| Works for Me |

“My Husband Is Less Driven Than I Am”

“What you can do is choose to appreciate his positive qualities, the obvious one being the fact that he’s happy to support you doing work you love”

When we got married five years ago, my husband and I were both working full-time. We now have two kids, and between child care and car pools, something has had to give. My husband cut his hours and has assumed these responsibilities.
While I appreciate that his taking over at home allows me to remain committed to my job (which I love), I resent the fact that he isn’t as driven as I am career-wise. We rely on both incomes, but I’m concerned that if we keep going in this direction, I’m giving up time with my kids and the opportunity for him to progress in his career. Any advice?


ON the surface, this seems to be a reasonable question about careers, marriage, and traditional gender roles and expectations.

That kind of question begs an answer that delves into the Torah views on this topic, the history of Jewish women in the workforce, and the current cultural norms that are influencing your question.

But I don’t think that’s what you want to know. I think your real question can be clarified by separating the two completely different issues you’ve woven together in your mind. One question is actually about your conflicting roles as a mother and an employee. Another question is about your relationship with your husband.

Let’s divide the two concerns. The first would read as such: “I have two kids that I love and a full-time job that I enjoy very much. I’m conflicted because I don’t want to give up the chance to spend time with my children, but I also don’t want to give up my job.”

Now that’s a good question to ask, because you’re staying in your lane. You’re ambivalent about how you spend your time — i.e., with your kids or at work.That’s a question that can be solved by exploring child care solutions, clarifying what your job is providing for you personally, and solidifying your choices and priorities as a parent. The answers to those questions will help you determine whether or not you should keep this job.

Now let’s move on to your second concern. You’re afraid that because your full-time job requires your husband to help out more at home, you are stopping your husband from growing in his career. I disagree.

Hypothesize for a moment that you cut back on your job and took over the responsibilities at home that he fulfills now. Is there a guarantee that your husband will grow his career as a result? Maybe. Maybe not. It doesn’t really matter — because it’s not in your control.

You feel resentful that your husband is not as driven as you are career-wise. That may be true, and there is nothing you can do about that. What you can do is choose to appreciate his positive qualities, the obvious one being the fact that he’s happy to support you doing work you love. Of course, you can choose to stew in resentment, if you prefer. That’s up to you. His career is not.

I’ll tell you just one more thing. When you choose to focus on the parts of your career and life that are really up to you, something very interesting may start to happen in the newly open space that’s no longer clogged by your resentment and expectations anymore. Stay in your lane, and you can go very far.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 971)

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