For the entirety of my married life, I’ve made more money than my husband. And not a little bit more – a lot.
The year we met, in my job as a City lawyer, I made something like 10 times what he did as an actor and bartender.
Over the years, my accomplishments grew. I went from working on Wall Street to starting my own business. My work was profiled on Forbes.com, on DailyWorth and in MindBodyGreen, among other outlets. I made the cover of a magazine in the UK.
And my income continued to outpace my husband’s exponentially. When I got pregnant with our daughter in 2011, it made sense for a whole host of reasons for my husband to quit work and become the stay-at-home parent.
I entered into all of this – our partnership, our marriage, parenthood and our family arrangements — with open eyes and a complete awareness of the financial responsibilities I was undertaking.
And yet, a part of me was secretly, deeply ashamed that I was so successful. A part of me couldn’t reconcile how I had become the provider for my family while my husband stayed home with our kids, instead of the other way around.
In the dark, at night, I often wondered why I got so uncomfortable every time someone asked me, “so, what does your husband do?”
I didn’t talk about this to anyone. I was a public figure, a C-Level executive, a huge success by any measure and a feminist to boot. It seemed so retrogressive, so contrary to all that I believed in, so unappreciative, to feel this way in even the smallest amount.
Shame, as we all know, grows in silence.
Soon, it became unbearable. And so, like any good lawyer trained in problem-solving, I began to investigate how I had gotten to that place.
When I began to look at that shame, at my embarrassment and even my occasional rage at the family dynamic we had chosen, however, I soon realised that the problem wasn’t me after all. Something much bigger was at play.
Certain memories began to grow in importance. For instance, my dad had raised me to be a feminist, and had always told me that there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish, regardless of gender. My career trajectory had largely proven him right.
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And yet, he had also pulled me aside at an engagement party when I was in my early 30s and told me that I should never agree to marry someone who offered me a ring of less than two carats.