Building a career is hard. It takes luck, and long hours, and self awareness and maybe even some talent. It's hard enough that just going to work every day feels like enduring deprivation, especially when your hobbies and your 'real life' are waiting at home.
It's hard enough that you don't want to make it any harder. When you get home after work, you don't want to work any more. When it's the weekend, you want to rest. That's the schedule you signed up for - five hard days, two days off. If that doesn't come, life feels insufferable - the price of consenting to those five days away from your real life was the two days to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
So you tell yourself this story that there's some kind of slow burn that the rest of the family is doing. That because they're not working to the extreme peaks of adrenaline that you are they can keep rolling 24 hours a day, every day of the year. And they fade into the background. Because there aren't any inflection points in their life - there aren't any major decisions to make. Just, you know, keep the cupboards full and the nappies clean.
It's not actually ethically possible to choose not to have any more choices. I'm skipping the part about whether there was a discussion, or it was obvious, or it's the only way it's going to work, or whatever. Once you're at the point that you think she chose not to be able to choose any more, you've stumbled into non-consensual deep water.
It's easy to do.
Being a man in a western society is like inheriting a slave plantation. And it's not your FAULT that rich Uncle Culpepper left you a thousand acres of cotton, but you're riding uneasy on the straining backs of an underclass. You don't want to know about it, and you don't look at it, and you even let them eat in the house. And EVERYBODY says it's okay. You're a good guy, you're working hard and doing the right thing. And it's her job to support you, right? How hard can it be to sit at home and look after the kids? She should feel grateful that she doesn't have to work.
But she couldn't if she wanted to, right? Because even if you started on an even trajectory, every baby robs her of two years and her curve flattens out. Your star rises and hers fades, and you don't even want to know about it because just as her choices start to disappear your training kicks in and you put your head down and start to drive harder at work. Your salary is the mark of being a good dad and a good dude.
Meanwhile, she's in her thirties and looking at entry level jobs which pay a quarter of what you can earn, and she'd be managed by some twenty year old, and what's the POINT?
I mean, it would be good to give her the choice to be the one who works. She's got the choice to be the one who works. But it just doesn't work. The deck is stacked against her, it doesn't add up, she can't pay the mortgage.