Fifty years ago men knew what to expect from marriage. Well they had every reason to expect, if they watched their fathers, the role model was clear.
Men came home from work to a meal with crunchy roast potatoes and lots of meat, they then sat in a chair and fell asleep as the wife washed up. Nice little image? And it was the normal routine wasn’t it? We have recently had some hilarious but not far off true, examples of what the ‘perfect wife’ was expected to be. No longer are those examples so.
It was brought home to me with blinding clarity a few years back when I watched as my two sons changed nappies on their babies, as the women laughed and sipped wine in the kitchen. It was a great change of attitude, a sign of changing times.
I am proud to say both my boys turned in to very ‘hands on’ Dads. Whereas men in the fifties rarely if ever, dealt with changing a nappy, my boys, bathed their children, and dealt with all the ugly side of parenting, because they wanted to.
Even now when my sons are in their fifties they amaze me. The son who once said, “I don’t want to learn how to iron a shirt, I’ll always get a woman to do it!” Guess what? he is the one in a household where the woman works long shifts, he is now the head cook and bottle washer, well he does all the ironing, most of the cooking and the housework.
What is more he does most of it better than I do. This same son had more to do with the upbringing of his young son right from the start, he was the one buying him clothes taking him places, giving him the best he could, and because he loved him too much perhaps he overdid the lavish birthday gifts, but well, you only get one chance at being a Dad sometimes.
The younger son was always easy going, but his contribution to our domestic chores was not very apparent. He left home fairly early and went off into the big bad world, so I didn’t see the subtle changes until much later. It was his caring side I was most in awe of. He gave the job of caring for his children all he had. The start was pretty shaky for the couple, lots of disturbed nights and then with their second daughter who had colic frequently, a year of very little sleep, as this went on during a period of him building up his business it was pretty tough. I once woke when they stayed with us, to find him pacing the room with the youngest child, he did that for three hours, most nights for many months. Now he is teaching her to drive, and doing it with pleasure, that is real dedication!
I used to worry, when he came home from a hard day, (he is a stone mason with a business in Melbourne) and took over the bathing and the cooking before he even had time to shake the work dust off his clothes. Yet he did it willingly. He did it to keep their life on track, to help his wife, and because he loved his children.
Like many other men the role has changed for this generation. But isn’t it confusing, some women say they want strong men, reliable hard working men. Yet still they demand the man is also able to show his more vulnerable side too. They want him to listen to endless discussions about being alert to their moods. When women were ‘being difficult’ in the past, men just went out for a drink and ‘left them to it’ Times have changed and modern man is evolving.
Once it was so different, and there are many women with horrible stories, even recently we have seen how vile and cruel men can be. How women still need the help, love and protection of our law and society needs to be listening or it will go on. But spare a thought for young fathers out there, trying to do the right thing. I for one am proud of my two.
How will it change now, are women in some instances becoming too strong and too demanding? How do you view the modern marriage, and have you seen examples of good husbands, or the opposite, the bad ones? I know they still exist, like the prehistoric animals though, their days are numbered.
What do you think about the changing life of the modern man? What was your husband like when you got married and what is he like now? Share your thoughts in the comments below…