So You Married A Successful Woman
How To Deal With Your Wife As the Breadwinner
By: Karin Eldor
Monster Contributing Writer
There’s no doubt about it -- long gone are the days when the woman is automatically tasked with being the homemaker. Just watch an episode of Mad Men for a blast into the distant past and you’ll quickly see how the gender roles have turned.
Today’s woman is a force of nature: she’s educated, successful, and going after the same jobs as men. Women are at the top of their game career-wise – just look at Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer who was appointed CEO this past summer – at 6 months pregnant, no less!
The article “What you need to know about paternity leave,” published in Canadian Living in June 2011, states that women earn more than their husbands in more than 40% of households.
You surely know some driven career women – you might even be married to one. So how do you deal with your own career in the face of a “power lady”?
Well, being married to an uber successful lady and having children could mean two things for you:
You decide to take paternity leave…
According to the same Canadian Living article, a growing number of men are taking paternity leave – a recent study showed that more than 33% of Canadian dads took paid leave.
If you are among this statistic and decide to take paternity leave so that your wife can return to work earlier than the 12 months, here are some tips to make it a smooth transition:
-Tell your boss as soon as possible: Don’t wait on this decision – if you’ve decided to take some time to care for your newborn, make sure to tell your manager right away so that they have enough time to plan for your leave.
-Stay connected: Although you will surely have your hands full, make sure to check in with your boss and coworkers every now and then. You might be out of sight, but you don’t want to be “out of mind” during those months of leave.
You decide to be a stay-at-home dad…
If you have children, then you might find it challenging for both you and your wife to manage demanding careers and care for the kids. Usually such high-powered careers come with long hours, a need to be “on call” and maybe even some work-filled weekends. And even with help, it can still be a juggling act. In this situation, many couples decide that one of them should work from home or “take a few years off” while the kids aren't yet at school, and if mommy is the one who brings home more money, then it might very well be dad (especially if your paycheck is going directly to paying for a nanny or daycare, for example).
This is a growing phenomenon, with the network of stay-at-home dads increasing more than ever before – we covered this role reversal in the article “How Stay-at-Home Dads Can Stay In the Game.” It’s no longer about the stay-at-home dad being perceived as “Mr. Mom” – playgrounds and playgroups are brimming with fathers doting on their children, and many wouldn’t trade it for the world.
This becomes an easier decision if your job is conducive to working from home. There are a multitude of freelance jobs available today, from editing and copywriting, to web design and graphic design. And it’s not just for the creative types! Even accountants and consultants can make a career of contract work for several companies.
There are several ways to make this successful:
-Communication is key: There must be an understanding of the ground rules. This could mean that you get the early morning or nights to focus on your work, while your partner is “on duty” taking care of the kids. If you can manage to squeeze in some golden hours of work during the week or even weekends, you’d be amazed at how efficient you can be!
-Network, network, network: Stay involved and in the game by networking on social media and making it known that you are currently looking for contract work.
However you and your wife decide to deal with balancing the household and relationship duties with a successful career, recognize that there are many choices out there to make things work for both of you!