We have just made a pretty good argument for Dad’s to parent differently and have different experiences with their children. However, having a different God given role doesn’t mean that Dad should feel separated from the flow of the home. In fact, it is important that Dad should view himself as a co-president of the family business. Families should be run just as effectively as a business, with principles, mission, and acknowledgment of the different roles of board members. If each president is working toward a different thing, then the family business will be divided and fall apart. There is a difference between principle and practice. Both parents must endorse the same principles even if the practice of teaching those principles may vary from time to time.
Let’s talk about the partnership. I know a man who runs a heating and air conditioning business with a partner. They are equal partners benefit wise, but they have different responsibilities. My friend actually does the heating etc. and organizes the work crews. His partner, on the other hand, takes care of all the paperwork, invoices, advertising etc. Who is more valuable? Neither one, they are different, but equal.
Parenting is the same. The job descriptions may look different, but they are both equally valuable to running the home. However, similarly to an efficient business, each partner must be working toward a common goal, and support the other’s expertise.
Ok parents, here is your warning. Don’t compare workloads! It’s a slippery slope to walk on. These comparisons show lack of respect for your spouse and strain your relationship. If this relationship isn’t strong, the whole family weakens. Your children also perceive that relationships are about comparing and being better, rather than supporting and loving. Even worse, some children feel a need to pick a side. Whether they tell you they picked a side or not, they will. Then your child that sees everything as black and white will have a negative opinion of your spouse. I don’t know any parent that would want their child to hate his or her mother or father. Be careful! Think about what you say.
Why do fathers feel a separation from home life?
What can mothers do to give fathers more ownership of home life?
When the father is away from home most of the time he has to turn over the role of running the home to the mother. This relinquishing of power by the father increases the power of the mother. The mother becomes the home and schedule organizer – the home doctor and nutrition specialist – the teacher – the money mover – the law- and the social contact person for the home.
Many dads can look at that job description and think that everything is taken care of at home. He is free to assume that his only responsibilities lie outside the home. And, that means home is only meant to rejuvenate Dad and make him feel loved.
These two things are really important for all family members, but mom could find herself not getting rejuvenated or loved if Dad doesn’t see his wife’s need for him to help with the home responsibilities when he is there. This is the beginning of much frustration and resentment in the marriage relationship.
About a year after Spencer and I got married, we had a discussion about having children. I told him that I planned on quitting my high-power/high-pay job to stay at home with out future children, when they came. He gave me the strangest look. Something like, “What! Are you crazy?” Then he said something that has had lasting impression on me. “Why? All of the women I know work and have children.”
I was shocked. How could we have courted, and been married this long and not be on the ‘same page’ about our future family? Our religion, which we shared, even instructs women to rear their own children. It was clear that the social norms had penetrated the core of my husband.
We obviously had a long talk about what God intended children to be reared like and the possible repercussions of me not doing what I felt I had been called to do in my home.
Spencer came ‘on board’ with my family vision, but there was still one more thing I could sense from him. I made more money than he did, so if I quit working, providing for our family alone would put a lot of pressure on him. Then it hit me. I owned EVERYTHING in our relationship. He was just following my lead; if it was convenient.
Shortly after this beginning conversation to the structure of our family I found out that we were expecting our first baby. When the baby came I cut my work load to two afternoons a week. This was not the goal, but it was a transition. During this time, I assured my husband that he could be a sole provider for our family. God trusted him and so did I. My pay slowly decreased and my husband’s pay increased, because he changed jobs. Soon OUR vision of keeping me at home with the children was realized. Spencer was a more happy complete man. I was able to see what he really needed through the rhetoric of what he wanted. He needed to ‘own’ his provider position even though he felt he wanted me to keep making money, so life would be easier; more comfortable.
By the way, I also let him ‘own’ most of the yard care. Wasn’t that kind of me? Yikes, when I think how powerful I was in our relationship it makes me sick. Was I his wife or his mother? I was still so controlling. I kept complete control of the finances as well. I knew that I was more disciplined, so I ran the money and paid the bills. I did this for nine years of marriage.
When Spencer decided to start his own plumbing business, I didn’t think he had the smarts and the initiative to make it work. –Sorry Honey—I wasn’t all the way ready for the risk. Thankfully, he did it anyway and I wasn’t holding his hand. At this time, I also decided to give him all the money management concerns. I figured that if he was going to keep us afloat, he needed to be better acquainted with what it took. Finally he ‘owned’ all family financial responsibility. I was free of some of my control issues, and he was free to be a provider and a man.
My point in telling this story about our family beginnings is to illustrate the unity that happens when one partner decides to give some of what they ‘own’ away to the other. If Spencer owns it, he is dedicated to it, and I am the same. So, if I only tell him what to do and don’t let him ‘own’ anything, then I am making life harder for myself.
Go ahead mothers, give him ownership of his own manhood.
How do you give away parenting? Isn’t this something that moms have to keep too? Yes, but aren’t there multiple jobs and lessons to teach associated with parenting? There is the overall organization, building good character, disciplining, teaching, counseling, and the list goes on and on. Every week, or day, there is some new area of focus added to the list.
How to inspire your spouse to want to have meetings and use the TSG principles iscontinued here.