So what exactly is a ‘Traditional Family’?

Once upon a time, namely when we were growing up, a ‘traditional family’ consisted of two parents and 2.2 kids.

Sometimes, there was a grandparent thrown in the mix of that traditional family.

Well things have changed since then, according to the folks at PEW research.

Photo Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office (PIO)

So what exactly is a ‘Traditional Family’?

Pew says that less than 50% of all families are traditional.

That is, Pew says that less than half (46%) of U.S. kids (younger than 18) of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. Pew says that this is a marked change from 1960, when 73% of children fit this description, and 1980, when 61% did, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of recently-released American Community Survey (ACS) and Decennial Census data.

What’s going on?
Well for starters, we are getting married and divorced or not even married in the first place.

We are delaying marriage. We are foregoing the institution altogether. Pew says that the share of children born outside of marriage now stands at 41%, up from just 5% in 1960.

Have we redefined the ‘traditional family’?

The Stay at Home Mom Debate

Every few years it seems as if the stay at home mom debate resurfaces.

Who is the better mother- the ‘stay at home mom’ or the ‘work outside the home mom’?

Believe me, the grass is always greener and with this debate there is no exception.
Many of our mothers urged us to get out of the house as they had wished they had that opportunity.

mother child car seat
Photo Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office (PIO)

The Stay at Home Mom Debate

My choice was to stay at home and work from home while I raised my kids. I did many things to make money while being at home as well.
It worked for my family. If I had kept my full-time job outside the home as an RN, that probably would have worked as well.

While raising my kids I met moms who worked outside the home and still managed to be good moms while I met moms who stayed at home and probably would have been better off working outside the home.

It’s all about what works best for you and your family.

When you work outside the home you are always wondering if you are doing the right thing not always being there for your kids when they need you. When you are a stay at home mom, you are concerned about having to justify staying at home.
In the end, we are all moms just trying to make it all work.

The trend of staying at home is actually on the rise again.

Pew Research says that that number of stay-at-home mothers in the United States has risen since 2000 after decades of decline. About 29 percent of mothers with children younger than 18 (about 10.4 million moms) stayed at home in 2012 . The stay at home mom statistic hit a historic low of 23 percent in 1999.

This is just one of those debates that will come and go it seems, depending on the grass being greener.

It’s no wonder that our kids are hesitant to make a commitment to marriage

By the time that I was the age that my kids are now, I was married or getting married and had my career as a nurse.
Most of my friends and my husband’s friends were doing the same thing.

Photo Credit: U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office (PIO)

Marriage and the career was more or less expected of us at the time. Our mothers may have once had a career but, once they got married they were expected to be a full-time homemaker (a term I despise). Our mothers, at least where I came from, were eager to see their daughters do something in addition to being tied down to a house and taking care of others. It was a whole new horizon for them.

Then something happened that our mother’s were not expecting to happen.
Boomer women became financially independent and educated. We realized that we didn’t have to be homemakers or anything else we didn’t want to be. In true form, baby boomers questioned the designated roles of yesterday.

The dynamics of  marital relationships changed as society changed possibly as a result.

In a Pew research poll done in 2010, in a comparison of marital status among the generations between the ages of 18-30 (when each generation was between 18-30), 44% of the boomers had been married. Only 23% of Millennials and 32% of gen Xers had been married. I might add that that 58% of our parents had been married.

It’s no wonder that our kids are hesitant to make a commitment to marriage.

Did we ruin the whole marriage thing for others by putting them through our divorces? According to the NIH, the divorce rate among adults aged 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2010. 1 in 4 divorces in 2010 occurred to adults 50 and older.

If you’ve already been divorced, your chances of getting divorces are 2.5 times higher than those who had not already been divorced. In 2009 the census department reported that 1 in 5 boomers had married twice.

More than half of currently married couples (55 percent) had been married for at least 15 years, while 35 percent had reached their 25th anniversary. A small percentage — 6 percent — had even passed their golden (50th) wedding anniversary.

I’m part of that 35% on this eve of my 29th anniversary.
My parents made it to 62 years- although they may not have realized it.
My 23 and 26 year old are not even close.