We get it. Some guys actually like to work and bring home lots of cash for their loved ones, even if some of their high-paying "jobs" are a bit, uh, questionable (i.e. Tony Soprano and Walter White). However, a recent study in The Guardian makes the argument that not only are men willing to stay at home, women need to be the breadwinners, because they're simply more capable of doing it effectively. Side effects of a female breadwinner may include extreme satisfaction with the experiment, an unwillingness to switch back, and possible marital bliss.
1. Paying for Child Care Is a Drain
Between the exorbitant cost of child care - especially for those living in a larger city - and the hassle of stuffing the kids in the car to get them there, it makes sense for one parent to stay home. Even hiring a nanny or sitter can set a family back some serious dough, and who knows what kind of person you're hiring? (Hint: Almost never ever Mary Poppins.)
Ever since Mr. Mom made the term "stay-at-home dad" part of the national lexicon, men have secretly longed to ditch their high-pressure jobs and chill at home with the kids (conveniently forgetting the hilarious mishaps that Michael Keaton's character had to endure along the way). Plus, dads think that trading in the office/shop for home will give them the chance to write that novel or start that consulting business. And, why not? It worked for Sex and the City's Miranda, Parenthood's Julia, and Up All Night's Reagan, though, right? Well, mostly. If it were flawless, it would make for bad television. Real life is way different.
2. Dad Needs More Time With the Kids
Not everything is about saving money. Sometimes, dads genuinely crave more bonding time with the little ones. (Well, okay, it's likely about both. Let's not get too pie-in-the-sky, here.) If the kids are not old enough for school yet, a stay-at-home dad gets an opportunity to instill in them all the life lessons that his dad taught him. Stuff like chopping wood, building model airplanes, and playing "Cowboys and Indians." You know, the kind of fun and possibly culturally-insensitive stuff that 21st-century kids are desperate to experience.
Older kids might get the thrill of Dad attending all of their sporting events, recitals, and the like. While Mom was always nice and polite around the other parents, Dad can do impressive stuff like bellow above the din of the crowd. Nothing is less mortifying to a teenage girl than hearing her male parental unit shout, "My Janet can violin circles around your kid!" Seriously, spending more time with Dad leads to a lot of good stuff - including a higher likeliness of using new words. Let's just hope some of those words aren't picked up as a result of him smashing a finger while stacking that newly-chopped wood.
3. Mom Hates to Cook/Clean - but Dad Loves It
One big reason Mom longs to be the breadwinner: Cooking sucks. Almost as much as cleaning does. Dad, on the other hand, may get no small thrill from watching the Cooking Channel and trying new things. In fact, the number of men who cook has made a big jump since the mid-1960s. It's just one of the gender stereotypes than can go bye-bye in this enlightened age.
While Mom is at work, Dad is free to find creative ways to smuggle veggies into the kids' meals, all while scrubbing the floors and dusting the knick-knacks. And Mom shouldn't be sad about her reluctance to cook; it doesn't make her a monster. When Dad does the cooking and frees her from this tedious pastime, she can come home at the end of the day to a nutritious, tasty meal and the loving arms of her family. (Although, chances are, she might still get stuck with the dishes. It's a process, this breadwinner thing.)
4. Seriously, Women Just Juggle Stuff Better
It's not sexism; it's science: a psychological study shows that women are faster and better organized at multitasking. They're also able to handle tasks under pressure better, making them a boon to employers. Men tend to get distracted when there are more gadgets around, so put Mom in the office and take some of those toys away from Dad to create a better dynamic. Of course, women have probably attained this ability through generations of balancing work and home, so it's little wonder they may look for extra stuff to do at work if not stimulated enough.
Another factoid to consider is that women are better educated now. By 2010, women had earned more than half of the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, making them smarter, faster, and in want of more of a challenge. What boss wouldn't want that kind of Wonder Woman in the workplace?
5. Women Can Deal With All Kinds of Annoyances
From screaming infants to boorish bosses, women know how to deal with crap, the equivalent of which can cause men to flip out and channel their rage into shooting zombies (in video games, of course). There's actually science behind this, too, and it's connected to a little ol' hormone called estrogen. Yup, that thing that gets blamed for female madness also allows women to be less aggressive when confronted with idiocy.
Instead, women opt for seeking out social support; there's nothing like a good bitch session with female co-workers during a coffee break to dissolve tension, making the rest of the day a bed of roses (JK.) A room full of Designing Women created feats of decorator magic with a superabundance of estrogen, so imagine what an office of females could do in the actual world. Not to mention the hyper-driven Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation - she dealt with annoyances coming and going (mostly gender-related), outearned her husband, and thrived like no one's business.
6. Sometimes It's Less Chaotic at Work
Okay, here's the skinny: Being at home can be a pain in the ass. Kids often trash the house the second it's cleaned. The supposedly well-trained dog pees on the bedspread. Dirty dishes and laundry accumulate, and there's barely enough time to stay caught up, let alone have a bath or read a book. It's little wonder more and more people find going to work less stressful than being at home.
The female breadwinner gets to clean her desk before leaving for home, and it looks the same the next morning. No sticky fingerprints! No dog hair! Sure, there's that pernicious weekend to deal with, but for now, earning money is pretty relaxing. And when Momma is relaxed, everyone wins - even if Junior drops an ice cream cone onto the Chippendale sofa now and again.
7. While Men Climb the Ladder, Women Want Gender Equality
In 2016, women can be found in just about every profession on earth. Even though women are making strides, they're still woefully underrepresented in certain areas (think tech jobs, film directors, and executive positions, just for starters).
Men, it's time to take a step back from scaling the corporate ladder and let the non-aggressive, multi-tasking, smart women be in charge. The gender gap is still present - the United States ranks at around 28 out of 145 countries in gender equality - so let's take the advice of Dave Schilling and his Guardian article: "Put on your dad jeans and support your wife's ambitions." Amen.
Now go forth and win all of the bread, mothers. It's definitely your turn. Plus Dad needs you to get out of the kitchen so he can whip up some cupcakes for the school bake sale. Kitchen full of frosting or an office kitchenette with its own housekeeper? See you on the weekend, kids!