The majority of American mothers who serve as their household’s primary earner aren’t thrilled about the role.
Only 46% of breadwinning mums say they are pleased with their earning status, as opposed to 75% of dads who are primary earners, according to a new report from Working Mother Media and PwC. That’s likely because most women in that role didn’t choose it — 71% say they became the primary earner by chance or because of an unexpected change in their partner’s work situation.
The report analysed responses from 1,000 men and 1,000 women across the U.S. Three quarters of the respondents were married and all had children, with an average annual household income of $US85,600.
Compared to women who are pleased with earning more than their spouses, women who wish their roles were reversed feel less satisfied across a range of factors:
Carol Evans, president of Working Mother and the breadwinner of her family, tells Business Insider that working mums can feel better about their status if they reframe their thinking.
“You can look at it as not necessarily being a matter of ‘I chose it’ or it being an accident, but that it happened,” Evans explains. “Think about it as a positive circumstance in your life, and you start to think of it as a positive thing that you did decide.”
Evans said she first started to out-earn her husband when she was in her 20s. She was the national sales manager of Working Mother; he was in insurance sales. Then he became a financial consultant, and she got promoted to CEO.
“It was very hard. In fact, we had a very close adviser of his keep telling him, ‘you have to focus on your own career because this isn’t going to work out,'” Evans recalls. “For me it was a lot of pressure. But I reframed it that I was in control and I was making choices I wanted to make, even though they were difficult.”
For breadwinning women trying to make the arrangement work, Evans said one of her biggest tips is to cede control of the house to your partner. “Give dad his due by letting him make his own choices and letting him have his own relationship with the kids and the house,” she says.
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