Friday, October 22, 2010

Flashback Friday - Who's the Boss?!

How was your family structured when you were growing up? Did you grow up with both original parents in the home? If your parents divorced, did you go back and forth between them? Whether divorced or widowed, did your parent remarry? How old were you? Was yours a multi-generational household with grandparents living with you? Did your mom work outside the home, and if so, was it full-time or part-time? Was there a clearly delineated division of labor between your parents (or parent and step-parent) and how traditional was it? Did your parents believe in child labor?! That is, how structured were chores? What responsibility, if any, did you have for things like doing your own laundry, fixing your own school lunch, etc.? Were your parents do-it-yourself-ers or did they hire people for repairs, painting, etc.? Is your current marriage/family structure similar to the way you were raised? What do you do differently than you did then?

We were a typical traditional family of the 1960's and 1970's (well, and the 1950's before I was born!) My mom was the stereotypical homemaker: she never had a job (and they married when she was about to turn 21, so she went straight from college to marriage), she made almost all of our clothes, cooked everything from scratch, served as room mother umpteen times at the elementary school, taught Bible Study at church, etc. My dad got home from work promptly at 5:25 almost every night. He handled all the finances and took care of the yard as well as doing house and car repairs. I don't ever remember our cars going into the shop; he always fixed them. And the only time I remember anyone being hired to do anything at our house was when we had the foundation leveled. He did everything else. I don't ever remember seeing my mom with a paintbrush in her hand, changing a lightbulb, or other household "man" things.

We didn't have regularly assigned specific chores, but we were at my mom's beck and call for dusting, setting the table as well as clearing the table and putting up the food, ironing, and vacuuming. I don't remember ever personally cleaning a bathroom until I got my first apartment my senior year in college. When we were helping after meals, we couldn't leave the kitchen without asking, "May I be excused?" It was up to my mom to decide when we were through, not us!

I was blessed to have an intact home; my parents were 11 months shy of their 50th anniversary when my dad passed away. I remember my dad always giving my mom perfunctory good-bye and hello kisses on his way to and from work, but other than that, I don't remember their being affectionate with each other when we were growing up. In later years they held hands when they were out and about and truly seemed to enjoy each other's company.

My dad was definitely the head of the house, and my mom deferred to him. She was the one I generally got permission from to do things I wanted to do. Sometimes, though, if it was a "biggie" she'd say "Ask your daddy." At those times I often backed off - I was a little scared of his gruffness, and I would just decide not do the requested thing than to ask him!

My man also comes from a fairly traditional setting, although it wasn't quite as stringent in the delineation of roles. We have a traditional marriage in the sense that I am blessed (so far!) to be a homemaker and he works, but I pay all the bills, do the shopping, balance the checkboook, etc. He does do the taxes. But he is an "equal opportunity" husband and I do much more stuff around the house than my mom did. And since we didn't marry until I was 27, I worked several years after college, so I don't have near the fears that my mom did of "what will I do if something happens to my husband?"

Whether you came from a Leave it to Beaver family or one that had more dysfunction than function, we want to read about the family that made you who you are today, so share your memories and link up here!


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quilly said...

Your family does sound like the Cleavers! My family had nothing in common with anything I have ever seen on TV. Even so -- and despite the things I have written on my blog -- most of my childhood (especially the time I was with Gram) was happy. I can't imagine that I would have turned out any better with a secure, loving, two parent family.

Nel said...

Enjoyed your answers. I always wished my mom would of stayed at home. But I can understand, I was not able to do that when Jan was real young. I did when she was in about 4th grade till she graduated. And I am glad, I think they need you just as much if not more when they hit the teen years.
until next time... nel

Barbara H. said...

Our household is fairly traditional as well, though not exactly Beaverish.

Joyce said...

This was fun to read. I came from a similar home but my dad was in the military so away a fair amount and I think my mom was forced to learn how to do some things around the house and especially to deal with money.

I didn't post because I was posting part 3 of a 3 part meme on another blog. I'll be curious what younger bloggers would say...I think many of us from a similar generation will have similar stories. Have a nice weekend!

bp said...

Enjoyed your answers to this one.


Loved your reminded me of my own childhood.

Christine said...

I didn't have the Leave it to Beaver childhood, but still answered. It was nice to think of some of the good stuff while writing it:)

Anonymous said...

This brought back some memories... WOW, lol :)

Unknown said...

"Ward...don't you think you were a bit hard on Beaver?"

Reading you memories made me smile, what a wonderful example of how things should always be!

Very thought provoking questions this week!

I'm a bit late to the Flashback party today but mine is up and running!


Cathy said...

Love hearing about your family. Sounds wonderful. I have a wonderful family too and am very blessed to still have both of my parents here and in relatively good health (although mom is in the hospital right now).

sara said...

I grew up in a very traditional home too. My mom took my dad's lunch to him everyday and left it on his desk. the nurses always laughed because they always knew when my parents were fighting because dad didn't get lunch! ha!!

We had to ask to be excused from the table too! my mom was very much in to manners.

with chores, I had the indoor chores and my brother had the outdoor chores. sometimes I got told to help him weed, but I had never run a lawn mower until my husband was on a mission trip and I had to figure it out!!!

bekahcubed said...

Those perfunctory kisses have me giggling. My parents were always pretty affectionate, and I can remember all of us kids loudly protesting when Dad "welcomed" Mom "home" every day after work with a big kiss/mini make-out session (no, they never got truly gross--just enough to gross out their kiddos!) This afternoon, we all went to my folks' house for dinner and I was amused to hear my brother insist upon "welcoming" his wife "home" with a kiss. Deja vu all over again!