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Breadwinner moms and hardworking dads

Last week I posted about not qualifying fathers as "active." I'd like to believe that one day we will drop these adjectives from parental descriptions, so that we will be just "dads" and "moms" and not "active dads" or "working mothers." Especially, as the reality of dads who are involved with their children and moms that work become more prevalent in today's modern world.

My husband and I both work. We both enjoy our work; and we both enjoy our son. We strive for balance (but don't always succeed).

I think that our situation is typical of a lot of families. And, it turns out, moms are needed at work: American woman are fast becoming the top breadwinners in about half of households with children, according to a 2013 Pew Research study. The women in the study reported falling into the breadwinner role by circumstance and, according to the study, were not always happy with being thrust into the role.

Maybe one of the reasons women weren't happy with their breadwinner role is because they have read the interesting research published in Social Forces which shows that men who work longer hours have healthier wives.

So, ummm...does this mean that men need to work longer hours to be the breadwinners in the family for the optimum health and well-being of their families? No. I think it's more important that families find what works for them and what they can deal with in this economy.

As for us, we'll keep plugging away the hours (although, truth be told I prefer it when my husband is home with me and not toiling late into the night) and looking for that elusive sense of balance.

What's the work/home life situation in your household like and are you happy with it? Tell me at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

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Comment by Lauren Markman on March 4, 2014 at 9:41pm

Hi, Marcia - it's not easy, and I am honestly in awe of the moms of multiples who work full time and are still active in their personal lives. I try to set limits: work belongs at work; family belongs at home, but sometimes they overlap (like when I have to work from home). My husband and I try to stick with routines (like family nights on Wednesdays which is our sacred time together.) As for personal time, I am lucky enough to have lunch with my husband once a week during business hours so we can reconnect and if I get lunch on the other days (work can be busy) I use it to plan out my blog and podcast. Exercise happens first thing in the morning when only the cat and I are awake.

Just keep an open mind and stay flexible - we are always tweaking routines as we go!

Comment by Marcia Fowler on March 4, 2014 at 12:15pm

Our work /home currently is me, the mom, staying home and earning bits of money by sitting and teaching at my son's preschool 1x a week. I taught before my first son was born then resigned. But now I need to think about heading back to work and I can't even imagine balancing 2 working parents. But we'll have to. What about you? How do you balance work, home, exercise, and trying to have a little free time to yourself?

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