Our media radar is always tuned into articles written about the increased role of father involvement, the rise of at-home dads, and work-life balance. Therefore, I usually miss out on articles that would be better suited for my wife, the primary wage earner in our family – the breadwinning mom. So, it was no surprise that she forwarded me this fluffy and insightful NY Post article by Sara Stewart, Rise of the Power Wives – an article spotlighting the fact that more NYC women than ever are out-earning their husbands.
The article plows through some high-profile wives like Tina Fey & Rachel Ray. Then, offers some insight from Andrea Doucet, well-known researcher as well as author on the topic of breadwinning moms. Doucet said:
The ambiguity over who does what, and its accompanying stress, is to be expected as gender roles change, says Andrea Doucet, Carleton University sociology professor and author of “Bread and Roses — and the Kitchen Sink.” “The ‘mancession’ has been difficult on couples,” she tells The Post. “Many have told me that they did not expect to be in this situation. To suddenly have it sprung upon you because of job loss can lead to a rapid and stress-filled learning curve for both men and women.”
My wife is the breadwinner and still does a ton more around the house than I do. She amazes me how she can come home after a long and stressful day of work, and immediately throw the parent hat on…play with our son, read him books, and put him to sleep. Then, do a load of laundry and slice up the canteloupe or watermelon for our son’s fruit snack the next day before she takes care of her own personal stuff. What the heck do I do?
Sorry, about the brief aside as I pat my wife on the back. The article concludes with some interesting statistics that should be shared as well:
According to a study by Rebecca Meisenbach at the University of Missouri, female breadwinners often describe themselves as still in charge of housework. “Couples should talk with each other about their feelings about appropriate or desired roles,” advises Meisenbach. Here are some eye-popping stats on the subject.
* Even if the husband is unemployed, the wife, on average, does the majority of the household chores, according to a September Newsweek article; when both parents work, women spend 400 percent more time with the children.
* A 2009 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that on an average day, 20 percent of men did housework while 51 percent of women did.
* Talk about adding insult to injury! A study released by Cornell University in April found that male partners of women who out-earned them were more likely to cheat on them.
* But perhaps it’s the very existence of the spouse that’s holding working women back: A 2008 study by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that “having a husband creates an extra seven hours of housework each week for women.”
* The good news: A new study from the UK’s Lancaster University finds fathers to be happier when they shoulder an equal amount of the domestic chores.