Much has been written and discussed about modern women in double career families who find themselves under double pressure: They must take care of their careers which generate stress, and then when they arrive home, they still have to tend to a woman’s family obligations, namely, to cook, clean, mend, and provide support for children and spouse. Not an easy burden.
In traditional society, the roles were more clearly defined. Men were responsible for the earnings while women, the homemakers, took care of the house, the children, and the family’s social activities.
One focused on the outside, the other on the inside.
Life was simpler.
All that has changed and is thus the source of stress.
Women are now working outside the home, sometimes in high paying positions. But regardless of income, they are also responsible for running the house. Their role now stretches from outside to inside.
But they are not alone in experiencing stress.
I wonder if there is much literature on what is happening to men.
They are supposed to earn a living all right, but when they get home the spouse wants attention and sharing of the family burdens. Men are supposed to play the father role more actively today, much more than our fathers. And give attention to the spouse. Help with household chores.
This is all new.
I, for instance, grew up in the neighborhood streets playing soccer or hide and seek. I had very little interaction with my father and did not miss it. I had my friends from sunrise to sunset.
Today, my kids expect for me to drive them, coach them, and spend time with them.
Men are now accused of working too hard, of not having enough time for family, wife, and children.
They find themselves between the rock and a hard place. They are confronted with both expectations from work and expectations related to fulfilling their family responsibilities.
From a man’s perspective, one cannot win no matter what he does: someone in the family is unhappy and makes him feel guilty for not meeting their expectations.
The roles have gotten mixed up. Expectations changed to the detriment of both sexes. We sure live in interesting times.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes