I have a love-hate relationship with summer.
I love the beach and the sun and the more laid-back schedule.
But while my kids are enjoying camps and the pool and sleeping in, I head into an office Monday through Friday.
My husband, a teacher, also has the summer off, so you can likely see where the “hate” enters the picture. Let me be clear. I absolutely do not hate my husband, but I do hate being the one person who needs to go off to work every day.
This has been our schedule for more than a decade, so I know the drill.
But this summer, more than ever, I’ve recognized something new about this particular season. Since I started a new job at the end of June, I’ve been laser-focused on learning a new industry, building new relations and trying to prove myself all over again. It’s exciting, new and stressful – but it’s without a doubt been easier since my husband is home.
He handles the laundry, the shopping, the cooking. He’s carting the kids to swim and camp and friends’ houses. He’s handling the random home repair, the shopping for school uniforms, the weekly errands that pop up. He’s walking the dog, he’s loading the dishwasher, he’s cleaning the bathrooms. He’s doing the yards, reading with the kids and squeezing in those dentist and doctor appointments.
And because he’s doing all of these things, I can be a more focused and less stressed when it comes to my career.
In another month, he’ll head back to school and we’ll go back to “dividing and conquering,” but for now I get a break too – in a roundabout way.
I’ve read research in the past that speaks to sole breadwinners – specifically males – enjoying the benefits of being able to be more career-focused with the support of a stay-at-home spouse. With dual-working parents, there is negotiation around drop-offs and pick-ups, homework help and cooking dinner. It all gets done, but both parents are constantly on-the-go, especially when more than one child is in the picture.
So while I long for lazy days spent reading on the beach and just hanging with my kids, I’ll enjoy this summer too. Come fall, the schedule will become increasingly crazy, and I’ll likely need to share chore duty. Bleh! Until then, I’m going to kick my feet up when I get home and just enjoy my family. The laundry will be there in September.
Do you feel there is a career advantage for those spouses who have a stay-at-home spouse?