The most difficult time for married couples seems to be early in the marriage after the children come along. Children change everything. Rick and I went into parenthood thinking, “How much difference can one little baby make?” Ha ha! Mother Nature threw such a wrench into our fairytale life that we almost didn’t survive it. Our lives changed dramatically, and with little help from my husband, the demands of motherhood and “wifedom” overwhelmed me. We suddenly became a typical married couple.
This scenario is played over and over in almost every relationship with children. The children and house take up an amazing amount of time and energy for the wife, which most husbands help very little with, and the husbands feel neglected. He gets little attention from the wife (who barely has time for a shower) and so turns to his work for self-worth. This is usually the time where men are establishing a career, anyway, giving it their full attention. Men also feel a new pressure in financially taking care of their growing family, especially in these times where we tend to overspend and overcharge on our credit cards. If the women isn't already working, she may get a job to help with those finances or even to escape the stigma of being a stay-at-home mom.
Even in this modern world we live where most mothers work full-time or part-time jobs, the biggest complaint I still hear among them is, "He doesn’t do enough to help me." You would expect more participation from the husband if the wife also works. That is not usually the case, though. The bottom line is that women are still the ones to take care of the house and kids while the men make the money and want to come home to relax in their castle. Only now, women also go to work to keep up with our societal expectations while the men are confused about the roles women attempt to enforce upon them. A new level of stress exists that wasn’t there before.
I have studied this dilemma for a long time, trying to figure out why our roles are so ingrained in us, especially in a world that claims to be free of “roles” between men and women. Yes, you may have a rare couple happy to reverse rolls or share equally in the chores of life, but deep down, I believe most of us have the desire to live like the good old days – where momma stayed home with the kids, and dad was the bread winner. Those good old days are, sadly, disappearing from our society. Many couples can’t afford this luxury.
Up until the middle of the twentieth century, women seemed contented with their roles. Let’s face it, men have always lived life as they desired, and women are the ones who overturned the apple cart. (A small amount of women I’d like to add.) Are we better off now? I think not.
I KNOW I’m ruffling some feathers, but I write all this after talking to many women who believe the same thing when they are truly honest with themselves. I have found very few women who love their jobs and prefer their time at work over their time at home with their families. (As usual, there are always exceptions to these generalizations.)
Stay tuned with me as I write more about our roles and look at the biblical reasons for these roles. Please don’t hesitate to make comments – even if you totally disagree! I would love to hear from you!