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Do you remember when the man was the "head of the family"

(101 Posts)
biglouis Mon 30-Jan-23 14:50:17

and the “breadwinner” and it was considered shameful for a wife to HAVE go out to work? I was brought up in such a family. When my mother had to take a part time job to make ends meet (I was about 14/15) I know my father hated it.

A short time ago there was a thread in mumsnet where a man had ended a relationship with his GF because she did not have a job. She had young children to care for, including one with special needs, so surely her “job” was being a mother/carer while the children still needed her.

The attitude now seems to be that unless you are the mom of young kids or are caring for someone then you should have an employed job, otherwise you are not contributing.

How times have changed.

biglouis Mon 30-Jan-23 14:51:35

sorry for the extra "e" in the title.

GagaJo Mon 30-Jan-23 14:52:43

No, thankfully. All the women in my family have worked. Grandmother's and mother. I'm very glad of that because it set a template for me and has for my DD too

Not to mention that the women in my family have always been go-getters too.

Good old granny!

GagaJo Mon 30-Jan-23 14:53:16

Errant comma there!

BlueBelle Mon 30-Jan-23 15:00:17

No Mum always worked and so did one of my Nans after marriage The other one didn’t

AGAA4 Mon 30-Jan-23 15:05:24

My family was like that. Dad was the breadwinner and didn't want mum to work.

When I went back to a part time job after my children were born my mum referred to my work as "a little job" which annoyed me hugely. She told her friends it was pin money but it was to pay the mortgage.

sodapop Mon 30-Jan-23 15:10:12

My father had his own business so my mother did his books, invoices etc. I don't remember her having a job outside the house though.

biglouis Mon 30-Jan-23 15:14:18

My father certainly had a predudice against anything which he saw as diminishing his position as the family provider. He refused to allow me to go on a school trip to Paris even though the school offered a bursary which would have paid for most of it. He saw it as "charity". It was something I never forgave him for. I told him I would travel the world one day and pay for it with my own money.

His attitude to education was "Whats the good of educating a girl? Your only going to get married and have babies."

When I told him I had decided never to have children he told me "You will have what God gives you."

That was his attitude towards a woman with aspirations.

Fleurpepper Mon 30-Jan-23 15:16:46

I remember it was accepted by some. Never by my mother (born 1915), and certainly not for me.

I remember being stopped mid 70s in the town centre by a canvasser. I was not in a hurry so accepted her request to ask me a few questions. 'Who is the Head of Household' she asked. No-one, I replied. 'Do you work?' she went on. Me 'No, well yes, I do work very hard raising our kids and looking after the house'. She 'does your OH work?' I replied 'yes he does have a job but does nothing at home'. 'Ah, she said, so that is simple, he is the Head of Household then'. Me 'no, good bye' walk away!

Fleurpepper Mon 30-Jan-23 15:17:58

My mother was always the bigger earner, and had a car long befor my dad ever learnt to drive!

ginny Mon 30-Jan-23 15:27:34

One of my Grandmothers and my Mum worked outside the home
I was a SAHM until my youngest was at school and loved every moment. After that I worked part time.
I never felt diminished as my DH could not have done his job if I hadn’t been able to do as I much on the home front.

Mollygo Mon 30-Jan-23 15:32:13

Head of the family never really came into question. I worked before I had the children, then was a SAHM while they were young, then went back to work. Since our finances were all joint and decisions about big purchases, which joint, I never really thought about it.

Fleurpepper Mon 30-Jan-23 15:37:04

DD1 went to buy a very expensive car not long ago. She discussed it, tried it, and said 'OK I'll have one, when can you deliver?. The Salesman said 'ah wonderful, but shouldn't your husband come along and approve the purchase?'

No, she said, shall I buy it in (next town) they seem a bit more up-to-date there. He went red and apologised and tehy signed the papers and she paid deposit.

Joane123 Mon 30-Jan-23 15:41:53

Both my mum and dad worked. Dad was in first before mum and as I came home from school dad was in charge of making tea which would be either egg and bacon, sardines on toast or cheese on toast! All very enjoyable. Happy days.

Juliet27 Mon 30-Jan-23 15:44:13

We lived above the newsagents/bookshop that dad owned and mum often helped in the shop so it was more of a family business and both parents were always around, although I was usually out over the woods and fields!!

Georgesgran Mon 30-Jan-23 15:57:07

Like you ginny I was a SAHM for many reasons and like you, my DH always appreciated that without that arrangement he couldn’t do the job he did or earn his fairly high salary.
However, I don’t think he was ever Head of the Household, because I was ‘in charge’ at home. Should an appliance break down and be beyond economic repair, then I’d head off to get another, I’d see to decorators and other tradespeople and it was I who took the DDs to school for 15 years and attended any sports/speech days/functions/open days etc. Our money was joint money, as it had been before I’d given up work and he had no problem with me spending it on whatever was needed. I returned to work very temporarily, but then signed up for voluntary work, which I did for 23 years.

Visgir1 Mon 30-Jan-23 16:13:34

No not in my family.
Both my Grandmother's worked part time (one had a shop) . Both born turn of the century.
Both very much in charge of the household.
My mum worked part time as a Further Education Tutor , my sister and I got the benefit of that extra income.

My mum sorted everything she even gave my Dad his "pocket money".
My Dad reckoned my Mum had a secret "Swiss" Bank account. He had no idea what they had in the Bank and didn't really care.

Norah Mon 30-Jan-23 16:22:23

biglouis The attitude now seems to be that unless you are the mom of young kids or are caring for someone then you should have an employed job, otherwise you are not contributing.

Annoying and condescending as that attitude is, it seems quite prevalent. I've always been sahm and I always knew I was/ still am contributing.

M0nica Mon 30-Jan-23 16:28:06

Gosh, no. On my mothers side we are good Irish immigrant stock, came over during the Great Famine and, in London everyone had to work to keep their heads above water. Both my grandmother and Great Grandmother were widowed in their mid-30s and had to work to support their families.

My parents had a marriage of absolute equality. A joint account, one cheque book - and that lived in my mother's handbag. No handing out of housekeeping. My parents trusted each other not to spend recklessly.

My dad was in th army and we were always on the move, but my mother worked as a teacher for most of my childhood. My father never gave any impression of minding

DH's mother, also a teacher, was the main wage earner in his family. His father worked on the assembly line at Vauxhall in Luton when car making was a seasonal job. He worked for Vauxhall from September to April, but had to get any work he could over the summer.

So when we married, neither of us had any experience of anything but marriages of equals - and that is what we have.

MawtheMerrier Mon 30-Jan-23 16:35:50

He may have been the head but Mum was always the NECK and the neck determines which way the head turns! grin grin

AGAA4 Mon 30-Jan-23 16:49:47

Same in my family. Dad went out to work but mum was definitely the Boss.

Sallywally1 Mon 30-Jan-23 16:53:41

My mum was the main breadwinner as my dad was very poorly paid.

The lesson I did learn from this was the deep unfairness of her doing all the housework, on top of working full time. I impressed this upon my other half when we were first married and emphasised that if he did nit pull his weight in the cleaning department then no would I! We have always more or less shared it, though I do do all the cooking!

MrsKen33 Mon 30-Jan-23 16:56:59

DH’s father was head of the family. He had meat when his wife and children did not. He would just hold his empty cup up when he wanted it refilled. His wife rushed to fill it. I was astonished when I first went to tea there.

sparkly1000 Mon 30-Jan-23 17:13:45

In the early 60’s my best friends mother always referred to her husband as “The master”.

I always found this as very odd.

GagaJo Mon 30-Jan-23 17:57:06

My grandad did all the cooking. He was a fabulous cook, having learned his skills in the army.