There is a rise in the number of women breadwinners around the world.
A 2014 study in the US revealed that 40 percent of American women earn more than their partners earn or are the sole provider in the family.
This is not far from an Australian census back in 2011 showing 25 percent of dual earner households with the female being the major breadwinner.
In the Philippines, this reality had already been visible in the number of migrating Filipinas to work abroad leaving their children to the care of the father and/or other relatives.
This is new reality is turning the traditional family set up upside down and is one of the top reasons for divorce in the US. Women became too independent of their partners while husbands resent their new roles.
But it does not have to be that way, and no, you do not need to quit your high earning job (can your family really afford losing that anyway?)
No need for break up songs!
Ignore what others say and embrace your norm
Our society might not yet be ready for us but here we are. Be that agent of change by accepting the reality that you are the breadwinner. Embrace it and do not be sorry for it.
Always think that you worked hard for this time in your life to happen. The moment you had ambitions for yourself, you studied hard and aimed for that job – that is not something to be ashamed of.
Besides, now that you have a family you should use this advantage to provide for a more comfortable life for your children. It is what we always wanted, right?
Step in your partner’s shoes
Your partner or husband is part of the society still. He may be supportive and happy for you but he may feel resentment, inferiority, or even depression about his new role in the family.
We have been in that position before – either in those years when he earned better or that time in your childhood when you witnessed you dad as breadwinner and your mom as homemaker. We can somehow know what may go in our husband’s heads and what emotions he may be struggling with.
Talk to your husband about these things and make him feel that it is not about the amount of money he brings in the budget but the whole contribution each one is able to provide for the family.
Make it clear that the money you earn is not just “mine” but “ours” and that the money you are earning is going towards the family’s goals.
In addition, always remember to set a time to do things you love to do together.
Marriage is teamwork
Unfortunately, even with the rising number of women as breadwinners, more women still have the burden of housekeeping and child rearing which could be very taxing.
I know you can be superwoman and do it all by yourself but you do not always have to and it is okay if you can’t do it all.
Divide responsibilities and enlist your husband’s help as much as possible. It will not only give you breathing room it will also make him feel that he is not dispensable
Let go of “how things should be done”
I know it can be frustrating to see your clothes not folded the way you want it to or to see your house not as clean as it would be if you had cleaned it but you have to let go of that.
If you are like me, you probably grew up trained by your mom on all kinds of household work and how it should be done properly.
On the other hand, you know that your husband did not receive as much “training” because traditionally he should be the one working men’s jobs and not house chores.
You would also know by now (or soon) that it is really hard to train men at this age to fold clothes your way. For your sanity, just let go of it, they are folded.
Unless it is a big life changing deal, try not to fuss about it too much. It would lessen frustration on your part and empower your husband – he may be inspired to do more in the house.
Handle the budget together
Being the breadwinner does not mean you call the shots in terms of what to buy and what to save.
Marriage works best when you are both in it together including financial matters. When you budget and plan together you move in sync with each other, take advantage of both your skills and work together on your financial goal as a family.
Look for role models and support groups
You are not alone. Search for support groups in your area or start one. It always helps to know that someone else is doing it or that someone else had done it before.
Google famous women who are leaders and high-income earners in their field and try to find out how they make their family work.
Take care of yourself
Do not treat this as a luxury but look at it as an imperative. You are indispensable in your family’s survival – imagine what will happen in case of injury accident or death?
Pamper yourself every now and then, always eat healthy, exercise daily and visit your doctor regularly.
I am for empowering women and back in my 20’s I am all for that too – like a crazed feminist. But now that I have my own family, I am more for marriage. It does not mean I am turning my back to girl power – I intend to teach my daughter that too. But I also intend to give her a family with a mom and a dad, unlike the family I grew up in.
Marriage, like our careers, is hard work too. So is parenting. Juggling all that needs a lot of commitment, determination, and love.
You are the breadwinner but you also deserve a happily ever after – whatever happy ending you picture – go after it.
Special thanks to Momma ‘N Manila for the main image.