middle aged woman appreciating her husband

Recognizing Husbands: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby

Shama Yunus Joynt, Human Resources

By Shama Yunus-Joynt BA, CPHR, SHRM-SCP

I remember sitting in a graduate class about 10 years ago listening to a discussion about work-life balance and child care issues faced by people with young children.  I was quite surprised by the contributions of the men in the room.  With the exception of the single men with no kids, all had lots to contribute regarding the responsibilities and stresses associated with having children.  You might ask why I was surprised – every one knows that working couples with children face these issues every day.  

Without dating myself too terribly, I can tell you that things were very different when I was a young mother.   Not that my husband was not involved in child rearing, he was great when the kids were young; what was different were the expectations for his role In addition to working full time, I was supposed to drive the domestic boat, organizing, giving instructions and constantly reminding and following up, while my husband was merely the assistant that carried out my orders.  I used to feel really frustrated at the inequality of this situation.  My husband could get up in the morning and go about his day without having to worry about whether there was milk in the fridge or clean underwear ihis drawer, because he knew that I would take care of it.  If I forgot, there would be consequences for the kids or the family as a whole. 

Fast forwarding about 20 years to this day in the classroom, I was amazed at the self-confidence displayed by these men as they talked about fathering and being a husband.   I couldn’t help but feel that these men had become empowered to contribute equally to the work of the household, the same way that women had become empowered to contribute equally to the finances.  It made me smile a whole lot.  Now, I am not naïve; the patriarchy is alive and well, and women are still fighting for things they shouldn’t have to fight forwhat I want to emphasize is the transformation that has taken place in men over the past 50 years.  It’s not enough for men to just be ‘helpers’ any more on the domestic front.  They are expected to be equal partners in the running of the household.

women appreciating her husband over coffee
This brings me to today, which is Husband Appreciation Day.  I want to dedicate this article to husbands who have grown with the times, doing things very differently than their fathers did before them.  Men today are taking on new roles when there may not be adequate role models to follow and I think that deserves merit.  Women have always been the keepers of kith and kin and have the benefit of following in their mothers footsteps when it comes to domesticity.  Men, however, have experienced the opposite; with each passing generation they have to do something different from what their fathers did, and have had to make choices against a rapidly changing backdrop of what it means to be a husband and father.  It used to be that husbands and fathers were asked to be good providers, and the amount of their paycheck pretty much defined their worth.  With the advent of women contributing financially, this role began to change; what didn’t change was the image of the husband and father as a provider – this image still persists today.  Men often struggle with what they are supposed to be; this might be different depending on who’s looking. 
couple piggy back

Show the Love!

This Husband Appreciation Day, let’s all acknowledge the extraordinary journey of men; from being excluded in the delivery room to now being an integral part of childbirth, husbands and fathers have evolved and continue to evolve.  While the importance of gender with respect to societal roles continues to diminish, we run the risk of not giving credit where credit is due.  Just as women deserve recognition for their courageous journey in standing up to the patriarchy, men deserve some credit for taking on domestic roles It is all too easy to assume that men have been dragged reluctantly or shamed into taking on the roles they now occupy in the home; it is more accurate to say that progressive generations of men have learned and internalized more different roles than the generation before them and are paving the way for new generations of men. 

 

If you have a husband like this, make sure to show him the love he deserves on his special day! 

 

Shama Yunus Joynt, Human Resources
About the Author

Shama Yunus-Joynt is an experienced Human Resources professional specializing in culture and engagement. She has a background in coaching and mental health which she combines in a very unique way towards helping companies define and execute an extraordinary people strategy. Connect with Shama on LinkedIn to learn more about her.

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