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
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
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
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!