Why Being the (Female) Breadwinner Sucks
When I was growing up, my father was the breadwinner of the family, and I was wildly aware of this. My dad did shift work, and when he was sleeping during the day, lord help you if you made noise and disrupted his much-needed sleep. When he got home from work, my mother and us children were always very respectful of ensuring he had at least an hour to himself to decompress and enjoy a meal in silence before we were allowed to disturb him.
As a child, this made perfect sense to me and still does. This person went out into the world, worked really hard and provided us with enough money for all of our needs. My dad’s time and energy were important, and as his family, it was our job to provide him support at home, so he could be successful and make money outside of the house.
I am the breadwinner of my family; I am a female in a traditional heterosexual partnership with a child.
I have a large job, and I am currently also in graduate school to continue to advance my professional career trajectory. How my work is seen and supported by my spouse and family is very different from what my father received when I was growing up.
I have to challenge all normative practices to prove what I am asking for is not outlandish, selfish and essential for the success of the entire family. I have to prove that my emotional well-being is essential for the success of the entire family because I provide for all of us, and this concept has yet to be fully accepted or agreed upon.
In my early twenties, I remember hearing a lot about hustle culture and aspiring to be a woman who ‘can do it all.’
What a load of shit everyone fed us.
We were taught to do it all, to prove we can do it all when we never expected men to do it all when they were the breadwinners.
For male breadwinners, we easily see and respect why they need time and energy for recovery after work.
(Traditional) Male breadwinners are (typically) part of a marriage, and a wife, who runs…