One of the major questions that comes up on Braxton Family Values is who should be the breadwinner in the family: the man or the woman? From Towanda pestering Andre to get a J.O.B. to Trina, Traci and Tamar trying to break out and do their own thing, bringing home the bacon always leads to a lot of drama.
Whether you’re a career woman or a stay-at-home mom, Dr. Sherry Blake, therapist to the Braxton sisters, says every woman should be a “breadwinner” in her own way. Here’s why:
1. Women want to be independent.
Most women want their own money. This gives them freedom in their relationship to do things independent of someone else, Dr. Sherry says. Plus, it gives them a sense of “I can walk any day — I can make it on my own.”
2. Women get things done.
In some relationships — like in Towanda’s case — if the woman is not the breadwinner, things just won’t get done. If Towanda didn’t earn money, how would her family survive? In the episode where she came back from Russia, they were put out of the house and Andre hadn’t started looking for a place. She’s the decision maker.
3. Women want their own identity.
Unlike Towanda, Trina wants to be a breadwinner, to have her own career and her own identity independent of her husband. Yes, her husband works, but she wants to get her career on track because she wants her own sense of “her.”
4. Money gives women a “voice.”
Sometimes, women who don’t earn a living feel “silenced,” Dr. Sherry says. They’d like to be more verbal and express their opinions, but they feel like they don’t have the right to speak up if their mate is the only one earning money. Earning their own money gives them a voice.
5. You can earn bread without being THE breadwinner.
Tamar wants her own career as well. She may never reach her husband’s level of success, but working gives her a sense of productivity, achievement and accomplishment. Even if your husband makes gobs of money (lucky you!), it’s important for women to feel they always have a choice of becoming the breadwinner. Without that option they can feel trapped and codependent.
6. You don’t know what the future holds.
Dr. Sherry encourages women to earn some bread regardless of what their husband makes. As she puts it, you don’t know what’s going to happen 5-15 years from now. There’s job loss, divorce, death, illness … you want to be able take care of yourself independent of anyone. Women should really learn about where to invest and how to save.
7. Most of us can’t live on one income.
For average people, it’s very difficult to live on one income. Most women are working not because they want to, but because they have to in order to make ends meet and to maintain their lifestyle. Like in Towanda’s case, it takes a lot of money to have two kids, a house and the whole bit.
8. Kids go to school eventually.
You might be taking time off to raise your young children, but once the kids are in school, what are you going to do all day? Even working part-time, or keeping one finger in your career, positions you to say, “Now I’m ready to go back to work.”
9. You want to show your kids what women can do.
You are a role model for your children. Even if you stay at home, you want your children to see you being productive. Take on active roles outside the home, leadership roles in the school, etc. If you sit around, what kind of message does that send to your child?
10. You don’t have to ask your husband for money.
Women sometimes shortchange themselves in relationships where they stay home with the kids (and that is a real job). If you’re not earning a paycheck, at least tell your partner that you need X amount of money in your account. You shouldn’t have to feel like a kid where you go to him for the money. Another bonus of earning your own money: He’ll never have to know about that new pair of shoes!