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?
The idea of a man leaving the house, traveling to a factory or office, earning the family's living, and then coming back home to wife and kids is very modern.
And then existed in America only for the middle class and only for about 15 years. Nostalgia is a sonofabitch in the light of history.
I would definitely agree that history plays a big role in how people think and act today. I think it is important to acknowledge the historical framework we draw our ways of living from, especially when it comes to living with our spouses and children.
I don't call myself the head of the household because I see husbands and wives as equal partners in a relationship / partnership known as a family.
Growing up, my father was the breadwinner and my mother was the homemaker. My dad didn't get any special authority just because he was bringing home the money just like my mom didn't get any special authority because she did everything around the house. Each had their areas of expertise but neither had absolute authority. Both sides were seen as equal contributors towards the overall success of the family.
This is how I've always seen things and my wife has the same perspective. We both work and make decent money. If either of us wanted to quit our jobs to go back to school or to become full-time homemakers, or if either of us lost our jobs and were unemployed for a while, we wouldn't suddenly be relegated to being second-class decision-makers. Our worth within the relationship wouldn't change because of these sorts of ebbs and flows.
That's the way we see things, anyway.
I am the head of the house. We discussed it and decided it would be that way. My wife can make decisions without me for most day to day things, but for the big decisions I have final word.
But its not my way or the highway. She's very much a part of those decisions. And when it comes to the kids, I will NEVER overrule a ruling she's made. If I disagree, we will talk about it when we're alone, but I want our kids to know she has authority over them and they can't appeal to me once she's made a decision.
I don't necessarily think our way is the best for everyone. I've seen families reverse those roles and its worked well. A bigger problem is when the kids run the household.
You know, I think we all misunderstood OP from the beginning. It's defensible, because he asked an abstract question, rather than saying where he was coming from. It's not a man trying to justify a wish to be a tyrant, or a man wondering if it's OK that he's not one. It's a young man trying to process a message he's getting from his father. Is father right? How right is he?
W/ no disrespect to the father, I think he's got it wrong. We don't earn our positions -- not within a family, or in the greater parts of life. Those positions are a gift to us. We should give as well.
I couldn't agree more strongly with Will that the whole issue within a marriage of who's in control is distructive and indicates a problem within the relationship. My wife and I never rejected the traditional role of man as provider; it's just that I'm currently unable to find work due to my disability and other factors beyond my control. That fact, and also that she absolutely LOVES what she does in her line of work, make it easy to decide who will be the financial provider. My status as a man within my family does not depend on whether or not I earn the money, but how willingly and readily I pull my weight within it. With a child on the way, it looks likely that I'll be a stay-at-home Dad in addition to the other responsabilities I have taken upon myself. As far as who has the final say; it's a moot issue with me. We make decisions together and agree on them as a single unit. Only within religious or spiritual matters do I have the final say, but even that's a non-issue because we are both in total agreement on that front as well. My wife does not see me as any less of a man because I happen not to work. It's true that I would prefer to be the one who works while she keeps up the home and so on, especially now with the pregnency and all that is to come, but this is the hand we've been dealt and we're making the best of it together and quite content within our rolls.
I think it's more manly / more responsible to choose whichever structure is the most successful for the entire family and it sounds like that's exactly what you did, J.D.
If it's more profitable for mom to work while dad stays at home and it's also highly beneficial to the kids, then that seems like a no-brainer to me. In fact, it would seem highly irresponsible and quite cowardly to force your wife to stay home while you went to work even though she could make more money for your family, all because you want to maintain the appearance of being the man / the head of the family. That's like buying a Hummer instead of a Tercel because you prefer the appearance of wealth than actually having money in your bank account.
Don't kid yourselves, guys. Being "the man" is about doing what's right; it's not about looking like you're the man. Anyone who says otherwise just lacks the confidence to put themselves in the same shoes.
lmao... My wife and I share the responsibility. That of what you speak has long past.
Not as much as you think.