Working women love to joke that what they really need is a wife. It's a complicated subject for Sue Schick, chief executive of UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania and Delaware whose husband, Will, decided to leave his teaching career and raise their three sons, George, 25, Andy, 23 and Will, 17.
We talked about it during our Leadership Agenda interview, published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer.
Question: What's it like to have a stay-at-home husband?
Answer: It's fantastic. Some people would say that this is like a Mr. Mom situation, but it's not. The decision that we made when our youngest son was born was that my husband was there to support our kids. I didn't really care if there were piles of dishes in the sink and I didn't really care if the laundry wasn't done because he was there to be a role model and to take care of our boys. I can get a little choked up about this, but just think of our three boys growing up with their Dad and having their Dad as a role model. That has just made all the difference. I look at our children. They are thriving; they are self-sufficient; they are happy; they are confident and I give my husband so much of the credit, because he really grounded them for all those years. He sacrificed his career to do that for our family.
Q: Do you think he resents your success?
A: He doesn't seem to. He's one of my biggest cheerleaders. He was at the Paradigm Award [Quick point -- Schick was awarded the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's prestigious Paradigm Award bestowed annually on one of the region's top female executives.] He kept saying, `I'm so proud of you.' I really feel like I have his full support. And I know it hasn't been easy for him. Some people will look at the stay-at-home Dad and wonder – how does this relationship work?
Q: And, in a way, it's ridiculous that we're having this conversation.
A: Yes. It's more common today than it was 17 years ago, when he made the decision to stay home. But I will tell you this, I don't think I would have been able to do what I've done in my career. I wouldn't have been able to accomplish what I have without his support and without knowing that he was there for the boys. Certainly it is important for me and for us as a couple to give back to the community. I wouldn't have been able to be a part of the community the way I have if he wasn't there to support the boys.