People don’t realize how much is at stake when making the decision to establish a single income household. There is constant scrutiny over modern day households. You will witness the highs and lows in the documentary titled “The Big Flip (Stories from the Modern Home Front)” recently debuted at the Austin Film Festival in October. See trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrCyVhs26HQ. Also check out the website at: http://bigflipdocumentary.com/
Ernesto and I have had our share of ups and downs ever since our transition to breadwinning wife and stay-at-home dad back in 2012. There are a series of events that have taken place and while slightly different from one family to the next, the similarities can set the tone for how society perceives this shift in the household as more women become the breadwinners and men take on caregiving roles. Let’s explore the ups and downs.
The ‘downs’ can range from 1) grandparents concerns and scrutiny with this flipped lifestyle (particularly those come from very traditional households), 2) societal pressures in general (let’s face it, stay-at-home dads are still far from the norm), 3) financial challenges as one parent stays home and handles all of the household expenses while the other works which thereby causes friction with over-spending, 4) the staled relationship between the couple as the wife continues to pursue her career, expands her social circle and power while the husband continues his role as caregiver, stretching his years outside of the workforce, 5) lessened bond between the mother and her children as she spends more time in the office and gradually detaches from personal family activities and critical milestones for the child.
The ‘ups’ range from 1) freedom for the wife to build her career and pursue new opportunities, 2) the ability for one parent to stay involved in their child’s development, from academics to extra-curricular activities to child-rearing, 3) the ability for the child to engage in more enriching activities with the flexibility of the at-home parent’s schedule, 4) the chance to live a healthier life with balanced, home-cooked meals as hectic schedules with dual-income households can cause families to eat out more often, 5) more structure in the household overall with consistent routines and schedules, 6) the flexibility to take family vacations without the hassle of conflicting work schedules with dual jobs, 6) less expense for the household by not having to enroll your child in after-school programs or having to incur the cost of mileage, meals, work apparel, etc. for a 2nd earner, 7) bragging rights when sharing our story because I still believe I’m the luckiest woman on earth 🙂
I’m sure there are more points I’ve missed on both fronts, but at the end of the day, it’s the family’s choice to structure their life as they see fit and it won’t always be perfect and there WILL be challenges but if the child is well-balanced, nurtured and fulfilled, then that is what’s most important. Many couples in reverse role households have divorced and families have been torn apart due to the ‘downs’ mentioned above. I will not pretend that my husband and I haven’t gone through these same struggles. In all honesty, tension over finances has been our biggest hurdle through the years. But that’s up to us to resolve and we take full accountability for our neglect in this area. We love each other dearly and are willing to put in the sweat and tears to overcome the obstacles and maintain stability for our daughter. Thank you as always for your support and readership…