Who is the head of the family?

     “Head of the Family”  is a term commonly used by family members to describe an authority position within their lineage – Extracted from a research paper, social science science and humanities council Canada. It is mostly a male, irrespective of who is the real head of the family.  Mostly the man – husband, father, father-in-law is the head of the family. In the olden days, man was the head of the family because

  • Men were more physically strong than women
  • Men earned money for the living
  • Men were less emotional in making decisions
  • Men had more exposure to the outside world than women
  • Men were more educated than women
  • Men protected women and family

But, is this still applicable in 21st century when women demand equality in all aspects of life.

A 4 year old kid tells her mom, dad is the head of the family not you. Mom obviously gets hurt by the kids statement, so she says I am head of the family too given that I earn, bring money, and have taken major responsibilities in running this house hold.

My perspective on who is the head of the family when both parents bring in money for the family, takes care of children, runs house together – both.  Though I am career oriented and ambitious, always my family especially kid comes first before my career (That does not mean I’ll quit my job for tiny little problems in personal or professional life).  When my kid was born I decided to take a break from work but I cook, I feed, did everything that my new baby required and was completely involved in making decisions for us, my family and myself. I have had the privilege to take break in my career. My husband did NOT had that luxury. In those situations I’d call him “ the bread winner of my family”, not the head of the family. My husband earns for our living that is why he should be called the bread winner. But irrespective of whether a women brings money or not as long as she has the authority and responsibility to take important decisions such as house, kids, finance, self , I think both husband and wife are “Heads of the family”. I know it sounds weird but that is the fact. It is not necessarily the man, the head of the family, not necessarily there is one head of the family.

What do you think who should be the head of the family?

In 21st century, shouldn’t women be the head of the family given she brings in money, makes a family, cooks food, raises children, educate kids, runs house, manages finances, has equal exposure to the outside world?

 

who is a better mommy?

     In a judgmental tone, one of my neighbor says “My sis-in-law, a doctor, you know what she did… she sent her one year old baby to a day-care. I do NOT understand what will she do with all the money she earns, I do NOT understand why does she have to get back to work so early right after delivery. Kids are the first most important thing in life.”

Another neighbor, who couldn’t wait for the other lady to finish, adds to it ….”Do you know, a new family from California just moved in. She is very seriously looking for a pre-school for a 2.5 year old kid!!! Now, where in the world will you find a school for a 2.5 year old kid. Also, the kids MUST stay at home until they are 3, anyways they have their entire life to slog at school or office you see . I don’t understand why mothers don’t realize they need to spend a quality time with their kids to RAISE THEM BETTER…….in a sarcastic tone. I control my cunning laughter and giggle in my mind thinking….you dumbo, Montessori enroll kids as early as 2. Explore the world outside rather staying inside the four walls the entire time. Things have changed kids doesn’t want to stay at home anymore, they want to explore the outside world as early as possible.

Bottom line, a myth, you got be a domestic goddess to raise a better kid.

I would like to refer to stay-at-home mom’s as domestic goddesses…..derived from the novel – The Red Hat Societies’s Domestic Goddess. I like the fancy name for the most thankless job ever. And of-course undomestic goddess for a working women.

How many domestic goddesses do this in a day?

  1. Watch TV shows or movies when the kids are around and playing. Especially, TV shows like Kyon ki saas,bhi kabhi bahu thi, desperate house wives, Sex and the city, weeds etc.
  2. Show their frustrations on kids as they are taking care of them 24/7 themselves.
  3. Bitch about husbands or in-laws or even their kitty party friends on the phone in kids presence.
  4. Talk on phone or even a video chat with family, friends and others for long time when the kid is either playing by themselves or licking whatever he/she finds on the ground.
  5. Sink in the computer for hours browsing something that might not add any value to the kid nor self.
  6. Nap for long hours with kids.
  7. Work in the kitchen cooking a 3 course meal everyday or wrapping up household chores when the kid is all by self.
  8. At the end of a day domestic goddess is so exhausted , such that taking the kid out to a park or riding to a museum is like next to impossible.

Most domestic goddesses do some or all of the above. And I get it, we are all humans, though we call ourselves super moms, it is one of the most tiring and endless jobs on the earth. I do NOT say doing things from list above is wrong. Every individual irrespective of their choices have a limitation and needs space to just survive. I question how a domestic goddess can raise a better kid in comparison to undomestic goddess given the time gone doing some or all the things from above? Working parents are blamed to have NOT spent quality time with kids, neglected or ignored their kids. It bothers me especially when a working mom is questioned for her ability in raising a better kid. I have lived a life of domestic and undomestic goddess. In both the roles what I think has been critical is taking out a dedicated quality time for kids. It could be 30 mins or 3 hours in a day, doesn’t matter. Staying-at-home or working is a personal choice. It has nothing to do with raising a better child. Staying at home the entire day does NOT mean more quality time with the kid. One does NOT have to be a stay-at-home mom to raise a better kid  nor one has to be working to ignore or neglect the kid. 

 

Fair Share

On women’s day 2006, at my work place, Hyderabad, India we all girls, ladies, women gathered in at the convention center in a corporate office to celebrate the special day. The organizers initiated a conversation….. what are some of the challenges women face for power, note this question is mostly applicable for working women because for a home maker this was not an ideal question for a conservative society we have in India. Most women expressed the fair share issues like, I got to juggle at home and office alone, I get little help from my husband, my in-laws expect me to do everything, I have to take care of my kids alone though I am working full-time etc. Then a white women (from west) stood up and said, as a women we are equally responsible in deciding a fair share. Most women complain that her husband does not share work at home and outside, but how many ask their husbands to do chores, how many sit and talk about owning responsibilities in and around home and child care. That kind of triggered my thoughts too……. I agree, there are some jerks who need slave wives, but in 21st century there are men who understand and agree for a fair share of responsibilities given women express them.

The secret of successful marriages in the western world is the fair share. Husband and wife decide on sharing responsibilities way before the baby is born, rather way before the couples start trying for a baby. However, rate of successful marriages, so-called successful marriages is higher in the east than west. This calls for another post on this blog :). Back to the fair share discussion, a good example is a new mom and dad decide on who does what, after the baby has arrived, such as mom feeds for the obvious reasons which dad can’t do, and dad cleans the poop that happens usually after a feed. This is just not limited to parents but others too on a daily basis. Wife cooks and husband cleans or vice versa depending on who does or wants  to do what better. This is just something my husband and I have decided to have a fair share in the house-hold chores, I cook he cleans, that way we are happy in what we are doing. He hates to cook and I am a passionate cook. The bottom line is fair share. Fair share also plays an important role in finances. For whatever reasons a home maker tend to lose economical independence as she is not the bread-winner for the family. But, it is a home maker’s responsibility to make it clear to the husband that taking care of home and kids is a full-time 24/7, never-ending job and definitely, definitely she has the right to the finances to save and to spend.

How many women demand their spouses, partners or special someone about a fair share in finances, chores, parenting or anything in life that is meant to be shared?