For the sake of the children – Which “dough” do you make in your home? PART 2

The last time we talked about the various roles held by parents in their homes. All aimed at providing the best for the family. Two important roles are commonly required to run a home. They are in my opinion the bread-winning and the home-catering roles. In areas of the world were families are structured quite simply with traditions and educational restrictions placed on women, these responsibilities do not need any debate. The men assume the bread-winning role while the women automatically assume the home-catering role. Whichever role is undertaken by each parent, they become responsible for either making the money – dough or using the dough to provide what the family needs. If you missed that discussion, you can catch up here.

In some families, the battle regarding who carries out the bread-winning role is non-existent. Both parents decide to carry out the home-catering role.While the children in these units get the equal attention of their parents, the sacrifice becomes that of the economy. This steers the primary sacrificial role which the parents are responsible for unfavourably towards society.

Where true needs such as disability and illness exist in a family, genuinely negating the ability of both parents to provide for the family, responsible economies are structured to gladly pick up the tab and give all families a shot at survival on a reasonable income through benefits.

However, unless this is the case, deciding that both parents become home-caterers means that families begin to lean unfavourably towards the economic structures described above. They then rely solely on “benefits” handed down by government for their survival. As a result of which the rest of the society are left overburdened with heavy tax liabilities to cater for these families.

The constant abuse of the system by these parents bites deeply into the fabric of the economy. It unnecessarily punctures the economic purse, causing an income leakage which will otherwise be spent on providing infrastructure and amenities for society at large. The long term effect of such systematic abuse can impoverish the economy as they get to crippling levels of unemployment that cannot be sustained while national income nose dives.

However, not all economies have social systems like the ones described above. In these economies the assumption of the home-catering role by both parents does not last as long as described above. Their structures are based on the no food for a lazy man concept. The inability to generate any income for the family quickly means a direct inability to thrive or survive. Therefore as poverty begins to pinch every member of the household, the logical means of survival becomes dependent on how quickly the bread-winning role is reassumed by one of the parents.


Ideally a family where the bread-winning and home-catering roles are well defined will be more sustainable. Either role can be assumed by any member of the couple. Depending on how the couple is constituted- male, female or same sex.

The fact remains that whoever assumes a role is as important as the other. There is the tendency to over emphasize the bread-winning role because the bread-winners bring in tangible and quantifiable elements into the home. They earn money and with money naturally come respect and status. This can leave the person assuming the home-catering role feeling “left out”. However, this should not be the case. Home-catering is actually a complementary role. Without the smooth running of the home, how will the bread winner and children thrive?

The home-caterers provide intangible and most times unquantifiable elements into the home. Stability, presence, smooth running, organisation, and even home making elements are provided by this person. No one can serve money in plates to eat. Therefore, the home-caterer converts all earnings to their various uses. The buying and preparing of food, purchasing of clothes for kids, shopping and every little thing required for the smooth running of the home.

As a home-caterer, there is the tendency to feel isolated. However, it is high time this role is placed on the pedestal it deserves which is in a position alongside the bread-winning role- not beneath or above. Both roles are of equal importance in the home. Just like with everything else requiring excellence, division of labour is also key. If such excellence must be achieved in the home, everyone must assume the role they are better at and then strike a balance.

Where both parties decide to work, at least one person should work less perhaps part-time to provide support to the children. Tantrums and attention seeking behaviours are reduced to the barest minimum when at least one parent can give the required attention to children. It is important for parents to take parenting classes if they feel the need to. There are books and online communities available to provide support to families. There is no need for pride or shame, remember, you only get a shot at raising your kids. You cannot press a repeat button. It is important to get it right the first time and get help when you feel you are struggling.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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