The other day one of my male friends tweeted “Lord, how do businessmen have time for their families?” and one of my female friends replied, “They don’t. They marry women who don’t mind.” As I retweeted and added in my sad faced emojis, my heart broke a little. Is it fair that successful men, have to sacrifice family life for work life. Is it true? And is it a choice? Should we women sacrifice wanting to be with someone who spends most of their time in the board room for the man who is home every night by 5:15? Is it really family vs. success? I am in no way implying that men who work in business are the only successful ones, but I will use them as an example since the tweet referred to them.
When most women construct "the list" of criteria for what features the men we meet should have, successful/good job is usually high priority. It’s not a gold-digging trait, it’s the “I want someone on my level or higher” trait (We can discuss the topic of gold digger later). Personally, I think men should hold women to a certain standard as well, but all in all, both parties should ultimately want someone they could see themselves building a stable future with. Someone who will not only love them unconditionally but also provide unwavering support for the endeavors their partner aspires to achieve.
Most men I know do work in business. They work long extended hours, at times have to travel during the week and bring work home with them if they’ve been given a pressing deadline. Of course this sounds like no day at the beach but men carry a lot of responsibility when it comes to establishing themselves. Traditionally, they've always been the breadwinners. Whether most men enter the business field to ensure that they can adequately follow this rite of passage or to avoid the feeling of being emasculated by a bread-winning wife is a debate for the male species. But how many women would really be okay with being the main provider? I don’t mean making a little more than your husband, I mean significantly more. Lets put it in middle class numbers.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2012 article: "The Lost Decade of the Middle Class" states that the average income of a middle class home ranges from $60,000-$85,000 depending on what region you live in. Lets say as the woman you brought home $45,000 and your husband brought home $30,000. Could you still look up to your man as the "provider" making $15,000 more than what his low salary provides for? Combined incomes is one thing but if you calculate what $30,000 leaves you with individually, its barely enough to wipe with. And yet, we romanticize over the American Dream of owning our own homes, with the white picket fence, 2.5 kids and a dog. For immigrant children, we aim for the things that our parents didn’t have and then some; and for others we just want to enjoy the finer things without having to struggle to attain them. So is it really a dejecting reality to be with a man who works those long hours and doesn’t have all the time you would like for him to cater to you?
As disheartening as this all may sound, I truly admire a man who works hard for what he wants and focuses on getting himself to the next level. However, I am also a hopeless romantic. The shared bubble baths and lazy Saturdays when we are wrapped in each other's oxygen is what I want to spend my days doing. But those days don't keep the lights on, food on the table and the house from being repossessed. So where's the happy medium?
If I can’t have you always, then our sometimes moments should feel like forever. For the guys, I’ll say this--love her endlessly when you are together so in the moments when you're not, she's not longing for the love she wish you could give her. Provide not only financially, but romantically, spiritually and emotionally. It's impossible to be everywhere at once but when you get the chance to be there, be there. Its not that we women don't mind the long hours, its that we respect that that is what you have to do.