Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Provider Dad

So much debate is tossed around about the Stay at Home Mom versus the Working Mom. And it's all focused on the women. Of course. We women are the center of our universes.
What about our men? What about Dads?
The debate here would then be The 100% Provider Dad versus the what? 50% Provider Dad?
Ouch. Smarts a bit. No man want to think of himself as less than 100%.
But this is the reality of what a dual income family is. The man provides about half or maybe a bit more or less to the family. Our society, WE have come to think of this as equality and fair.

What is the impact however, of removing the responsibility of being sole, 100% provider to the family, on our men?

Here's the deal. Men are best when challenged. Super Hero's are super because the task before them is life or death.

Men lose interest if the challenge isn't great. Want to know why it is so challenging to get a man in his early to mid or even late twenties now to commit to a relationship and marry? He doesn't have to. All the women he dates make enough if not more money than he and he can party and play with them all. The urgency of finding a mate and providing for her to create a family has been watered down.

Want to know why so many men play video games and ignore their kids and nagging wives for hours? Because they can first of all, they are not the only one to provide for the whole family ( someone else can do it=perpetual teenager syndrome) so they kick back. Secondly, their wife is "doing it all", taking care of the house and working and her overwhelm and stress may be having her be so annoying that the only way to chill out is to check out. It's survival.

They continue to do their job to maintain and survive the balancing act of his wife "having it all" and having to give it all to their kids. They are last on the list and left feeling constantly inadequate....they may not admit it...but the fact that his wife works still means, deep inside, that she has to, and occurs to him as a reflection on his ability to provide.

What happens when men are not in the world of needing to provide for their family, and have their ass on the line as the sole provider, is that something is lost for them. Their purpose and pride and power silently occurs to them as diluted.

What is created when they do have full responsibility?

They step up. They provide. They expand their repertoire of skills, of communication and leadership. They broaden their horizons socially and politically. They connect with other high performing men and bridge the gap between where they want to be and where they are. And they do it willingly, with pride and confidence. They may be fearful, they may be challenged and not know how to do it, but they do it.They create opportunities to expand. They create opportunities in their jobs, careers, society and culture.

And in the end of the day, when they come home, they see the mess that their wife, who has the privilege of staying at home, has created with their children, the crafts and art proof that he creates a life of fun and adventure for others. He is proud, fulfilled and happy.

The man who is the sole provider for his family gets to know himself to be someone he never would have imagined himself to be... completely generous, dependable, the source of all that is important and fun. He provides the food. He provides the clothing, he provides the home, the education and the adventures on vacation. HE does all that. He is our HERO.

This is a role that men have fulfilled for ten of thousands of years and to have that removed in our society has an impact. For them to take it on and CHOOSE to be the sole provider is humungously huge of them. They don't have to choose it, many have dual incomes and the wife does something creative and empowering, he supports that, and that's great. I am not discounting the contribution that is possible to society with women working and the possibilities inside marriage. I am simply putting in, wondering about, especially while the children are young and most challenging, what would be possible if the father provided for the family and the mother mothered?

What if we women trust that they can and support them? In doing so, we have an opportunity to be surprised and delighted by our men. To marvel at their Heroics. We can relish in being a woman and care for and be amazed by our children...and in the process, we will amaze ourselves at our ability to trust, mother and be present to what really matters to us. Our children AND our men.

Zen Honeycutt


  1. Wow really great post. Thanks for sharing this with me zen - i read it exactly when I needed to hear this. Amazing how perfect things are! I get, allowing my husband to provide for our family and embracing my part as a mother and wife :)

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