This guest blog post was written by Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert, TV personality, and author of When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women
As a breadwinning mom-to-be (6 weeks left and counting…!) I’ve naturally begun to experience minor panic attacks, as I wonder how I’ll ever be able to maintain my career and income, be a loving wife and keep my house in order while tending to our new, wonderful family addition. (Notice I didn’t even stop to think about how I’ll be able to take care of me!)
The stress that comes naturally with being a mom can be even more pronounced when you’re also bringing home the bacon. I conducted an academic survey of over 1,000 women, half of them breadwinners. I discovered that when she brings home the bigger paycheck, she feels increased pressure to manage the money, maintain her income stream and cope with judgmental family and friends who may not be entirely understanding of the financial dynamic in her marriage. Breadwinning women also report less happy with how chores are getting managed and their family planning.
But, like you, I’m in it to win it. I refuse to allow any insecurity related to being a working, breadwinning mother cloud my ability to thrive in my marriage and life. To that end, these are just a few of my favorite tips that I’ve personally taken to task – and hope you will, too.
Identify and Solve the “One Thing”
Begin by identifying the one fine tweak in a particular area of your life that can spark a world of difference. It may take a while to tweak, but it will be well worth the effort.
For example, how would you rate your current childcare set up? Be honest. Is it causing you and your partner to scramble to be on time for pickup and drop-off each day? Is it keeping you from attending late afternoon meetings at work? Or hitting the gym – ever? Perhaps a new child care set up – as much of an effort it may be to find an alternative arrangement – could provide you and your partner more quality time at home and work and in your personal lives.
Seek More His and Her Work Flexibility
Paid maternity leave is becoming increasingly standard at many companies and if you’re expecting a child this benefit is a no-brainer for moms. Dads, on the other hand, may not have the same workplace perks. If not, they, too, should raise the issue with their employers. We need just as many men stepping up to voice their needs for a better home/life balance as women.
My husband just started working for a relatively small start-up firm and he’s been working all hours of the day and night. We assumed he would not have any sort of paternity leave, Still, I encouraged my husband to ask his supervisor and human resources department about it.
Well, ask and ye shall receive! Turns out, my husband’s company does offer paternity leave – four weeks of paid leave. And because his supervisor is a dad, he readily empathized and insisted that if my husband needed more time off or some scheduling flexibility after the birth, the door was open to ask.
Ask for Accountability, Not Help.
Your husband wants to be the most important person in your life. Period. My husband may not be the top-earner in the relationship, but he’s still willing and able to provide for our family in major, meaningful ways. It helps to figure out what I need most to support what I bring to the table and ask him to be accountable for it. And it’s not enough to just ask him for his help from time to time. It’s more effective to do what relationship experts tell me is the “Great Ask,” and ask him to be accountable for one or certain aspects of our life together.
For example, your Big Ask may be to ask him to be in charge of nutrition and food, which means he is responsible for stocking the fridge and pantries, planning meals and packing lunches. He’s not just there to help pack lunches when you can’t. Another “Big Ask” may to have him be the primary overseer of the household budget (with your involvement, of course).
Buy Yourself a Wife
Did you know that when moms makes more they actually does more housework? It has a lot to do with the fact that some women try to overcompensate for being the one in the marriage with the bigger paycheck. Worried about posing a threat to her spouse’s masculinity – and deep down perhaps wanting to address her own primal housewifery instincts – she takes on a larger share of domestic drudgery.
The key to finding balance on the home front is not necessarily splitting all chores evenly with your husband. Rather, it’s about taking on the tasks that you each individually are best at doing – and have the time and capacity to accomplish - and leaving the rest for others to take care of. In our house we outsource laundry and the house cleaning. Indeed, outsourcing or buying yourself a wife (as I tongue-and-cheekly say in my book), can be a valuable investment.
How to know if your time isn’t worth it? Take your income, cut off the last three zeros and divide that number by two. That’s roughly your hourly rate. If it costs less to hire someone to accomplish a task for you, it’s probably worth it to outsource.
To learn more about Farnoosh, please visit her website: http://farnoosh.tv and follow her on Twitter @Farnoosh.