I Make the Money, Honey (and You Raise the Kids)

What happens to a marriage when the wife is the breadwinner? In this case, it can mean the best of both worlds.
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  1. Recently I was at lunch with a friend, a mother of two who is supporting her family as an editor while her unemployed husband figures out his next move. She mentioned that although he had always been a capable cook, he spent more time in the kitchen now that he was home. And she liked that she didn't have to worry about making dinner anymore. "What about you?" she asked. "Do you cook?"

    "I'm trying," I said. "I did a couple of weeks ago. Pork-shoulder stew with polenta. To my great surprise, it was delicious, but then I got busy and didn't do it again for the rest of the month." She laughed. "'I'm trying?'" she said. "You sound like a guy. A wife could never say that. They can't try to cook dinner for the family. They have to."

    "But I am the guy," I said. "The cooking isn't my responsibility. It's his."

    I have been "the guy" for all eight years of my marriage. My husband is an artist who, from the moment our now six-year-old daughter was born, has been her primary caregiver. When she was an infant, we all flew from New York to Los Angeles three different times so that I could pitch ideas for television shows. I used a costly electric Medela breast pump so he could feed her in the hotel while I was in meetings, doing character descriptions and season arcs. It is said that the mother is the center of the family, but for my daughter's first year of life it was the pump.

    Now that our daughter is in school full-time, my husband, whose income is 10 to 20 percent of what I make, ...