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Couples Today are Rethinking Traditional Roles

By Bigg Success Staff
07-15-08

Work – Life Balance

family

If you’re half of a dual-income couple with kids, working out your work – life balance involves negotiating at home and at work. First, you and your spouse need to discuss how household duties as well as child care responsibilities will be divvied up. Who does what when?

The best solution is what works best for you, not what society has traditionally expected. If it works for the two of you and your family, it works!

Redefining roles

According to the Council on Contemporary Families, working couples have seen some significant change in responsibilities over the last 30 years. Men are assuming more duties at home and with the children.

This evolution has been a logical response. If a woman has greater career potential than a man, it may make sense for the man to shoulder more family duties. This is now the case about one-third of the time.

So if a couple decides that’s the best trek for them, the next step involves negotiating at work. For men, this can be difficult because society still often regards household chores and child-rearing as the woman’s role.

Pay vs. flexibility

One of the most effective ways to get the flexibility you need is during a review. Especially if your employer is not able to offer you the pay raise you feel you deserve. Perhaps you can negotiate greater flexibility in lieu of the full pay raise you might like.

Balance your costs with your gains. You may not make as much money as you like, but you may also lower your costs. You can spend more time with your kids rather than paying someone else to do it. That difference may almost offset the lower pay raise.

Pay vs. telecommuting

A question to ask yourself (and your boss) is – can you do more work from home? Save both the time and money of commuting. With today’s high gas prices, you’ll save a lot of money. It doesn’t even have to be every day. Any day you don’t have to drive is a plus.

Once again, it may be best to bring this item up as part of a discussion of pay raises. Perhaps a concession to accepting less of a pay raise is to let you telecommute at least some of the time. You can quickly figure out if your savings equals what you had hoped to earn in additional income. And don’t forget – more income gets taxed, saving money on fuel doesn’t. So compare the after-tax income to the savings from not driving as much.

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