It’s so interesting, isn’t it, how we all bring to our own marriages and home environments, the roles and traditions that we grew up understanding within our families of origin. We may say that we don’t believe in particular gender roles, but we certainly know what we’re accustomed to as we look back on what our mothers and fathers did in the daily routines of running a household when we were growing up.
In my family of origin, there was no doubt who was the bread winner and who was the homemaker. I guess in past generations, there was a much more clearly defined differentiation between mother and father in the home. For the most part, women were the “home” “makers”…they ran the home and were responsible for all the goings-on related to the house and kids. They did the laundry, did the grocery shopping, cooked the meals, kept the house neat and clean, and took care of doctor and dentist appointments, etc. There wasn’t as much chauffeuring as there is nowadays since the streets and neighborhoods in our towns were much safer back then. Moreover, there weren’t nearly as many after-school activities. Maybe it seemed that way because moms weren’t needing to pick us up and drop us off everywhere. We walked…because we had less to fear!
The fathers or husbands were clearly the wage-earners as there were fewer women in the work force. They were gone to their jobs all day and expected a hot meal on the table when they returned home. Father was often unapproachable and revered by his children as someone to be respected and almost feared: “Wait ’til your father gets home!” was a phrase we heard often, when we had misbehaved!
Now many women work outside the home. They are now in the workplace holding down every kind of job known to man, previously, and do double and triple duty by still being on the hot seat to keep a nice home, raise the children well, hold down that job, and juggle all the other plates without complaining. It’s really a miracle that more of us aren’t in meltdown mode more often!
As much as dads are involved when they get home (don’t get me started on the idea of dads wanting to be their children’s “friends”) I feel the onus is still on the moms to “do it all…well”! We saw our moms raise our families of origin, but fail to realize that raising us was their primary, and in many cases, only focus. Most were stay-at-home moms. That was their job~ that was what was expected of them and no one asked “do you work?” Everyone knew it was more than a full time job!