You know what every working woman – especially every working mom – needs? A wife. Someone to cook, clean, take care of the household.
AND co-parent with her.
Why not a husband, you ask?
Because as I’m slowly discovering as an Imposter Mom, today’s husbands are either workaholics themselves, or are – contrary to the ironically titled 80s Australian rock band – men who DON’T work. (The Hubs seems to be the rare exception and I am forever grateful.)
My mother’s generation was different. Men went to work. They had steady, stable 9 to 5’s. My father worked at a university, then became a guidance counselor, then a teacher, then a principal. My mother was a teacher, too. But their gender roles were clearly defined. Dad was in charge of the money. Mom was in charge of the cooking and the kids.
Somewhere between my mother’s generation and mine, Britney Spears happened. Women began bringing home the bacon AND frying it up in the pan. Video games became The Husband Hobby. Men started getting laid off, downsized, and outsourced. They started to look at getting a j-o-b as something for other men, not them.
Ten years ago, I knew one slacker husband. Today, I know ten. These men call themselves artists, filmmakers, musicians, unemployed, or just plain Dad.
I’m talking about my mid 40s film editor friend who started turning down work in the midst of an apparent mid life crisis, letting his school librarian live in girlfriend with the two teenagers foot the bill for their entire family.
I’m talking about my former coworker whose husband promised he’d be the breadwinner once they moved to a new city only to quit his job after 3 months because “they just didn’t understand him.” That was ten years ago.
I’m talking about my girlfriend’s soon to be ex husband who’s a brilliant drummer but when he’s not on tour partying his ass off in between gigs (and barely making enough to pay the rent) is home on the couch. No cooking. No cleaning. Just couch potato time with plenty of potato vodka while she creatively directs some of the biggest brands in the country, clocking ten hour days only to rush home in time to see her young daughter before she goes to sleep and they repeat the same spin cycle all over again.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Insert soap box. Here I stand.
To be fair, these are good men on many levels. But there’s also indicative of a cultural shift that quite frankly pisses me off. Women are working longer, harder, and have more responsibility at their jobs. They’re also still moms who want to have an active role in raising their children but can’t afford financially to quit their jobs and also don’t necessarily want to give up working just because they have a family.
While these women struggle with guilt, stress, sadness, and overwhelm, men seem to be in this gray area of figuring out what they want to do when they grow up. And kids? They’re stuck smack dab in the middle. As an Imposter Mom, I see more men on the playground mid-day, mid-week than I do women, unless it’s a nanny.
And while I have nothing against pursuing your dreams, I do hold a grudge when I see my women friends busting their asses to bring home the bacon, finance the family, spend quality time with their kid(s), and pray for at least four hours of sleep a night. I get that gender roles are shifting. But man up. Show up. Do your fair share.
Oh – and if you happen to be a wife for hire? Let’s TAWK. (I need the help!)