Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Sivan 5761 - June 6, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
Just Wait Till Daddy Comes Home...
by A. Ross

Although there are hundreds of families nowadays where fathers and mothers reverse roles or apportion household duties equally, in many families the traditional roles of the husband going out to work or learn, and the wife assuming the responsibility of mother and homemaker, are still extant. Even if the mother also has a part time or even full time job, it is she who runs the house.

Thousands of girls leave seminaries with high ideals of marrying a kollelnik who will sit and learn for years to come, and who will become a shining light in the Torah world. Girls who were raised in a home where the father actually did study all day and half the night, and who were unused to a high standard of living, might know what this entails. But most girls who are imbued with the high standards of what to expect of their future partners do not really think past the day of the wedding. They do not realize that their young husbands will be out most of the day, and that they will have many new responsilibities, in spite of being very young themselves.

Then the longed-for children arrive, and these young girls reveal talents and strengths to provide for their growing family. Besides being educators, psychologists, pacificators and often bread winners, they are cooks, laundresses, cleaners and all the other tasks pertaining to running a smooth home. First and foremost, they are wives and aides to their husbands.

It is little wonder, then, that at the end of a day, many mothers want their children in bed. NOW. But children are not always cooperative, especially at bed time. Maybe they have not been cooperative all day. Perhaps Mother has been repeating requests or commands all afternoon, and feels her words falling on deaf ears. Possibly there is one particularly difficult child who does not respond to discipline.

In any event, the house is a mess, the children are all still out of bed, dinner is not quite ready and Father is due home any minute. The more tense the mother feels, the worse the children behave. Then Daddy comes in. "Alright, all toys to be picked up and everybody in bed by the time I count to ten," he says in a cheerful tone of voice. And wonder of wonders, it works! The little angels scuttle.

One hard working mother confided in me recently that this happens more and more frequently in her home and that she feels such a failure. "How does he manage to control them with such ease when I have been nagging all day? In the mornings, too, they get dressed immediately when he tells them to, whereas I have to repeat myself twenty times and even then they dawdle. If I am honest with myself, I also feel a touch of envy at the adroitness he displays when he manages them."

Mothers should rejoice in the fact that the children respect and obey their father. They are far from being failures. Sometimes a person tries in vain to open a screw-top bottle. A second person gives it a light twist and it opens quite easily. Hey, how did he do that? The top has probably been loosened by the first person's efforts. The second one succeeded so easily only because of those efforts.

Father has not seen his children all day. He has not had to discipline them, nor show any disapproval. Thus, Mother feels that she is the severe one who is perhaps even disagreeable at times, and Father comes home and performs miracles with a smile. He only succeeds because she has done much of the work for him!

It makes for a secure and harmonious home if parents work together for the good of the children. There is no rivalry for their love and approbation. Bringing up children is no sinecure and no mother should feel a failure after a day of drying their tears and solving their problems.

And helping them grow into great human beings!


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