggles, I call him a freelance writer. Which he would be if I could convince him to publish any of it, lol. There is, of course, many other circumstances that contributed to our current arrangement. The key is in not letting others opinions and judgments determine how you see your situation. If everyone in the household is happy, go with it.

  4. I’ve been a stay at home dad for over a year now and Mrs D is the sole breadwinner. She loves her job and works in a far better paid industry than I did – this has never bothered me, she went to university and studied hard to get where she is now.

    Before our daughter arrived we talked about our working situation at length. After doing a few sums it became clear that if I carried on working after our daughter was born, my salary would just cover childcare costs and my commute to work. With that in mind, becoming a stay at home dad seemed like a bit of a no-brainer, neither of us were particularly keen on the childcare idea anyway.

    I know how you feel about “slacking off”, I wish that I was still contributing financially. Some of my male friends (the ones without kids) think I’m the luckiest man alive and have it easy. I’m quick to point out that becoming a parent and losing a salary is not easy in anybody’s book. Having said all this, I’m really enjoying spending so much time with my daughter, I know in this respect I really am lucky.

    We’re fortunate that Mrs D works pretty close so gets to see our daughter before & after work. At weekends I’ll take a bit more of a back seat and let them spend more time together – it’s nice for me to have a break too!

    I guess I’d just ignore what convention says, if both parents are happy with the working arrangements and are actively involved with raising their kids then it’s all good…

  5. i think your wife would let you know if she wanted to be a stay at home mama. based off of what i’ve read, it kinda sounds like she would go nuts being at home all day everyday after a while!

    trust me, it wears on me (cabin fever aughh! lol)… but.. i saw that we were doing okay enough for me to stay at home and i let dave know that i’d rather have to cut back on things than miss out on her babyhood.. david let me do it. she’d let you know if it really bothered her that much.

    when my daughter is old enough to go to school and i go back to work (or if i do before then), if i just so happen to make more than dave (HAHA YEAH RIGHT – i don’t have near the experience in anything that he does, but just sayin’), then i will be more than happy to give back to him! it would be the least i could do!

    you guys have a pretty good set up, from what i can tell : ). and i don’t know her.. but i get the feeling MJ is happier working than not…

  6. My wife makes more money than I do, too, but I’m okay with that. So long as she doesn’t try to control the money and refuse me access to it, I don’t care.

    It was good to meet you the other day, despite the weather!

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