Abovethelaw.com posted an article on Friday advising "sugar mommas" - working women who make more than their husbands - on how to handle comments from colleagues or family members about their non-traditional working roles. http://abovethelaw.com/2011/02/advice-for-sugar-mama-attorneys-and-their-low-income-male-life-partners/
The article was interesting for a lot of reasons: First because there is any discussion about this at all. Aren't we at a point in society yet where we accept women working and - gasp - excelling? It really should no longer beyond the pail to think that a woman might be a CEO or vice president or doctor or professor or whatever and be paid the corresponding salary.
Second, the article was interesting because it was written by a man who gave up his BigLaw job and relies on his wife to bring home the bacon. In my opinion, there isn't anything wrong with the wife being the breadwinner. Just because a man doesn't earn more money doesn't make him any less of a man. To the contrary, in my own personal view, Husband is more of a man because he does more of the child-rearing and unglamourous household tasks. Where as I have to prioritize work at all times, Husband is left with balancing a job that he loves with all of the kid sicknesses, daycare emergencies and just general day-to-day tasks. Not an easy task.
Thankfully, I haven't had much need to defend Husband's role as secondary income earner. While there have been plenty of instances where the question of what my husband does was met with awkward silence, it is what it is and I don't need partners to understand it. Our relationship works for us.
But for those women who are less lucky, Friday's abovethelaw.com article gave some good advice on how to deal with sticky situations with colleagues or friends who don't understand or accept the woman-as-breadwinner-phenomenon. My personal favorite: "don't sweat these fools." Pretty much sums it up for me.