Thursday, August 29, 2013

Changes in life roles.

Thinking today about life and our roles in it.

In the previous generation, roles were more clearly defined.  In the case of my parents, it meant that the inside of the home was my mother's and the outside was Dad's.  He did the yard stuff, took care of repairs, was in charge of the automobiles (and horses when we had them), and let his creativity show puttering in his shop.

Mom did the inside cleaning, cooking, laundry, and was responsible for budgeting and the social aspects of their life like remembering birthdays and activities.  There was no crossover.  My siblings and I used to chuckle that Dad might starve if something should happen to Mom.

As it happened, Dad passed away.  Mom had to learn to put gas in the car, and many adjustments were needed to take care of things that had been Dad's responsibility.

I'm now seeing the other side of this because my mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly.  She and my father-in-law also had similar, well-defined roles.  He went from his parents' home, to the Navy, to marriage, and has never lived on his own before.  Now he has to learn to prepare food for himself, do a little laundry, and take care of things he's never had to think about.

Fortunately, my hubby and I are nearby and both have siblings who help, but the adjustments are challenging, especially for people in their 80s.

For our generation (early baby boomers), roles are not so straight-forward.  Although hubby and I do have individual strengths and responsibilities, we'd manage the loss of one another with less of a lifestyle upheaval.  I hope that's good.