When I was growing up and had to listen to endless advice about men and choosing the right mate in the future, the same qualities were brought up:
1. Good job with benefits
2. A Pension
3. Make sure he doesn't cheat or hit you because if he does you kick him to the curb
They of course expected me to go to college and get a good job, but the consensus was the man was supposed to earn more.
There was never any mention of a man that was nurturing, good with children and able to do housework.
There was never any mention of finding a man that was supportive of my dreams and ambitions and their willingness to make sacrifices in their own career in support of mine.
It is clear things have changed since I was growing up even though I’m still in my twenties. Women are graduating from college at a rate higher than men and are moving up in corporate America. Women still have a long way to go in terms of equal pay and leadership opportunities, but there has definitely been progress. Women no longer want to assume the traditional female jobs such as teacher, bank teller or secretary. Women are earning more resulting in more women contributing to at least half of the household income or more.
Should women that have the opportunity to climb the ladder in their respective field with a desire to have children look for mates that may not earn or potentially earn as much or have less demanding careers so they can do more at home? Should women with big dreams look for a husband or partner that is caring, nurturing and is receptive to the idea of playing a more active role with childcare and housework?
I see all too often women that work full time just like their husbands or partners but still do most of the childcare and housework. Is that fair? I know it wasn't men asking for equal pay and opportunities for women, it was us. It was something we wanted. And I hate using the word want, because it actually is a right. Should it be expected that we still take on those more traditional roles because men never got together and said “We want to do more at home”?
Many American families do not have a choice about whether or not mom works. Most women work because they have to, and families depend on their incomes. Wouldn't it be natural for men to step up and do more since most families no longer have the sole breadwinner anymore?
I ask these questions when I look into my own situation. I do more at home whether it be laundry, cleaning, food shopping and cooking and spend more time out of work with my son than my boyfriend does. While he does spend time with him and cook occasionally, I feel burned out. I express it to him, he sees it, but still looks at things as if it’s my job to do this and not his. So then, what exactly is his job? Would I be OK with doing all of this if he made a significant amount more than me? Even if he did, would that make me feel better about working full time AND taking care of most of the housework?
I don’t really think so. I understand some people have jobs that are incredibly demanding whether it be physically demanding, long hours or demands travel resulting in more burn out during their work day that would affect their ability to contribute more at home. But that’s not the case with me.
That leaves me to wonder, should I be more concerned about his ability to bring in a bigger paycheck or with his ability to cook healthy meals and spend more time with our son?
Please, share your thoughts below!