Today is at least a day for proclaiming that we are family and the makeup of family has certainly changed in recent years. In schools the teachers don’t say anymore, go tell your parents to sign your homework, they know better. Now they say, Seek the adult you live with and have them sign your homework. Like many other things in life, the definition of family is changing. The cereal Cheerios recently had advertisements for their breakfast food that featured a white Mother, African American Dad and an adorable mixed race child. The overwhelmingly response to the ad was positive but there was hateful backlash on the Internet much of it were overtly racist. There was so many negative comments, the company chose to take down the comments section off of the website: for a while.
It did not stop General Mills from running follow up ads with this same kind of family on Super Bowl Sunday, the most watched advertisement day of the year. This time the family was going to share their Cheerios with a new family member. It was the same company, General Mills that commissioned Norman Rockwell to paint scenes from American family life in 1938. The American family now is looking less and less than the images that were painted half a century ago. The difference in the family of 1965 and now is enormous says Sociology Professor Andrew Turlington at John Hopkins University who has been writing about the American family: for over three decades.
We are currently going through a period of extreme change in defining a family. Marriage has hit an all time low of 51% of Americans. More than 15% of marriages are either interracial or interethnic or both. As for raising children, more than one million homes are raising children by a single parent. The number of same sex parents with children has risen to an all time high of 120,000 families. In the 1950s, the message was that there was only one kind of family. It was the married family as seen in the popular Leave it to Beaver Show when Dad was male and Mom was female they had biological children he left home for work and she ran a perfect household with their perfect children.
Now we have popular TV shows like Mom’s and Modern Family that shares with America the new type of family. We have gone to diverse pathways to achieve happy families. Should we even bother to have a Mother’s Day anymore? There are blurred lines between even gender roles and the type of chores that men and women handle at home. There are many stay at home Dads now making the cupcakes. There are many east same gender couples who have been married for many years choosing to be parents now. No set Mom no set Dad. Could Mothers actually become a thing of the past?
Much of America still does not accept same sex marriage. It is legal in 17 states and is still being decided in Washington State and Arkansas. Even interracial couples on TV can draw a negative response. There’s definitely two groups of people out there. One that accepts change and one that refuses to change. I think more emphasis should be spent on analyzing the the quality of life children are receiving in any kind of family. Perhaps they might be doing better without a traditional Mother around r and who knows? We are not two Americans. We are one America going through a rebirth. What will never change will be a desire to nurture children in a loving and tender way and that is what Mother was to most of us if we were lucky. A Mother loves you no matter what. Love back today.