Women, if you want to have IT ALL, forget balancing family and career on your own. The new hotness in the race for the elusive goal of womanhood— "IT ALL" — isn't quality, affordable child care or workplaces with flexible hours or equal pay, because in some careers, those concessions aren't enough. No, for some women, IT ALL includes a man who will stay home and take care of your kids and keep house. Like an old-timey wife, but a dude.
At least, that's according to the New York Times which, before accidentally directing tons of reader traffic to the Las Vegas Sun, published a piece this weekend on the rise of the stay-at-home father in the families of banking HBIC-type women. The whole piece is worth a read, but here are two big takeaways: first, most men who appear to "have it all" — family, career, and love — have "it all" because one person in their life takes care of "it all" and when the same caretaker of "it all" functions in the life of women, they're much more able to succeed in timesucking, demanding careers like finance. Second, working in banking fucking blows. From the piece,
Many discovered that even with babysitting and household help, the demands of working in finance made a two-career marriage impossible. The arrangement can be socially isolating, they said, leaving both partners out of a child-rearing world still full of "Mommy and Me" classes. The couples told of new questions of marital etiquette, like who makes the big financial decisions or buys the wife's jewelry when she makes upward of a million dollars a year and the husband earns little or nothing.
Apart from the gendered etiquette snags (WHO BUYS THE JEWELRY!?), the dynamic between couples consisting of a high powered woman in finance and a stay-at-home dadwife mirrored the dynamic between finance men who worked and their stay-at-home ladywives, according to the Times piece. Men take the kids to lacrosse practice and horse riding lessons, wives fly to Hong Kong with 12 hours' notice. It's like Leave It To Beaver, if June made half a million dollars a year fucking the global economy and Ward had a color-coordinated Dyson for every room.
Still, pesky lingering gender roles prevented many of the men from fully wifing out to the same degree that the stay-at-home-wives of male bankers wifed out. Stay-at-home dads, for example, aren't as helpy as stay-at-home moms when it comes to cooking and cleaning. They don't host parties like the man bankers' stay-at-home wives. And probably attend fewer yoga classes (joking aside, the piece notes that some stay-at-home banker dads aren't welcome at typically all-female mom social events due to the fact that the stay-at-home moms' husbands don't like dudes hanging around their wives when they're at work).
And it should be noted that living in a nice house in New Canaan, Connecticut or Winnetka, Illinois or another tony zip code on a single salary is only available to the tippy-top of the socioeconomic scale. This trend, while providing interesting insight into antiquated nuclear family gender roles, is about as relevant to the day-to-day lives of most American women as the Birkin bag waiting list.