The Evolution of Family Has Deep Roots

Families still enjoy traditions from previous generations, but the idea of a “traditional” family is an outdated one.
Promoted byPromoted by Pine-Sol
Dec 15, 2016·
Kelly Bryant is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer covering fashion, pop culture, and parenting for a variety of national publications.

Pine-Sol wants to explore what it means to be a homemaker in today’s world. #MakersOfHome will shine the spotlight on the modern-day families with an understanding of how the homemaker evolved over the years. And together with TakePart, Pine-Sol wants to redefine “homemaker,” break down stereotypes and bring to light the new #MakersOfHome. From a blended family with adoptive children to a family with a special-needs child, these stories bring home the message that as families have changed, so must the image in our minds of who is responsible for making today’s homes.

Today’s families might still enjoy traditions passed down from previous generations, particularly during the holiday season, but the idea of a “traditional” family is an antiquated one.

“I always think of Norman Rockwell 1950s paintings,” says Karina Carmen Velasco, who chose to become a single parent when her son Remy was 10 months old. “We were idealizing families.”

Velasco shares her personal story in Pine-Sol’s Makers of Home series, which delves deep into what makes the modern homemaker and what brings a family together in 2016. While her story might not fall into the category of conventional, she’s certainly not alone. In the United States, there are 12 million families headed by a single parent.

“Today we’re being braver,” says Velasco. “We’re coming out and we’re living lives in different families.”

Through Makers of Home, we also met the Washingtons, a family of seven who might appear traditional to their neighbors but whose story is one that came together in unconventional ways.

“My husband and I came into our relationship each with a child, our oldest two, and then we had our eight-year-old together,” explains Shakella Washington. “Our younger two are adopted. We did not set out to adopt like most families that adopt. We actually got a call from Children and Family Services. When we originally started we were just fostering, and it led to adoption.”

There are 125,000 children adopted in the U.S. each year, creating blended families that may not be related by blood but are connected by love.

Shakella stays at home with the kids, working from the time she opens her eyes until the time she lays her head down at night. But that doesn’t mean she has enrolled in the June Cleaver School of Parenting.

“I don’t have dinner prepared every day when you walk in the door. I don’t bake casseroles. I don’t wear an apron. Traditional by no means,” she says.

Diane and Randy Owensby, parents of a daughter, Camille, who was born with Down syndrome, also participated in Makers of Home. Accustomed to getting sideways glances from strangers because they are an interracial couple, the Owensbys found that magnified when Camille was born.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome annually, and an estimated one out of every 1,200 people in the United States is living with the genetic condition. The Owensbys refuse to allow Camille to be defined by her condition.

“We literally just stopped. We stopped worrying about it,” says Diane. “We stopped thinking about it—what anybody else would think, what the doctors were saying. We let our daughter live, and we live with her.”

Randy echoes his wife’s sentiments, along with those of any other homemaker who doesn’t fall under the cookie-cutter ideal of family.

“Everybody’s a little different,” he says. “And that’s all it is.”