In today’s world, it is becoming more and more common that the women are the breadwinners in their homes. Not only is the population of stay at home dads on the rise, but the percentage of women as breadwinners (making more or sole salaries than their male partners) has risen to 40% of all households. Many of these households include single mothers who are the sole income earners providing for their children, while others include a household where both (or one) parents work.
Over the past 40 years, there has been a massive increase in the amount of women entering the workforce. Additionally, today – there are more women graduating college with high income earning potential degrees than ever before in the history of North America. Compile that with so many companies choosing to balance their workforce by adding women to more qualified positions that earn higher salaries, due to labor laws and compensations – and you end up with women holding down better jobs and earning more money than in years past. According to statistics and flow charts from Pew Research Center, this is a trend that people are going to have to get used to. And with this trend, comes a change in the dated gender roles and ways of thinking about men and women and how their roles apply to the family.
Another trend is the change in attitudes of both men and women in regard to who should be the primary breadwinner in the home. Today, around 32% of all women think that it is not only acceptable, but also advantageous for women to work outside of the home. And men are coming around too, quite possibly because so many men have been pushed out of their blue-collar careers with the recent recession and feeling confident with the idea of their partner being the primary breadwinner in the family. This of course, also changes the role that mothers and fathers play in parenting, and is revising the gender roles in the home that have been in place since antiquity.
Today, it is no big deal to see involved dads, or to see dads cooking dinner and doing the cleaning. In fact, today’s father is extremely empowered to take his relationship with his children to the next level and becomes more than simply a provider for his kids. Kids are being raised with the security that dad can do anything that mom can do – and with the notion that success doesn’t come from just one ‘type’ of family. Of course, there is still quite a bit of judgment in regard to mothers who choose careers over the career of motherhood, as well as judgment toward the dads who choose to take on the typically maternal role and stay home with their kids. But as we become more accustomed to this behavior and see the dynamic of families changing – the next generation will not remember such mindsets as those alive in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
It is true that we have come a long way from the Rosy the Riveter days when women had to fight for their ability to be independent and financial responsible income earners in the home. So how do dads feel about this?
Most dads are embracing this change. In a sea of mommy blogs, there are now very prominent dad blogs that are spreading the word around about fulfilling being a stay at home father can be. Younger couples, according to a survey, are the most open about which parent will take care of the kids and couples are learning to share and manage the family work load so that one person is never responsible for one thing. Dads are doing laundry, changing diapers, mopping floors, cooking dinner and helping out domestically happily and eagerly, seeing their contribution to the home and family as a priority rather than something that compromises their manlihood.
The good news is that kids will reap the benefits of all this ‘daddy pampering’ and ‘mom working’ typical role reversal going on. Young girls today are growing up to see that they can achieve anything they want to, and that being a female – does not automatically hinder their ability to succeed outside of the home. They are also seeing first hand that women can balance both the family and a career. Sons and daughters are seeing their mothers as empowered, rather than victims, and single motherhood is becoming socially accepted. Additionally, dads are able to have better and more meaningful relationships with their children. At the end of the day, the definition of what works in a family is taking on more meaning, which is beneficial because quite often the typical, or expected definition – does not work for every family.
When it’s all said and done, the most important thing is how well your family dynamic works for you. Every family is different and has to consider all the factors before making decisions about how they will run their family. In some families, it works best for mom to stay home while dad works. In other families, the roles are reversed. And in the vast majority of households today, both parents working and sharing parental and domestic responsibilities is becoming the norm. If a woman today earns more than her husband earns, and is able to contribute to the family income and provide better for her children than her husband can financially, doing so – in no way compromises neither the fathers integrity nor the mother’s maternal instinct.
According to the Pew Research Center, we can expect to see dual parent working household increase by as much as 64% over the next 5 years. Additionally, the amount of women who serve as the sole or primary breadwinner is expected to triple in this same period of time. Regardless of how we are programmed to see the family dynamic – the vision is changing right before our eyes. And most people, are happy to see it do so.