Back in the day, it was to my understanding that fathers complimented their roles as breadwinners with the status of "man of the house." Now that we are entering an age where families need to rely on both parents to bring home the bacon, I am wondering how the fathers who still want to be head honcho justify their position. 

This question is for all the fathers out there- do most of you still call yourselves head of the households and why? Do you use your wages to rationalize your position or simply your role as a provider? Is it still "manly" to let your wife call the shots?

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That never happened.  What are you looking for?

The image presented here looks like to me a man and woman struggling over who's in charge, and him saying, I paid for it.  That's a troubled marriage whoever "wins" the argument, because when you win an argument with a spouse, you both lose.

I lead, with her consent, because it makes us happy.  Not because it makes me happy and she has to live with it.

House husband trying to figure out where he fits in the dynamic.


Heh. If that's the case, he may not like the answer.


When my wife and I got married we each agreed we could veto the other.  I know on paper that sounds like a problem but if either of us pulls veto it clearly means that there is a deeper discussion that needs or needed to have happened before some decision is made.

My wife and I are a team.  When we got married we agreed we would follow who's ever career was ascending better for us.  I also admitted if I was not the lead bread winner that it would be okay, but might take an adjustment as my mom was a stay at home mom so I was socially condition to be the wage earner.  9 years in to marriage I think we hit the veto discussion twice.  We hit everything as a team and money is direct deposited and she pays the variable bills.  Our chores are not divided on traditional lines.

If I really felt we needed to move or change we would, but then again if your wife asked you to move or change, wouldn't you?

I appreciate your honesty! I feel your answer may be reflecting a shift from traditional norms of family care. I think it's interesting how you admitted that you were socialized to adopt breadwinner norms. I am still seeing my peers groups and friends talk about this same idea- that it should still be the man who serves as the primary breadwinner. I wonder though if their attitudes will change in the future.

You mentioned that when you and your wife got married that you would follow whoever's career was ascending better. Are you saying that the prosperity of one's career or wages does in fact carry some weight in the decision making process? 

Does who makes more money mean they have more weight or some form of dominance in the relationship?  Not in our relationship.  My wife grew up with in a single parent single income situation where she saw her mom being a career woman, and expected to do the same.  I knew that when I married her, she would seek a career.  As to following the paycheck, that is economic logic as far as we see it.  Now that we have a son we have his education to factor also.

I grew up with a strong mother, and I marred a strong wife.  We are a team.  We have different strengths and weaknesses, but we strive to help each other achieve the goals we have for ourselves and as a team. 

I think the key here is that we see income as a team.  That was a lesson my mom also taught me.  The paycheck my father brought home was a product as much from her work as his.  She provided the stable home, the clean pressed clothing and the foundation so he could stay focused.  They are a team also.

I see no reason to be “Head of Household”.  I have no need of that title and role.  Not needing that persona in my interactions with my wife.  The perspective you speak of is of no use or bearing in my marital relationship.

Why does anybody have to "call the shots"?  To be an efficiently run household, shouldn't each member contribute what they are best at?  I suspect if you want to be "head honcho" these days, you'd better find yourself a woman who wants to be Susie Homemaker. 


I don't call myself the head of the household, but I suppose I'm listed as such on the census or whatever simply because my wife took my surname due to social convention.  She makes more money than I do and handles the household finances because she has a good head for it.  I do the majority of the cooking because I enjoy it and I take care of car and home repairs because I'm more mechanically inclined than she.  I rely on her to tell me when we need to watch our spending, and she relies on me to make sure things around the house run smoothly. 


I do not feel like I'm any less "manly" because of this, in fact I feel more so knowing that I am comfortable with letting her do the things she is better than me at and we have a better household because of it.

It's not all gender based.  There are some sex based reasons (beyond physical) why men usually take the lead in relationships.  To answer the question of why anyone needs to "call the shots", because most teams work better when one person is designated "final approver".  Regardless of how decisions are made, it works best when one person gives the "OK".

Thank you for your response Shane. I was wondering if you could elaborate on these "sex based reasons" that are beyond physical. Are you suggesting that some men are born better leaders?

I'm saying, typically speaking, men are more grounded in their decision making.  They're more logical and rational when sorting out issues.  Women, typically, rely more on feelings when coming to conclusions.  Although I've seen the reverse where the man is more head in the clouds type and the woman is more grounded and reserved.

Issues occur when the roles are unnaturally reversed.  Natural followers should not be thrust into leadership roles they don't desire.  It causes conflict and resentment.

To answer some of your personal observations, it's been my own observation of various cultures all over the world, that despite the outward appearance, women have a lot more pull in the relationship than is often thought.


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