Can You Have a Balanced Family Life Without a Husband? (We Think So!)

Do you need your husband to be happy? Two writers debate.

Sheryl Sandberg may have prodded many a woman to lean in with her 2013 best-seller, but the founder of a group called Women for Men says, instead, it’s time to “lean on your husband.”

Cue the Leave it to Beaver theme song.

In an article for Fox News, Suzanne Venker writes that if women want a family, they need a man. 

“Financial independence is a great thing, but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you,” she writes. “And there’s nothing empowering about being beholden to an employer when what you really want is to have a baby. That’s dependency of a different sort.”

She continues that a husband is necessary for a woman, especially a mother, to live a balanced life, urging women to depend on the “more linear career goals” of men. “…Why not let husbands bring home the bulk of the bacon so women can have the balanced lives they seek?” she writes. “There’s no way to be a wife, a mother and a full-time employee and still create balance. But you can have balance by depending on a husband who works full-time and year-round.”

Cue the sounds of modern women whimpering (or screaming?) everywhere.

Venker’s words don’t fly with Amy McCarthy. In a response on Bustle.com, she writes that not only are millions of women the ones bringing home the bacon, but that it is entirely possible for a woman to be a great mom, be happy and support herself financially without a husband to lean on. 

“Women have always been earning money for their families, it’s just that they weren’t (and still aren’t, for the most part) being paid for equal work,” she writes. “… I think you’re ignoring that women are still responsible for the majority of duties at home. That means cleaning, cooking, tending to children and elderly loved ones, and somehow also finding time to be a good wife and partner. … Perhaps the answer is not to lean on a man for financial support, but to require an equal splitting of household responsibilities between partners.”

Cue the roar of applause.

McCarthy also presses Venker on the idea that men can be stay-at-home dads and provide domestic help on the home front.

“Fixing inequality in the corporate world and economy may make women happier and more financially successful than settling down with a high school sweetheart,” she writes. “I’m not here to knock marriage, but I do completely disagree with the idea that it should be used as a way for women to support themselves.”

If June Cleaver was around today, we think she’d agree wholeheartedly with McCarthy as she headed off to work. Cue the knowing nods of approval.

Lesley Kennedy writes for ShopAtHome.com's Online Shopping Report. Follow ShopAtHome on Twitter @shopathome and Lesley Google +.

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