Thursday, April 15, 2010

Are There Class Differences In Your Home?

Do men and women live in different socioeconomic classes?

That is a really daring question, maybe even a volatile question.  I often think about the differences between the genders and wonder.  We have come a long way, as females.  The fact that we earned the right to vote in America a mere 90 years ago seems startling to me.  Did husbands actually look at their wives and smirk and say, "you couldn't possibly have a relevant opinion."  How frustrating would that have been! 

And now we know that for every dollar a man makes a woman makes only $.75.  Again, does a man look at his wife, daughter, mother and say, "she just isn't worth more than that."  Of course not.  It is a collective agreement among us all to either require a lower amount or offer a lower amount because it is okay.  We have allowed it to be okay. 

I am a white woman who chose to abandon a very lucrative career to raise a family.  I expect to go back to work someday.  I am not sure exactly what salary I will require, but I am sure that men who would be vying for the same jobs will ask for more money than I do.  This doesn't shock me, I will have been out of the workforce for a number of years and at the very least a little bit rusty.  I also will still be a mom who will probably require a few more days off a year and more than likely will work fewer hours during the week.  Now, I have always performed very well in any job I have had.  I am quite productive and can pretty much hold my own with any man, woman or otherwise.  But in my mind, I will probably think that my work product won't be worth quite as much as it used to be.  Hmm.

But that is in the future.  What about now?  What about all of the women who currently are stay at home moms, while their husbands work?  Is my socioeconomic status lower than my husband's?  Talk about rocking the boat.  But really, I think this is an interesting question.  Let me lay out the evidence.  But first let me preface.  I made a choice, it was mine to make.  No one elses.  Some women have no choice and most men don't have a choice.  So the fact that I have options surely is worth a lot in this equation.

Let's break down a few areas.  Food, lodging, clothing, free time.

My husband works for a fairly large company, he is an executive at that company.  He is required to travel two to three times a month.  For those days that he is traveling his lodging is pretty swanky and it comes with a maid.  On those trips his food is paid for and I can only assume is tastier if not healthier than our fare at home.  Jeff shops the sale rack at Nordstrom's while I shop the sale rack at Old Navy.  I just don't need that many nice outfits.  Jeff drives a luxury car, I drive a 10 year old GMC.  I don't carry execs around like he does, I carry snack toting and every once in a while vomiting children to and fro.

Free time would be the one area that we are either equal or I actually have more time.  I think this is where a lot of men focus when they have a "beef" with their wives staying at home.  They have a perception that moms have a lot of free time, especially once kids are in school.  I see it from both sides.  I often would be out of the office driving to a doctor's appointment thinking, why are these people not at work?  Well, because carpools must be driven, Target shopping must be done and gym bootcamps must be completed.  To be fair, often a mom's job doesn't end at 6pm when the whistle blows; in fact it doesn't end, period.  So being on call all the time certainly plays into the equation somehow. 

Some food for thought.  Hopefully, I haven't just started a war in my house. 

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