Househusbands: Long Lasting Recession Effect?

by Kay Lynn

When I first read that the recession had hit men harder than women I didn’t think much about it. It made sense because the job fields least affected by the recession (education,  government and health care) are dominated by women.  Although probably not long-lasting, women are expected to be the majority employed gender in the next month according to the US Bureau of Labor and reported by USA Today

Role Changes

What does this mean to the American culture in general and today’s men and women specifically? Francine Huff @ WalletPop wonders if there will be more househusbands.  Although I’ve never seen the show referenced, “Househusbands of Hollywood“, I know a househusband.

In fact if your a regular reader, you know him too.  Yep, Mr. Boomer is a househusband.   He had already had his career when we met and was starting an early retirement.  Cupid had other plans and marrying me meant raising two more kids.  Since my job involved travel for days at a time and sometimes long hours, Mr. Boomer staying retired worked best for us.

Many men managing the household now might totally relinquish the role or move to a shared role with their partner once they are gainfully employed again.  But some families might decide the husband staying home is the best solution for their family. 

Cultural Changes

Does this mean that the breadwinner role is now gender-neutral? I hope so.  More and more women were already outearning their partners before the recession.  Now that the women have often been the primary wage-earner people may be getting used to it.

What about the role of household manager?  Will this get rid of the idea of  men’s work or women’s work?  Again, I hope so!  Mr. Boomer’s mom never could quite understand our situation even though it clearly made us both happy.  I’m sure there are many other family members and friends that think the same way.

The important thing is that couples work together as a team no matter who earns the money or minds the home.

Content © Bucksomeboomer  2009.  All Rights Reserved.

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Lis @ Ace Cash Express September 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Very interesting thoughts. Yes, I think it is possible for the switch of roles. But I think the faster our lives become, the more informal will the setup be. I think a lot of both couple will work at the same time too because of recession.

Bucksome September 19, 2009 at 6:19 am

Thanks for your comment. I agree that the househusband role is not going to become more prevalent than the two earner family or even the more traditional stay at home mom.

Hopefully with more in the role it will be seen as more mainstream and a viable option.

threadbndr October 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm

It’s working out for my son and DIL. My son’s MOS was one of the ones that suffered in the cutback of the Navy/Marine Corps budget, so he ended up not re-enlisting. And civilian jobs are the base they were both stationed at are hard to find. With a new born and the cost of infant child care, it totally makes more sense for him to be the caretaker/house person for at least a few more months.

Long term, I think they’ll share both tasks – like my late husband and I did.

Bucksome October 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Glad to hear from another military mom (my stepson is active duty Army and another son is ex-Navy). Sounds like you and your husband set a great example for your son and his family.

Thanks for the comment.

Nedmock January 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

This is very difficult to understand. Why are we celebrating the fact that men have lost their jobs? Why is that a good thing? Is it equally wonderful when women lose their jobs? Would you be happy to lose your job? Not all men are married. What does a single man do when he has no job? Men want to work just like you do. They want to have an income just like you do. How would you feel if someone celebrated the fact that you lost your job?

It worked best for you that your husband stayed home? That’s funny because why don’t we hear it said that it works best for women to stay home? That’s never said. Instead it’s said that women who stay home are miserable, unfulfilled, lonely, depressed and dependent on their husbands.

A temporary increase in jobless men is going to mean a permanent increase in househusbands? Why? Did hundreds of years of women being at home stop women of today from having careers? No. Did it stop you from having a career? No. But yet you believe that all of a sudden millions of men will all become househusbands?

What do you have against men having jobs, careers, their own income? If a man’s career has been househusband, does he get social security, does he get a pension, is he able to get credit in his own name with a lack of job history? If his wife divorces him is he employable when he now has to try to re-enter the work force?

As of December, men outnumber women in the workforce by approximately 7 million. So sorry you have to postpone your celebration, but at least there are men able to support themselves and their children.

You hope it will be seen as a viable option? Why? If it’s such a viable option, why don’t you do it? Why don’t more women do it? Why didn’t Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem say it was a “viable option” for women? Why aren’t you telling women to give up their jobs and become housewives?

Bucksome January 30, 2010 at 5:13 am

I appreciate your time in replying to the post although I think you missed the point of the post. I’m not celebrating the fact that men have lost their jobs but rather talking about the changes that have occured in many families due to unemployment hitting men more than women and wondering if this will be a long term sociological change in our culture.

Housewifes are already (and have been historically) not only a viable option but for many decades the only option for women. Is it now socially acceptable for men to take the same role if that’s what works for the family?

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