Many recent surveys are showing the growing trend of women as major breadwinners and in some cases, sole breadwinners, for families. When there is a single breadwinner what's that mean in families?
Living well - It is not a new occurrence to have a single breadwinner as for years, men were frequently working while women stayed home and ran households, managed kids and schedules. What is a growing trend is the move for women to be sole breadwinners. Latest figures show that in 1967 11+% of women were sole breadwinners by 2010 the number of women working as the family breadwinner was up to over 41%. Couples who manage this single breadwinner lifestyle well are those who communicate with each other and who remember their choices or the facts of life as they are and not be annoyed about what they wish life would be. Live in the present and accept how circumstances are in the now.
When there is resentment - Resentment happens because of feelings of inadequacy, envy, and self-esteem. But the feelings can also result because the breadwinner feels alone and that their partner is doing less and less and enjoying that more and more. I know of couples who live very separate lives. Women who work full-time and whose husbands don't help much with the children, chores or work. The only way to fix this kind of situation is to talk or the relationship is in serious jeopardy.
Making it better- The problems come if one partner feels that the contributions of the non-breadwinner are inconsequential. Each spouse needs to value the work done by the other, communicate about worries or fears and find ways to appreciate the other. I have a friend who has come up with a creative way to have each person share in the duties neither wants to do. For every 5 minutes of TV time or computer time, they each give 5 minutes in chore time.
Whatever approach you can think of to feel better about each person's value and work, do this. Communicate kindly and remember you love each other.
Marion Syversen, MBA
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Being the Breadwinner
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