Gone are the days of the woman having dinner on the table, the evening drink ready for their man, the house cleaned and children raised in the home.
To think, women were only 7 percent of primary breadwinners in 1970!
Excerpt from Heather Boushey’s article called, The New Breadwinners:
Clearly, the days of Ozzie and Harriet are long gone. Within married-couple families, the typical working wife now brings home 42.2 percent of her family’s earnings.14 And women increasingly are the primary breadwinners. In 2008, nearly 4 in 10 mothers (39.3 percent) were the primary breadwinner in their familyâ€”either because they were a single, working parent or because they earned as much as or more than their spouse. An additional quarter (24.0 percent) of mothers are co-breadwinnersâ€”that is, a working wife bringing home at least 25 percent of her family’s total earnings (see Figure 2 and Table 1). 15
But one thing hasn’t moved forward as quickly, the traditional gender roles. Household chores and childrearing activities still primarily are held with the woman. The balance of labor just isn’t divided equally, and a woman comes home from a long day of work and still has to do the chores. In fact, about 2/3rds of the household work remains with the woman in the role.
Do you think there can be a happy medium to be met with one’s partner in taking on some of the household responsibilities?
I see three options:
Communicate with your partner. Ask for help in taking on the household work. Could your partner help you cook some of the meals, take on some of the laundry, drive the kids to sport practice or vacuum? My husband comes home before me to start dinner. During the weekends we alternate who does the laundry. At times, he even helps me to make the kid’s lunches.
Outsource household work. You did read this guest post by Erica Douglass on Outsourcing, right? I am seriously considering hiring someone to deep clean the house twice a month just so I have time to spend with my family. Maybe even hire someone to make my children’s school lunches for me (don’t like to give them money for school lunches – bleck!). Hire a tutor to help the kids with their school work. Pay for services that will allow me to focus on the more time with individual family members and/or free up a bit of personal time.
Become a Stay-at-home parent. My husband and I once calculated the money saved if one of us stayed home. You reduce the childcare costs ($400 month), commuting charges, auto maintenance fees, etc… It is rather tempting to say, “I QUIT”, to my boss. But what is holding one of us to continue working, the two-income household still brings in more money to pay down our debts. Once our debt ratio is far down, we are going to revisit this last option for one of us to stay home. But one needs to consider if you can handle placing the financial responsibility to your partner.
My question to you: How would you resolve the stress issue? Are you a woman living as the breadwinner? Or a man supporting his breadwinner wife? What works for your family? What doesn’t work?