So, how did my breadwinning journey begin?
When my husband and I planned for our family, we never really discussed what our roles would be. Our talks around parenthood included me wistfully glancing at chubby toes peeking out of passing strollers, then looking into my husband’s eyes and agreeing to wait one more month. We were in our late twenties and the world was our oyster. We both had advancing careers and we relished the freedom of having a little bit of money and a lot of free time. Who knew what was to come!?
Fast forward to 13 years later...
We now have a twelve-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. I work full-time, as I have for over 20 years. Since becoming parents, I have been the primary breadwinner and for the past seven years, I am the sole breadwinner of our family.
As my career progressed, I found myself surrounded by mostly male peers married to stay-at-home wives. In 2012, when my husband’s company went into Chapter 11 and he was laid off, it became a math problem. Given he had a full-time work from home arrangement, it was the flexibility that his career allowed that was the uncommon denominator. Thus, we decided my husband would retire from the corporate world to focus on songwriting and full-time Dad-ing. As we evolved into this flip-parenting arrangement, we found there was no roadmap for how it all works.
When shared our decision with family and friends, there was considerable trepidation as to how it would be received. At this point it was clear to our friends and family that my career was strong and our earnings were solid. With growing children and the increasingly demanding logistics that go along with family life, the decision was a no-brainer. And it would have been for everyone else too ... had my husband been the wife.
Friends kept asking “but, he’ll go back to work after the kids are in school right?” or “why doesn’t he freelance or consult?” Family worried I would be too stressed or he would be too bored. These are questions you rarely hear asked when a mother makes the choice to stay home to raise the kids. With deep stereotypes of how families should run, it appeared as though no one could fully understand that this was a choice and we felt good about it, until we realized that not everyone else did.
This lack of general knowledge, understanding and support for women as primary earners is what sparked the next phase of my journey...
How I work with others
I’ve made it my life’s work to amplify the awareness and needs of women in the workplace as well as breadwinning women.
How can I help?
Kind-hearted and pragmatic, Bethanie is striving for equity and equality in everything she does. She is doing hero’s work and I am so honored to be on this journey with her!
Fran Hauser, Best-Selling Author (The Myth of the Nice Girl), Media Executive, Angel Investor
Places I’ve been featured
Bethanie has shared her advice, insights and experiences with companies, conferences, communities and beyond.