I clicked over with interest to read an article posted on Babble today that bears the title Resentment: How an Equal Division of Labor Almost Destroyed My Marriage. Yes, I wondered, how exactly did this horrible almost-catastrophe happen?
Well, a sigh of relief later, I discovered that it was really an unequal division of labor that nearly did this couple in. The article, written by Babble blogger Hanna Otero, describes her frustration with a reverse traditional marriage - she worked full-time and her husband stayed home full-time with their two children.
In the beginning, life was good. They chose to send her out into the workforce for the most common (albeit not always the best) reason - she made more money. And they chose to keep him home for another common (albeit not always the best) reason - they felt one parent should stay home with young children. As time went on, however, she felt pulled in two and overworked and guilty, and he didn't always consider meal prep or housework to be part of his duties. She started making all the decisions; he started to fade into the wallpaper. The problem came to a head and this couple realized they needed to think up a different way of life or else.
Enter communication. They talked and talked. They decided together how to spend their money, when the kids needed their booster shots and who would take them, what 'dinner' meant to them and who would cook it. They set some standards as a team. Ah....harmony.
She still works full-time; he still stays home. But their next step is to address this too - by getting him back into the workforce even though he would make far less per hour than she does, and by finding ways for her to cut back at work.
So, if you take the red pen to the title of this article, what you're left with is a lovely tribute to the power of equal sharing and balanced lives. In other words - ESP!
p.s. While the now article seems to say that SAHD families 'almost destroy' marriages, I hardly think this is the case either. When either parent stays home while the other takes full reponsibility for breadwinning, imbalance and inequality will result. Some families enjoy the perks of this arrangement while others wind up resentful. The right arrangement is the one that works best for each individual couple - and makes both partners happy. For us, it's ESP. For some, it's a traditional or reverse-traditional plan.