One important characteristic of being a parent is the ability to make sacrifices for the benefit of one’s offspring. By offspring I refer to children: male/female, adult or toddler. The sacrificial element of parenthood is not even compromised by factors such as age, sex or even the position held by the offspring with respect to its place among other siblings in the family. Parents by their nature empty their love unto their offspring totally.
As a result of this love, the decision to give up time, energy, hobbies, careers etc for the benefit of children are taken seriously by well-meaning parents. This is true for most parents all around the globe. However the ease and swiftness with which sacrificial decisions are reached means that sadly, many parents do not weigh the consequences completely. These consequences affect all parties ultimately placing a degree of strain on relationships within the family unit if continuously left unabated.
As families enlarge in different parts of the world, the real costs (tangible and intangible) of parenthood begin to surface. It becomes quite imperative (at some point) that parents break down roles and responsibilities between each other in other to ensure the smooth running of the home.
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.
I will use the term bread-winning role throughout this discussion loosely to describe the role that encompasses all activities relating to earning an income for the family to survive. The amount of tangible earnings accumulated by the bread-winner determines the level of comfort to be enjoyed by every member of the family. Similarly, the home-catering role as a term will be used here to describe every activity that provides care and support for the home including and not restricted to activities like housekeeping, cooking, running errands, shopping etc. Although it is not usually remunerated, this role also entails activities that disburse the earnings provided by the bread winner. These earnings are used to see to the day to day running of the home. This role although not directly winning the bread for the family, physically presents the “daily bread” to the rest of the family in various forms.
In more complex societies as well as developing societies, the dynamics of the two roles described above are different. We see roles assumed by either parent as well as being easily swapped between them depending on various factors. Increasingly, women have become more empowered educationally and are not expected by society to sit around catering for the home. There are now regular instances of men deliberately assuming the home-catering role and so the clichéd role of women as such does not hold in these societies.
In families where egos are high with less communication abilities between couples, the assumption of the bread-winning role becomes the basis for competition. As a result of which the ever important home-catering role slips into the background leaving the children suffering and crying for attention. Some children are left with minders and day care centres. These providers who although primarily set up to provide temporary back up care have increasingly become the main catering providers for parents within and outside the home. Unfortunately being profit driven, the interests of children become relegated as their need for financial gains outweigh the individual needs of children. The kids find themselves at the mercy of the world as they continually slip in priority both with their parents and carers.
As society continues to evolve, the problems of abandoned children continue to erode every sphere. They degenerate from constantly seeking their parents’ attention without success to truancy and mischief as they grow older. They continue their search for attention until they transform into complete menaces to society and broken individuals in themselves. They in no time grow to become empty parents themselves devoid of love and attention. Having nothing but their physical and emotional absence to offer their children, the cycle continues.
To be continued….
Thank you for reading
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