The changing role of the modern man 223



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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… 

Jacqui Lee

Jacqui Lee is 75 and now retired but the last ten years or so have been some of her busiest. She worked at a hospital, where she took several Certificated courses, she cleaned a school, helped to run two conventions, wrote short stories, started painting, and in fact is never bored even now, "I honestly feel we are lucky to still be upright and breathing, and my motto is, Remember yesterday, dream of tomorrow, but live today. I love fun, clothes, food and friends."

  1. This is all afairly glib way of looking at the situation, but times have changed and so men…and women…must change with it. Yes, in my early days, fathers went out to work, mothers were the carers who stayed at home and reared the children.
    Today, with women in the workforce, times they are a’changing as no longer can a family exist on a single income
    So both men and women have to rise to the ocassion.
    Men and women have changed their most cases adding to previous roles, because that is now the only way the family can survive,
    Has it been a good change?
    The jury is out.
    No longer is the family the centre of our life, no longer are there clear roles and role models.
    Our latest generation is different from the past generations.
    Face to face communication is a dying (if not dead) art. It is now all internet
    Reading, communication, outdoor family games (hide and seek, charades , monopoly and all those other personality building games) are gone, replaced by the iphone, laptop, internet.
    Good or bad?
    Who knows?
    But I miss the family life, the whole family meeting together over meals, the communication, the arguements, the tears and the smiles.
    What we have now is separateness within the family.
    There is an old adage about the family that prays.plays together, stays together

    1 REPLY
    • It was meant to be my feelings, and may be glib, but I was not writing it for University entry just for other women and readers. I agree if you go into the whole social scene immense changes have taken place, I was in fact pointing out that men are no longer as they were. If you wish perhaps you could write a paper on it? However I do heartily agree with one point, I miss and am sad that for some families sitting together to eat is missed out, NOT in my family though.

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