Married With Children families are no longer the norm in this country, but they still command attention and fill the portrait of the American Dream. A few generations ago, two incomes became the norm. But now, that norm may be shifting—due to sour economic conditions, mounting workplace burdens and the growing “Opt-out Phenomenon.”
Women have always gotten the short end of the career ladder; they’re paid less and rise to leadership slower. That’s still improving—and I might argue that women now enjoy bigger strides than men in the areas of entrepreneurship and solidarity. Moreover, they often benefit from quotas and other protections.
But a new book by an economist and anthropologist asserts that a feminine backlash is happening: Many women are choosing to stay home. At least for a while—and for the family.
“Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples: What the Opt-Out Phenomenon Can Teach Us About Work and Family” takes a close look, and is worth a look. After all, this downturn has made employers demand ever-more while workers cling fearfully to their cubicles and assembly lines.
Here at BreakAway, we believe that life’s most important decisions are rarely about money first. And as for having and raising a family, well, there will likely be very few decisions as important—or long-lasting—in the typical parent’s time on earth. Yet, the average liver will only actively parent only about 25% of their lifetime.
Why have children if you’re going to spend most of those precious years prioritizing a career? Oh sure, you may have to cut corners and live more simply. But most kids would rather have more quality time with their kinfolk than more plasma TVs.
It pays to BreakAway from the career for a while. Work–like chores when your child says “Can you read me a story?” –can wait.
A standing O goes to Dianna Shandy and Karine Moe for writing this book. I personally hope, though, that they or someone else will write the follow-up about men—for whom society often views opting out as dropping out. The stigmas about men being bread-earners instead of bread-bakers are changing way more slowly than women’s roles.