Spending time talking to parents in Traditional Italian families I have come to see the similarities within the men of the household and them as fathers. Traditionally Italian households have been more patriarchal. This remains the case in the smaller villages.
Recently visiting friends in Rimini the wife described her position as one that must consider her husbands wants and needs first before hers. Although women have developed a sense of individuation and empowerment there is still the respect the husbands expect from their wives and children.
This would typically feel out of balance with modern relationships however it seems to work,because the respect to the wife is returned in the way he honors her position. The balance shows up with how the husband as the father is equally available and participatory when it comes to rearing the children and spending time with them.