When Careers "Require" A Stay-At-Home Partner


Sometimes, even in the most equal of relationships, does the other spouse basically have to scale back? Exhibit A: Michelle Obama. Sure, that’s a special case…but the dynamic is more common than ever.

Writing on the Wall Street Journal blog, Rachel Emma Silverman passes on a reader’s question and raises the question of those careers that essentially expect you to give yourself to the job — with the other spouse picking up the slack.

Even jobs that don’t pay as well as financial services or big law, simply might be so demanding-like being a politician on the campaign trail– that it makes sense for one spouse to scale back (like Michelle Obama and many political wives before her.) 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.

Helps, yeah: but that’s a rareified dynamic, especially in this economy. Oh, and to the WSJ commenter whose response is, basically, “send them to boarding school!” a la the Baroness in the Sound of Music: also not particularly helpful. But clearly something’s gotta give. As the reader, whose husband seems at a professional “disadvanatge” because she, unlike his colleagues’ spouses, doesn’t stay home, suggests: “I’m wondering if you start to have more men like my husband who want to be very different dads than their fathers and aren’t willing to completely sacrifice family in order to get ahead, if the corporate world will slowly change.”

What Careers Require Stay-At-Home Spouses?

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