Women shouldn't have to give up their babysitters and other luxuries.
Those who read this column know that I’ve been writing very personally about how the downturn has affected my relationship. In all honesty, I'm starting to fear that by focusing on what’s happening inside relationships, we may be losing sight of larger contexts—what could and should be happening in the structures that govern our lives.Read: Is The Recession Changing Men's Values?
Whoever invented the notion that a wife who earns less than her husband has a career that is, by definition, "expendable"? The ubiquity of this sentence—"she has an expendable career"—was brought home to me once again when I read Diane Clehane’s "Recession Marriage Wars" in yesterday's Daily Beast. Clehane poignantly shares her frustration that for her, and for many working mothers she knows, "The recession means wives are under pressure from their husbands who tell them a sitter is now a luxury they can't afford.”
These are working mothers, mind you—women who have defined themselves by their careers for most of their lives and who know that being a good mom and having a great career are not mutually exclusive. As someone with big hopes of starting a family, and as a feminist, I'm thinking government-funded or employer-subsidized childcare is sounding like a pretty darn good idea right about now.Read: Career and Family Can We Really Have Both?
But instead of going there, so much of the writing about how recession is affecting relationships tends to focus on marital fallout alone. Says Clehane, whose contracts have been halved but who refuses to give up the work she loves, "No matter how many times we have the conversation, my husband doesn’t understand why I’ve chosen to drive myself crazy staying up half the night to write for half of what I was making a year ago."Read: 2 Ways Recessions Can Strengonships
Written by Deborah Siegel for Recessionwire.com.
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