Tag Archive: family

It’s tough keeping a hold on twelve children, especially if you’re the only parent there and even more especially if you’re the father.  In the film Cheaper by the Dozen (Levy, 2003), Steve Martin plays a father in which he must balance his coaching job and twelve children at the same time while his wife is on a book tour.  Things get hectic as Martin soon realizes that he can’t do this job on his own and things are getting too out of control.  In this clip (at 40 seconds) Martin shows his struggles around the household and how his kids don’t listen to him as they do their mother.  Mothers are the parents who generally look after the house and the children.  They take care of everything in and around the house, and the men stereotypically are the individuals who bring home the labor.  Since Martin doesn’t do anything around the house and hardly spends time at home, he sees what his wife has to deal with, and eventually he can’t overcome it.

In this film, Martin observes the difference between paid vs. unpaid labor.  His paid labor resides in his college football coaching, and his unpaid labor resides in his around the housework while his wife is away.  Stereotypically, children must be close with their mother, and the mother can’t do without her children.  This example is shown in the film when Martin’s wife calls room service for twelve pillows to be delivered to her room to make her feel like she’s back at home.  Another structural aspect on display is the Invention and Reproduction of Cultural Images of Work.  This aspect is demonstrated through Martin’s portrayal of a “house dad”.  In conclusion, this film displays both family and work as a social institution of gender.

I am a very gifted person when it comes to remembering things.  I am always referred to as “rain man” by my parents.  At the age of four, I can remember all the things my parents and I did together while we lived in New York.  At that time, my Dad was playing minor league ice hockey for the NYFD (yes that’s an actual team, not the fire department).  He had been playing ice hockey since he was little.  He also enjoyed playing soccer and basketball as a teenager so he was very athletic.  When I was a toddler, my Mom would go watch every game he played in while my sister and I were babysat at home.

So, at the age of four, I remember one of the first hockey games I had ever been to, and my Dad was playing in it!  All children aspire to be just like their Mom or Dad so I in fact used the social learning theory.  In our textbook, “this theory examines the socialization process whereby children internalize many identities and norms of behavior, not just gender.  The theory portrays socialization as a passive process in which children learn by watching and imitating others” (DeFrancisco & Palczewski, 2007).  I demonstrated this theory because I wanted to be just like my Dad after watching his game.  This is when I first started to play ice hockey.  Days later, I had a hockey stick and goal in my driveway.  My Dad was one of the “bad boys” on his team, so he would exemplify aggression and determination.  In my driveway, I would make up game-like scenarios and use aggression and determination to score an “imaginary” goal.  Even though I do not play ice hockey anymore, I used what I observed from my Dad in the past to my advantage and turned out to be a pretty talented ice hockey player.

Journal Entry: Family

Power can be distributed differently among families.  Power can be exposed by the mother, father, and in some rare cases the children.  If a woman contains the power in the family, this does not mean in any way that this family would falter because of a woman in charge in the household.  In my family, the distribution of power is somewhat complicated, but I would agree that my mother holds the majority of the power believe it or not.

Back during my teenage years, I would have said that my father contained the majority of the power in the household.  He was a successful businessman who was the best at what he did.  He went through three different jobs when I was in middle school through high school and always got to the top of his field.  For as long as I can remember, he was the one who provided for my sister and I by making a fair amount of money.  However, my mom has been the one that has done all the little and meaningful things that makes us a great family.

Taxes, insurance information, money distribution and childcare are shared equitably in my family.  My mother and father do the same amount of work and contain the same amount of power in these regards.  However, the running of the household is in the hands and control of my mother.  She has established where everything is set up and placed in our house such as the couches, televisions, pictures, posters, trophies, etc.  My mom is also in charge of dinner and the laundry.  She does a lot of work in and around the house to make it as cozy and comfortable as possible.  Even though my dad purchased the house, I still believe that my dad would be the one to move out if my parents ever get a divorce.  I know it sounds crazy, but my gut tells me if they ever had a divorce my mom would be the one to stay in our house.  That right there demonstrates just some of her power.

My father keeps an eye of our accounts and how much money everyone is spending.  However, my mother does all of the shopping, and she is a shopaholic.  She’s the one who shops for the groceries and goes to the mall and buys new clothes for her and my father.  My mother, without question, is the parent that decides how we spend our free time when my sister and I come home on occasion from college.  She will plan family outings and surprise us with family dinners and family movies.  Those two events are common rituals in our family.  Again, without question, my mother decides where our family will vacation.  She’s the one who does the research and contacts multiple hotels in the area in which we are traveling.  She also arranges our flight schedules to make sure we have good flight times.  Finally, again hands down, my mom decides when our whole family gets together and spends time with each other.  She is constantly in contact with all family members while my dad only talks to them briefly.

In most families, individuals would feel as though the father has the majority of the power within the family.  In my family, the mother exerts most of the power.  This is not typical of most families because the male is considered dominant and overpowering.  My mom in control does not make our family feminine because she is a woman.  She exerts multiple qualities that make her very masculine in some ways.  Additionally, when my parents get in arguments about vacationing or the house, my mom is the only one who does the yelling.  She has the upper hand and overpowers my dad until the problem is resolved.  This has been the case all my life, and I remember many, many examples.  My dad has had multiple chances within our family to exert a masculine, powerful role, but he always stays calm and contained, and I respect that out of him.  I know he would never cause any violence toward my mom.