Primary Breadwinner guilt

So as you all know I have been the primary breadwinner for a while, and in the last year the only working parent in our household. Before my second child Mabel was born my husband and I mutually spoke about having him stay home since daycare is atrocious and he was working so much as a chef he was never home and missed our first born son. He basically figured out that the promotion I got we could cover the bills if we tightened our reigns a bit.

So here we are just after celebrating our daughters first birthday and I am here to report how it has been. Overall having my husband has been amazing. We have finally been able to put my “career” first. I am no longer the default parent. Plus ladies I married a chef so the whole dinner thing is obviously amazing. One thing I never thought would come from this was the extreme guilt. I am pretty even keeled about most things. It’s funny since I do not feel any guilt for actually working. I think growing up with a working mother and turning out normal alleviates that fear. I am close with my mother, never felt neglected or not knew who my mom was. So this upbringing makes the working mom part ok.

My guilt comes from my husband being home all week and shifting him to the “default” parent. I played this role for the first two and a half years that having switch to him is daunting. I also feel guilt asking him to go out pretty much at all because I know he is stuck with the kids all week. I get to go “out” for work but I can tell you it is out but not “out”. I come home and he is exhausted, I am exhausted and I immediately take the kids off his hands. I always want to do more. I worry that it is too much. Probably self projection as I would never EVER be able to handle being a stay at home mom. I love my kids SO much but I am just not built to do that job. I think I also recognize that being the primary caregiver is the most difficult, demanding, time consuming job in the world. So I work like a dog and then constantly worry that my husband is emotionally ok.

In theory this is good. We are partners I need to make sure he is good, but sometimes I know I am doing myself a disservice since like all mothers I am not putting myself in the equation. Ladies this is even with someone cooking, cleaning, etc. You think the guilt and things would be less stressful if your partner picked up more slack. It does for a while but bizarrely I still feel the guilt.

I spoke to this guilt gene and I am more than ever convinced that it is a biological, genetic marker associated with women. You have a vagina then you are predisposed to feel guilt no matter what situation you are in. I almost want to study and survey all working men, and women who significant others stay home and see if the guilt is there. Do they worry about not giving enough support to their spouses, asking to go out for some fun?

One thing I do know is I need to keep talking it through with my husband. I need to stop self projecting. Which is about the most difficult thing to do for me. I need to figure this path out of being a woman but slightly living a “man’s” job. This idea is so evolving and roles are obviously changing but why do we still cling subconsciously to the gender roles?

UGHHHHH so many questions, feelings and guilt……I need to big glass of wine, and some dessert.

3 thoughts on “Primary Breadwinner guilt

  1. I can understand this 100%. It’s so hard. Of course we have sympathy for our spouses at home and appreciate the difficulty of their days…but its hard on us, too, to go right from one full time job to another!

  2. I cannot relate to this exact situation, but oh man — can I relate to the guilt. Also, can I switch places with your husband? Because you sound like an INCREDIBLE wife!

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