One of my friends shared a conversation he had at the barbershop on social media. An older man in the establishment explained to patrons that his wife (a surgeon) told him that he could retire from being a teacher since she’s making enough money to financially support their family. My friend, in response to the conversation, said that he would do that in a heartbeat if his wife made a large enough salary, and to my surprise, other men commented on his post in agreement. Actually, many of them stated that if their wife were to “hold down the fort,” they would either focus on their dream job, golf every day or become a stay-at-home dad.
While I was pleased by the response, especially since so many are used to a husband and wife having particular roles, I couldn’t help but maintain a small amount of skepticism. Could these men truly handle their spouse bringing home the majority of the household moola while they take on the role of primary caregiver for their children or look after the home in general?
Is the thought of men staying at home becoming more acceptable? Possibly, according to a recent study.
According to a New York Times article, a study showed that 77 percent of Americans support fathers not working, but only when it makes sense to stay home. Co-author of the research paper and sociologist Kathleen Gerson said that people are getting away from social norms regarding gender roles in a family. “Americans increasingly understand that families face a lot of pressures,” she said, “and they don’t make these judgments about what men and women should be doing.”
Even if a man doesn’t want to be a stay-at-home dad, would he have a problem with his wife being the breadwinner (as in he still works but his wife makes more money)? How does this affect his attitude and how does his attitude, in turn, impact the marriage?
I have a friend whose husband presently doesn’t work. Unfortunately, this wasn’t in the plan for the couple as he was recently laid off. Their present situation has negatively affected him emotionally (without knowing all of details, I have to assume it’s because he can’t financially take care of his family at the moment), and she’s trying to be supportive as he now attempts to pursue a whole new career in which he is passionate. She’s doing this all while continuing to be the sole financial provider and homemaker.
In my marriage, I’m currently not the breadwinner, but I would be okay with taking on that role if I had the opportunity. Although my husband is on board and has joked about taking a backseat if I made a lot of money, I have to wonder how the shift in roles would affect our marriage. I would like to think the same financial conversations would occur and it would be business as usual, but we really wouldn’t know until we’re in that situation. Still, something tells me it wouldn’t be all roses and sunshine.
Deep down inside, do men and women still desire those old-school gender roles? And do you, as a woman, worry about becoming the breadwinner and in turn, possibly crippling your partner’s ego?
Regardless of who is bringing in the dough, as long as there’s a sufficient amount of money coming into the household, I would say that everyone is winning.