Twelve years ago I wrote a blog post about the challenges of being a breadwinner. I reflect back on that essay today.
I am the breadwinner, and this speaks to me so much. Like you read my mind. The guilt, resentment, anxiety and frustration feelings... all of it.
"will argue that your kids will need you even more when they hit the teenage years. It’s a different kind of parenting that is more emotionally and mentally taxing. As our kids entered middle and high school, my role as a parent expanded from being a provider and nurturer to being the main navigator of the complexities of adolescence."
THIS. So much this. Just last week I laid it thick on my husband, controlling my own emotions that were both from pent up frustration and menopausal hormones, saying I didn't think I could ever go on a month long residency because I carried the emotional burdens whenever our daughter needed us.
PS, tried the poll but it keeps asking me to subscribe first, and I am already a subscriber. Just about three years ago we became equal earners. Prior, he was earning more than me.
I have been single for a while so that's a fairly rethorical question ;-)
To be honest, I am not keen on being in a traditional relationship as I've too often seen my friends and myself become de facto responsible for household chores, even when your partner professes to be feminist. I really like being my own boss, and I think the price to pay for a 'household' would be too high for me. Most people would probably find this highly egoistic so thanks for the outlet, I guess?!
Also the breadwinner, and it's something my fiance and I had to actively have a discussion about (like, we're okay with this, more than okay, in fact, because I'm doing what supports our goals as a collective, and so is he)! Thanks for sharing Jenna <3
This is such an interesting and complex topic.
For the majority of our partnership post kids, my husband and I have both earned very similar salaries and shared parenting and housework. But this has switched dramatically recently, where I've reverted to being a stay at home parent. I hadn't thought of it, but the demands of parenting teens has absolutely put more of the parenting burden on me, and I think the burn out that I experienced trying to both navigate the teen years while holding down a full-time job has led me to (temporarily, I don't know?) leave the workforce.
Thank you for pointing out that teen parenting often falls to one parent more unequally, because sometimes I feel so alone in this. My husband has always been fantastic with the kids, but something about teen girls in particular (the huge emotions, the social complexities, the self confidence crises) means that I seem to be better able to relate with and help them.
I hate, hate, hate to say it, but things have been better for us as a family since I stopped working. The household is calmer, some of the tricky issues our teens were going through have dissipated, and I feel utter relief to only be trying to do one thing. Not working goes against everything I feel like I stood for as a young woman, but somehow we've found ourselves in this situation.
Man, oh man. This post really made me think about my current dynamic, and my parents.
My mother was truly the bread winner, up until my Dad got his business set up. What my Dad doesn’t understand to this day without my Mom’s earning power he would not have his business. In fact, she set him up even to the very end.
Unfortunately, in Korean culture my mom never took credit for any of it. She made sure my Dad feel like he was in charge, and never had anyone question who was in charge financially.
I realized after her passing she was the ultimate behind the scenes player.
100% you are right of being on the same page. I think both you and Mark had steadfast mothers who knew what they had to do, whether there was a choice or not.
What we experience truly shapes our mindset, and I think that’s applicable for most people.
I always tell my girlfriends who marry rich/career oriented/etc. “Everything has a trade off cost. You just have to make peace with it, as does your partner.”
Your daughters are smart enough to see through the dynamics, and how fortunate they are. ❤️
Thank you for writing this! These complexities are present in my household as well, and I think I have experienced every possible emotion with regard to my role as a mom who’s also a breadwinner. It’s refreshing to see it spoken about openly.
Will you be on my pod to talk about this? I also loved your thoughts on 1 year after leaving your job.