*Torn between family commitments and work?
*Thrust into the role of breadwinner when your partner has been laid off, retired or become ill?
*Non-existent work life balance?
You are not alone, around 40% of women in the US are the breadwinner, and the number is growing. There’s been a lot of talk about the ‘End of Men’ and women being ‘The Richer Sex’, but it’s not all power suits and top jobs.
Rhonda, a successful businesswoman, working in a male dominated environment, with a child under one year old sums up the challenge of being the breadwinner eloquently:
“By being a working career woman or career mom, I’m trying to get the best out of both worlds. I’m trying to be true to who I am, not to who other people want me to be or what people think people I should be. And that is difficult”
Jenny Garrett, executive coach and author of Rocking Your Role, the ‘how to’ guide to success for female breadwinners, shares 10 essential survival tips from her experience of coaching hundreds of female breadwinners.
1. Check Your Ego
The combination of your role at work and being the breadwinner at home can become a heady cocktail intoxicating you into thinking that you are the only one who has something valid to say in your relationship. If you notice yourself thinking that your opinion is the only one matters because you’re the one holding the purse strings, it’s time to check your ego.
2. Drop the Superwoman Syndrome
Take off your superwoman cape. Listen and listen carefully, it’s OK not to be able to do it all. Repeat after me, it’s OK not to be able to do it all. Now say it out loud, it’s OK not to do be able to do it all.
3. Remember you always have a choice
Sometimes you don’t exactly choose to become the breadwinner, but you can choose your attitude to your situation. Take back control of your emotions.
4. Talk about money
Don’t let money be the elephant in the room, talk about money with your partner. Decide who manages money, how it’s managed and how you will make financial decisions. Ensure you have two-way communication about finances, your relationship and your work.
5. Look after your spiritual, physical and mental well-being
You physical, mental and spiritual health are critical, investing in you now will avoid painful derailment of your work and family life later. Take time for you, it could be with dance classes, developing yourself through courses, dates with your partner or even full on retreats. My thing is meditation.
Do whatever restores balance, gives you space to breathe and let go of all the roles you play in life.
6. Ditch the Guilt
Guilt will drain your energy and take away from the freedom you have to enjoy your life and time with loved ones. Trust that for others to be happy you don’t have to be unhappy. Think quality rather than quantity where time is concerned.
7. Recognise your interdependence
The reality is that you are kidding yourself if you really think you are independent, as we are all interdependent. A complex web of support surrounds you to make your life work, so acknowledge it and notice what you need to keep this system healthy and thriving.
8. Maintain your femininity
Being the main earner can make you feel like the man and woman of the house. You can need without being needy. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, cherished and looked after sometimes.
9. Celebrate and share with other woman
The act of sharing your experience is a way for you to embrace other women who are also breadwinners; it’s an invaluable opportunity to learn from each other. Find ways to share your story.
10. Be aware of the legacy that you are leaving
You are creating the future. If you haven’t reflected on the legacy you leave, how you are a role model and influence others, this is a good time to start because how you choose to react to the role of breadwinner has a significant knock-on effect.
Let me know how you get on Rocking Your Role in life and work.
To learn more about Jenny Garrett at @JenniferGarrett