A breadwinner is deemed as the person who brings home the most money in order to support a family. However, I feel like it is much more than that. Society throws tons of expectations and responsibilities on who the breadwinner is, what their gender should be, and what kind of job they hold.
These assumptions put tons of pressure on men of many ages because society has always created a mold for men to follow, and part of that mold is being the sole breadwinner in a family.
Growing up, my dad was always the breadwinner, and he probably always will be. My mom had the privilege of being able to stay home and take care of my sisters and me, and later on in our lives, she was able to get back into work. Realistically, I'm sure this is how a lot of people my age grew up, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Living within a world that is constantly putting labels on men and women creates a lot of pressure and chaos. Men are expected to provide, while women are expected to take care of the children.
Neither of these expectations are bad because I know some people out there strive to complete them, and good for them! The part that's wrong is that society expects a certain gender to do certain things, and it shouldn't be that way.
I asked eighteen 18 to 20-year-old college guys how they would feel if their lady was the one taking home the big bucks, and the results were a lot more mixed than I was expecting.
66% of the men who were surveyed felt they had a certain responsibility to be the breadwinner in their future or present relationship.
Of course, the majority would think this. Society has ingrained this into men's minds for centuries upon centuries.
Despite more of the men feeling a certain responsibility to provide, a lot of the guys responded by saying they didn't see an issue with their wife being the main provider.
"If we were both doing what we loved and we were able to provide for our kids, then it doesn't matter."
Heck yeah! This is what it's all about. Supporting one another in a relationship is key, and your family's best interest should be put first.
"I would be happy to be a stay at home dad."
"Besides the fact that it is a great achievement for my significant other, I also would be benefiting from the extra income."
I especially applaud you! No matter who the breadwinner is, you should support your S.O. no matter what. Men also revealed that if their wife has goals and aspirations she wants to accomplish, they will fully support her in doing so! A healthy relationship is all that should matter.
Although a lot of men did state they'd show support of their wife, there were also a lot of insecurities that went along with it.
"I'd be proud of her, but I would also re-evaluate myself."
There is no need for you to re-evaluate yourself! The standard that has been put on men has been keeping them from realizing that they don't need to compete with their wife. If you're both doing what you love, the money shouldn't matter.
"Slightly ashamed and insecure, depending on how much my significant other made."
Men also revealed that they felt they'd feel inferior and have a low self-esteem. Once again, there's no need for you to feel crappy about yourself. I know that's easier said than done, but I encourage you to let go of what society expects of you.
Within these insecure responses, I found that most men felt like it was society that was holding them responsible to be the breadwinner.
"Society kind of makes it seem like men are usually the breadwinners and I may feel like I'm not pulling my weight."
"It's just that men have always been the ones to bring home the money."
"I've worked very hard in my life to put myself in a position to be the main provider for a family. Unless my wife makes a significant amount of money, I'll feel like I'm not reaching my full potential."
Look, guys, I get the whole pride thing. I know the kind of expectations that are put on you as men and it's really tough. But constantly comparing what you do to what your wife does will drive you crazy! You'll just never be satisfied.
That being said, there is no reason for men to feel like they NEED to be the number one provider in their family. We as a society should give women a bit more respect if they are the breadwinner or hope to be.
We are entering a new time where men and women can BOTH be whatever it is they want. So men, if you want to be the breadwinner, go for it, but don't feel pressured to do so. And ladies, if you don't want to be the main provider, then you don't have to. But if you do, don't let society stand in your way.
Let's get rid of those labels and start accepting each other for who we are, even if that means not meeting society's expectations.