The guys and I were talking at work about what time we get up and comparing morning routines. One of my coworkers chimed in with "I get up when my wife tells me breakfast is ready." This is the same guy who is surprised every day at lunch because his wife packs that for him, too. The expected inappropriate comments were made, everyone laughed, but I started thinking. This particular man can grill steaks, but is probably lost in the kitchen. When asked if his kids could cook (because his wife was out of town) the reply was, "They would starve to death otherwise." He has a life that is more akin to black and white TV sitcoms than to everyday American life in 2012.
At one point in American history this would have been considered normal. The 1950s ideal is the life social conservatives are accused of pining for. However, I don't see that as being the norm for most social conservatives I know. My in-laws are perhaps as stereotypical as it gets, but even they broke wildly from the "Leave it to Beaver" mold. My mother-in-law was in a rock band and held many other jobs (like the singing birthday card gig) to help ends meet when my wife was growing up. Most of the women I know who are homemakers (and that is very few these days) don't follow precisely along the set path that is iconic in American life. The role norms and ideals have changed drastically. I'm not sure what to think of it. Where those times better? If so, were they less good for some?