Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Things You Should Know: When Mom's the Breadwinner


#3
Blur Gender Roles

Whether we agree with it or not, eyebrows often rise when the man is not the family provider, and watch out if he decides to stay home with the kids. "Leave It To Beaver" style gender roles have long been engrained in our culture, and can rear their ugly heads when mom becomes the primary breadwinner -- sometimes within the breadwinning mom's own family.

In a survey done by ELLE magazine, 16 percent of female breadwinners insist that men should always be the primary earners. Couple that with this statistic: According to Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, the unemployment rate in December, 2008 was 7.2 percent for men and 5.9 percent for women. Gender roles, expectations that wives stay home to care for families and our own egos can sometimes combine to create relationship tension, resentment and stress.