Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is Mr. Mom Alright with Mr. Mom?

Mr Mom! This issues came up in my recent interview with Traci on CTB radio while talking about gender roles and submission to husbands and such. My answer to whether I would have a problem with Mr. Mom was of course that I had no problem with Mr Mom. I do not have a personal experience of this to draw on and I don't know too many Mr Moms either. And let us not forget that keeping house especially when it involves one or two toddlers is a full time job on it's own. But from what we see around and in the media, it appears there are two issues that keep coming up in cases where it does not work:
1) If Mr. mom did not choose to be Mr. Mom and it was a role that was thrust on him because he lost his job and the wife had to become the sole bread winner.
2) Mr. Mom does not keep house well; Mr. Mom became Mr Mom without really thinking it through and realizing exactly what it involved. This is typically someone who has always worked and prefers to work. For example, in the case of Jon and Kate as we saw on TV, she got very busy with other things that involved travelling and he became Mr. Mom after having always worked. He was not typically the most domesticated person around with regard to cooking and cleaning etc.

The cases in which it does work however are these:
1) Mr Mom has always loved to cook, clean and keep the kids.
2) Mr. Mom chose to stay at home. It was not decided for him.
3) Mr. Mom has things he can do from home to keep him fulfilled either on a contract basis or otherwise. For example, in the case of Dean McDermot and Tori Spelling, when she was frequently on the road promoting her book and he was home with Liam, he would do Voice over jobs which he could often do from home.
4) Mr. Mom is not married to Mrs. Boss Lady!

It's amazing how in the case of the McDermots, it worked and in the case of the Gosselins, it didn't. It was a very similar scenario with the wives becoming authors and going on the road a lot. They both had reality TV shows running as well. A glaring difference however was the attitude of the two wives. Tori Spelling clearly respects her husband at all times and Kate Gosseling often disrespected Jon a lot even on TV and was in control of the household almost without his input at times. She was always barking commands at him and she seemed to make most of the decisions. So I think we will all agree that a bossy wife and Mr. Mom do not go together.

One of the common bones of contention according to men is that their wives start to lose respect for them when they become Mr. Mom. It's like they become less than a man. Frankly speaking, in a lot of cultures, a man that does pay the bills is not respected. That is not necessarily right but we see it. The women on the other hand complain that this lack of respect comes from the fact that they get home after a ten hour work day and they have to do a lot of the chores the man could have done while he was home all day. It feels like it did when they both worked except that the woman is now working twice as hard at work but still as hard at home! This came up on the Dr Phil show that I dedicated an earlier post to and one of the excuses was that men are not as good at keeping house and multi-tasking. Some women have decided the concept of Mr. Mom does not work for this reason.

There is also the case in which the Mr. Mom arrangement was supposed to be temporary while he looked for another job but somehow, he does not appear to actively looking anymore. He is always on the video game or social networking sites nowadays and they don't even have any kids so he really is not required to be home!

Another issues is the fact that many men do not feel accomplished if they are not working and making money as the bread-winner to care for their family. They feel like their manhood has been stripped from them in this situation. It may not be necessarily true but it is a very common attitude. This often leads to resentment not only of the situation but of their spouse and even depression eventually.

Some of the same scenarios spill over into situations where even though both parties work, there is such a disparity in their incomes with the woman having the capacity to and making sometimes multiples of what the husband makes. We will have to make this a separate discussion, I guess...

So while I personally do not think it is impossible to make a Mr. Mom situation work, the real question for me would be this: "Is Mr. Mom alright with Mr. Mom?

These are just little observations on my part. What do you think? Please share your views. Feel free to be anonymous if you will be able to express yourself better that way.

Have a blessed week.


PS: Future discussions will be about wives submitting (or not) to husbands as well as the woman being the breadwinner...

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