What Dads Really Think About Being the Breadwinner

What Dads Really Think About Being the Breadwinner

We found out how fathers really feel about being the sole income provider.

By Lorraine Allen

I’m a stay-at-home mom, housewife, and dog walker who works part time from home. Despite the stresses of wearing many hats at once, I actually love all these roles. But I know that my stress is not the same as that of a family breadwinner – the person whose paycheck is relied on every day for diapers, housing, health care, ice cream sundaes, and so much more. That is a lot of weight on one pair of shoulders. And while many moms openly discuss their thoughts on working outside the home or taking care of the kids, the dads who are sole-income earners almost never get heard. Traditionally, it’s simply assumed that’s their role. We asked a few of them to share what they really think about this.

1. “What stresses me more than needing that paycheck so much every two weeks to afford things my family needs now, is our lack of ability to save half as much as we want, or need, for the future. For our kids’ education, and also for retirement, and emergencies. That’s the stress that I hate.” -- John D., dad of two

2. “I’m glad I have a union job with a pension, as a teacher. That’s all I can say. I see my friends supporting families, some with four kids, and they are constantly worried about losing their jobs. That would put me over the edge. At least I have stability, I feel. So I’m OK with being the breadwinner.” -- Al B., dad of two

3. “Let’s put it this way: My wife and I always wanted at least two kids (but more like three or four). But after we had our first, who has some health issues, and I lost my job, as the breadwinner, we realized we had to stop there. So I feel the stresses of providing for a family on one income are really life-changing for everyone. It changes where you live, how you live, where your kid goes to school and what they learn, what you all eat. Whether or not they have siblings. It can be overwhelming when you think how much rides on one paycheck.”-- Robert M., dad of one

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4. “I’m the only one with a paycheck, but I don’t feel like I’m alone in supporting our family. We’ve done the math, and my wife could easily go back to work, but most of her salary would go to child care, so it evens out. I’m really glad I don’t have to worry ever about covering the cost of child care, because it's a huge expense. So I feel like we’re equally shouldering the financial burden actually.” -- Gabriel T., dad of three

5. “It’s stressful, but my wife is a careful spender, and she’s really resourceful, so that helps. When I lost my job, she had 40 resumes out the door by that weekend, she was freelancing within the month, and she had identified three neighboring towns with good schools we could live in for much cheaper, if needed. I know I can rely on her to make whatever financial situation we are in work for our family, and that means a lot.” -- Rick N., dad of three


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6. “I don’t mind being the breadwinner. Sure, there’s pressure. We rely on my paycheck entirely. But I’ve worked my whole life, and I’ve always assumed I would, like my own parents -- whether I had kids or not. I think the key is just learning to live within your means. If you’re spending way more than you’re earning, or even just spending every dime each month to get by, that’s when the pressure really piles on. My wife is really cautious about living within our means, and saving as much as possible. And having savings takes a lot of pressure off my back, I think.” -- Dan D., dad of two

How does your husband feel about being the only breadwinner in your family?

Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/sturti

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