While the concept of family once had a quite specific meaning, the face of families in the US today is more diverse and wide-ranging than ever, yet their values and challenges remain the same.
Results from the latest census found that the traditional, nuclear, one-mom-one-dad-with-kids family model is actually the minority now. However, families of all shapes and sizes share similar ethics and face related struggles, whether they are drawn together by biological ties or a deeply rooted friendship.
Here, some heads of households share some insights into what defines a family and their concerns:
You Define Your Family
“Home is where your story begins, and family is a part of that story. It’s who we are and what we give to others that determine our value within ourselves,” says Melanie Harper, a teacher and divorced mother of two boys.
As part of the #RealFamiliesRealValues campaign sponsored by White Cloud Bathroom Tissue, at Walmart, Harper and her two sons were featured in a video where she discussed the challenges and rewards of raising children on her own. The campaign’s goal is to capture and share the things most important about family, and White Cloud is encouraging the full range of American families to tell their stories.
“I don’t have to try to be a father. I can just be the best mother that I can,” says Harper. “My main concern is that my boys are happy.
“Single moms are part of the fabric of life,” says Emma Johnson, the brains behind Wealthy Single Mother, a blog for single moms where they can get advice and connect. “We’re everywhere! In middle class communities, poor rural communities, rich suburbs, and in every part of every city. We are loaded and we are poor. We run companies, own businesses, nurse, teach, farm, stay at home full-time and work in factories.”
Johnson stresses that while the typical message out there is that it’s possible to survive as a single parent, you can go beyond that and truly thrive, and many families are doing just that.
Luckily, there are new TV shows, books and even home product brands out there like White Cloud that are working to change the discourse and be inclusive to all kinds of families.
While the iconic American family may not look the same as it did in the past, the same values of kindness, strength and love remain a constant for many.