Is it Your Job or Our Job?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal blog The Juggle came right out and said what many well mannered modern mothers have know all along.  Namely, in order for one spouse to achieve a high level of success the other spouse needs to have a more supportive role.  The article was about uber successful professionl women and in that case the husbands had assumed the support role.   This can mean staying at home full time or a scaled back or reduced work schedule.  Or, as the article said, "In other cases, if both spouses work full-time, very time-intensive jobs, it sure helps if at least one makes enough money to pay for lots of help and child care."  So however you slice it - someone needs to manage life at home.

This leads us to the question: if one well mannered spouse is supporting another well mannered spouses career, is it his job or their job?  Should the at-home spouse have a say in career decisions?  Strategy?  Entertaining?  Does she get to review big presentations or a pitch to the boss for a raise?  In these days when it is just as likely the at-home spouse has an advanced degree as the working spouse - does she owe it to the family to weigh in?  If not, what does it mean to be a corporate wife exactly?

Does it mean that the well mannered modern mother's job is to make the well mannered father's life flawless and make sure that he is always, always, available to focus on his job?  Sick child, demanding client,  they need me in Brussles tomorrow, big deal heating up, strategic partner melting down, school conferences, 'No worries Honey, you do what you need to do, I've got it covered.' seems to be the kind of support most firms are looking for.  This formula appears to work very well for many happy couples - just like it did on the home front during WWII and in the Lower Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherer culture.


Anonymous said...

Careful. You ladies could cause a revolt if you don't watch out.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, it's the job holder's job. Asking for help is OK, but shouldn't be a given. If one spouse is working the home-front more, then taking stress of the full-time (or more) working spouse should be part of the job. The trade off should be that work stress remains at work. Anything that impacts the home-front (career decisions, entertaining) should be a joint consult.

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