Ditching The Heels More women are opting out of work. Could this affect your marriage? BY JAMES PARK
Women are packing up and leaving work.
The year 2000 was a landmark year: it was the beginning of the twenty-first century, the bursting of the internet bubble and George W. Bush’s victory in the presidential election. It also saw the highest number of women in the workplace.
Since then, times have changed. We’re six years into the century (yawn), the internet’s back in a big way and, well, Bush is still in the office but many women are not. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the number of women in the workplace has steadily been declining since the turn of the century—when it peaked at around 60 percent. And surprisingly, more and more women aren’t choosing to leave to become Suzy Homemaker. According to the Washington Post, the number of women who said they were leaving work to care for children has been dropping for more than a decade. Many of them are deciding to try something different, such as going back to school or just taking a break from work.
Jennifer Groover, 33, of Philadelphia, left her partnership at a health and wellness center behind and chose to start her own business from home. She says that leaving her job wasn’t easy, but the support of her husband helped her through the transition. "My husband was so supportive and thrilled," she says. "He knew my potential could go to a whole new level after leaving a business in which each hour was 'given' to someone else."
"When a partner experiences burnout at work, that discouragement carries into the home," says Debbie Mandel, stress management specialist and author of "Turn On Your Inner Light."
John Schuster, author of "Answering Your Call", says that if the couple is well prepared, the change of having the wife leave her job could be good for the marriage. "This is a way to renew the marriage, like hitting the refresh button on your computer," he says. "Work through all the possible scenarios—good, bad and mixed—that the transition can bring, not just the positive ones," he says. "That is where the problems can come in—lack of realistic expectations."
Mandel recalls two couples where the wife decided to quit her job. "At first, the husbands were upset about the loss of income, especially when both wives were highly trained professionals with graduate degrees and expensive educations at that!" she says. "They thought their wives would be income producing partners and now they had to carry the expensive ball."
Coming home to find the wife enjoying the culinary offerings of Frito-Lay and mastering the art of channel surfing can be a nightmare that many husbands envision when the wife decides to quit, but it’s all about teamwork, according to Mandel. "Open communication serving as a positive mirror and brainstorming as a team can help a wife speed up the process and get excited about working again," she says. Schuster agrees, "This is his time to make his love for her real."