… for several decades, men have said that they want to be more involved in family life. They would prefer to work fewer hours. If you ask men who work 50 hours or more how many hours they want to work, huge numbers of them say they don’t want to be working that schedule. They would prefer to be working more like 40 hours a week.
And so what is blocking men from acting on the fact that they want more work-life balance, the fact that they don’t want to be working these extremely long hours? Well, what’s blocking them is the flexibility stigma, the work devotion schema, the sense that they really need to be successful men.
Many of the women I spoke with were troubled by the gender-role traditionalism that crept into their marriages once they gave up work, transforming them from being their husbands’ intellectual equals into the one member of their partnership uniquely endowed with gifts for laundry or cooking and cleaning; a junior member of the household, who sometimes had to “negotiate” with her husband to get money for child care.