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Role Revolution

Check this out. According to this article on MSNBC.com on the ‘Sea Change’ that’s occurring in American households: many men want their wives to work, but they aren’t willing to share the load at home. Big suprise….

“After years of being conditioned to believe that men relish the role of primary provider, researchers were surprised to discover that just 12 percent of men surveyed said they’d mind if their wife earned more than they do, and in general men seemed happy to share the breadwinner role.”

“Experts attribute that in part to men not wanting to bear the sole burden of providing for their families. In fact, 35 percent of men and 40 percent of women surveyed said a key benefit of having a spouse make money is that it alleviates the pressure of being the only financial provider.

“It is a very tough era to be a sole breadwinner,” Lever noted.

“Nevertheless, although men appeared to happily cede the stress of being the primary breadwinner, they aren’t yet always picking up as much slack on the home front. More than 40 percent of women say they do more than their share of housework — and 29 percent of men agree.”

“The male ego as head of household seems to have diminished to the point of disappearance,” said Rosanna Hertz, chair of women’s studies at Wellesley College and one of the researchers involved in the Elle/msnbc.com study. “However, men are still dragging their feet in terms of domestic responsibilities.”

I get why this trend sucks for women who want to stay home with their kids and I also get why this trend is great. I’m proud that the women’s liberal movement has made enough headway that not only are more women working but they’re not afraid to make more than their husbands. AND I feel great about the fact that men aren’t feeling bad about it. But my guess is this sample survey isn’t a great representation. I think a lot of men would feel lost, disoriented, troubled and depressed if their wives were more financially successful than they were. I think that’s totally ridiculous. To be frank I don’t get why roles are solely defined by your sex. Some women are more suited to the aggressive world of climbing the corporate ladder while many men are more suited to being fatherly and nurturing. And yet our patriarchal society is set up to condemn both and force people not suited to certain jobs into them. I think that explains much of the unhappiness and disappointment in marriage. Roles are never discussed – just assumed.

I also think it’s CRAP that so many men expect their wives to work (inside or outside of the house) and yet aren’t willing to pick up their share of the load inside the house. I have to say that I love that Wes and I take our roles and can move and change with them as we get older and our family develops. I love that Wes has an open mind and giving heart when it comes to sharing roles in AND out of the house. You’re the best Wes!

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8 thoughts on “Role Revolution

  1. I agree with your opinion completely. Its so important that husband and wife share the load. Although in my life it’s better off that I stay home with the kids, because as great of a daddy that Kurt is, he might drive himself off a cliff if he had to deal with the kids all day long. And lets be honest…I’m not much of a ‘climb the corporate ladder’ girl myself. I’ll stick to the prophets counsel and stay home to raise my children, which I believe, is more challenging then any job out there.

  2. I’ve got a couple comments on my brilliantly perceptive wife’s post:1. I totally agree with everything she said. (That’s usually the conclusion I come to anyway, but this time it was instantaneous!) 2. I think we’d all unanimously agree that the most important job out there is that of a mother (parent). But I’d definitely say that as far as jobs that are challenging go, what many women are doing through their social & economical influence in the business world is more challenging. I don’t even think my job is more challenging than being a good mother, but what Amber is accomplishing at her job and the kind of efficiency she employs is astounding. And to do it while honestly being one of the most dedicated and selfless mothers I’ve ever seen – I’m just in awe at how she epitomizes the standard the Lord and His prophets have set for the role of Mother while righteously utilizing her talents in her career. 3. I love that Amber and I both have full-time jobs. It makes us much more careful in how we utilize our free time with Holden and each other. It gives us loads of common ground, which makes communication between us seamless. We understand, empathize with, relate to, and support each other in our professional roles and that has brought a closeness and bond that is as unique as it is strong. We share every duty and responsibility in our home and lives equally – we both clean the house and we both cook (well, sometimes I cook – but I always do all the dishes when she cooks!), we both spend time taking care of Holden (but without boobs, my role is somewhat limited), we both have equal voices in budgeting and spending, she helps me with home repairs and I help her with home decor. We are truly equals and play equal parts in the financial & domestic aspects of our family.I think what on of the things the men cited in this article are seeking is that equal playing field with their wives. They want a partner and not a domestic servant. They want someone to relate to more fully and not someone whose only “outside world” experience is from within an apron. However, if that kind of communication breakdown happens in a marriage, it isn’t just because the wife deals with the kids, cooking and cleaning, and the husband brings home the bacon – it’s because the two partners spend 1/3 of their day doing such completely different things and they don’t take the effort to involve themselves in the “9 to 5” life of their spouse. The husband comes home and spends time with the kids, talks to the wife about last night’s episode of “Lost,” and relaxes behind the computer or newspaper. The wife continues maintaining the home, serving her kids and husband, and talks to her husband about any fleeting weekend plans. Neither party truly takes the effort to engage the other in what they do during the day – what personal goals the wife fulfilled, what challenges the husband overcame at work, what epiphanic thoughts or ideas the wife had that day, what successes or failures the husband had that the wife can rejoice in or help with. It’s easier to just keep work at work and to keep day to day mothering to herself. Amber and I have found one way to always remain relevant to each other and to maintain our equality. The key is communication and mutual support and admiration. While my communication skills require constant maintenance, my admiration and support for Amber in everything she does and is doing for our family matched only by my love for her. All you’ve got to do is read her blog posts or come into our home to realize how perfect a mother and wife she is, or observe the respect and loyalty she commands from her boss and coworkers, or watch her breast feeding while typing and talking on the phone to appreciate the vital life-lessons on the value of hard work, education, and personal ethics that our kids will have to draw upon.

  3. In my (not so humble) opinion, I think who makes the money is not of any significance. What is most important here is the presence of equality within the relationship. Our lives are not defined by what we do for money, but rather the relationships we have (post THAT in one of your books Stephan Covey!). And to believe differently is to miss the target completely. Ask yourself which is more important: a) an equal relationship with your spouse where the wife works and the father raises the kids or b) a distant relationship where the kids are ‘properly’ raised by the mother. Hopefully that isolates the real priority. Is raising kids the hardest job. . .no, I’m sure there are harder. Is it very, very draining and difficult at times, absolutely. Is there any resposibility, as a parent, that is more important, no way.My biggest issue I have is when people live a “should” motivated life based on the status quo.I’m 22, I ‘should’ be married.I’m married now, we ‘should’ have a house and kids. I ‘should’ stay at home.In this neighborhood I ‘should’ have a nice car.I could continue to throw out cliche after cliche. But my point is, we can only be motivated by ‘should’ves’ for so long. Eventually we need to take a look in the mirror and honestly assess who we are, what we want and what the reality of our world and circumstance is. Get all of the other crap out of the way and deal with situations and people honestly. If you want to stay home and be a mother or if you want to be a career woman and have the father at home. Honestly, no one should care. As long as there is a healthy home life and a supporting, respecting spousal relationship where each person feels fullfilled at the end of the day, then who cares about details.

  4. I’ve a brother-in-law who has strongly encouraged his wife to share in the breadwinning responsibilities. It helps him buy more x-boxes, or wiis, or other toys, after all. But you should hear him whine when his wife asks him to change a diaper or tells him he can’t go out with his friends because she needs him to watch the kids. Sad.Oh, big surprise that you’d completely agree with your wife, Wes, given her very last line…;)Kevin, your phrase about lives, money, and relationships reminds me of a design project in school. We had to design a clock. I based my design on this premise “Time is not about dollars and cents, but about relationships and experiences.” I rather liked it.

  5. I still can’t understand how Amber is able to be a mom, work full time and read as many books as she does. I’ve barely started reading again since having Grant and that is only because I don’t work full time anymore.

  6. Thank goodness this article doesn’t apply to me! When Dave gets home he totally helps with the house stuff and the kids. He is fantastic. You and I are lucky, Ambi (or just smart for marrying awesome husbands).

  7. I guess a lot of us have awesome husbands. I think Jared does a lot more around the house sometimes than I do! He can’t stand to have a dirty kitchen and he is always willing to make dinner for me.It is amazing what you learn to do when you are a working mother. Just wait until you have a toddler asking for things all the time when you are trying to get a big project done! I tried the typing while nursing today and I think I might need a few pointers from you, Amber.

  8. Just wanted you to know that it is tradition for all the Hawkins kids to poop big, explosive, and yellow/orange in their blessing outfits.Mom

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