Friday, 6 November 2009

balancing the books

i read something in the paper last weekend - i think in the money section, another article about how the recession is hitting men harder than women (if you count this only in terms of job losses), and how some women were now the primary earners in their relationships and how stressed out this made them feel.

at the time i thought, 'huh', (direct quote), and read the rest of the paper, but it's been niggling. for one thing, what a completely hetero-normative analysis. for another thing, the guardian (the paper in question) continually trots out this sort of gender stuff without questioning it and it's really getting on my nerves.

but it also made me think - wait a minute - i've been the primary earner in my relationship for ages - i've earned more than my partner for at least a decade and for the last few years we have lived solely on my income. am i supposed to feel stressed out about this? maybe i do and i just hadn't realised. goodness knows i have enough to be stressed about - it would be plausible to mis-attribute sometimes. as you can see, i can be very suggestible at times.

i've thought about it off and on for a few days, and i've come to the conclusion that no, i don't feel stressed out about it in the least. but it still niggled.

this evening, i was updating my budget spreadsheet. i have to keep track of everything - it's the only way to make things work and make sure we spend money on what we want to, not just piddle it away on wine and take-outs (not to mention books - ahem.) i balanced out the spreadsheet against my online account and checked that we were on track for this month and next month. we are, i smiled, and logged out of my account.

then it hit me - what i feel about being a primary earner isn't stress, it's pride. kind of what men, when questioned, often say they feel.

why wouldn't women feel the same way? why shouldn't they?


Geosomin said...

I think we should. I do. :)
Up until a few years ago when J left freelance I was primary earner for us. We budgeted and got by OK, and I was often annoyed at people asking Jay why he wasn't working full time. Like it would somehow be OK if I worked part time or freelance, but god forbid the MAN of the hosue did that. He got so much flack for it - even my Dad did it inadvertantly until I talked to him about it. It was silly. I always figured if it worked for us, then that was all that mattered.
I stopped being annoyed at those sorts of articles a while ago, because they are obviously written my individuals who don't feel that work that women do counts, whether paid for or not. These are likely the same people who would choke on their tea at the thought of a femal mechanic or plumber or a dad who opted to stay home with the kids.

I think it's the people who both work and can't seem to keep a budget together enough to make ends meet that need some talking to....if you can't get by on that and something goes srong, well then yes. You would be worried...