Figures from a Government commissioned report into economic inequality, published by the National Equality Panel in 2010, showed that one in five women in the UK are considered the breadwinner, earning more than their spouse or partner. This trend is more common in the US, where Reuters reported it to be one in three in the same year.
A recent Twitter response to my question, 'What has been the most significant change for you over the last 12 months?’ was: ‘Only one of us is employed, so we have had a significant decrease in our overall income and now it’s all down to me!’ Often juggling work, life and family in secrecy, this growing number of female breadwinners - or main earners, as I like to call them - rarely discuss or seek coping strategies for their complex role in the world.
Here are four tips to help you not just cope, but keep you Rocking Your Role as female breadwinner:
Regularly Check Your Ego
The combination between your role at work and being the breadwinner at home can become a heady cocktail, intoxicating you into thinking that you are the only one who has something valid to say in your relationship. If you notice yourself thinking that your opinion is the only one that matters because you’re the one holding the purse strings, it’s time to check your ego.
Seek out and listen to the feedback and recognise what your partner brings to the relationship.
Own the Path That You Have Taken
You always have a choice about the way you engage in being the breadwinner, even if you feel there is not currently a choice as to whether you are the breadwinner for your family. Recognise that by being the breadwinner you are blazing a new path and leaving a legacy for future generations. Others’ assumptions will change about your role when you show them how you make it work.
Embrace the fact that you have the opportunity to design the life that works for you.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
You may pride yourself on your independence, but actually we are all interdependent. A complex web of support surrounds you to make your life work, so acknowledge it and notice what you need to keep this system healthy and thriving.
Ensure you have two way communication about finances, your relationship and your work.
Kick Start Your Well-being
Your physical, mental and spiritual health are critical, investing in you now, will avoid painful derailment of your work and family life later. Take time for you, it could be with dance classes, developing yourself through courses, dates with your partner, or even a full on retreat. My thing is meditation.
Do whatever restores balance, gives you space to breathe and let go of all the roles you play in life.
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