Our family is far from traditional in dynamic. We are two white women, married to each other. We have three children who were born in Guatemala, one who is Black, and we co-parent with my wife’s former partner, also a woman. There is nothing “traditional” about our family if you are only looking at the surface. I looked up the definition of traditional and found the following: Existing in or as part of a tradition, long-established.” If we are working from the actual definition of traditional then we absolutely can and do have traditional values in our family. Brandi and I are both pro-marriage and pro-family.
I wholeheartedly believe many people who are married and have a family may think or say they are pro-marriage and family but they don’t live that life. It’s not always an easy row to hoe. I am just saying that we have kind of “old school” views on marriage and raising kids. I often feel as though we are in a strange spot in society with us having a very “liberal” type family but very “conservative” ideas on how to manage it. Our marriage takes a top priority in the home. We both believe we can’t provide a happy and stable home to our children if we don’t have a rock solid foundation. This means marriage always gets time and consideration. We get away periodically for dinner together and as often as we can. Even if it’s down the road for quick appetizers and a cocktail. We believe it’s essential in a marriage to have uninterrupted time as a couple. Our bedroom is the only room in the house that is accessible by permission only. We need a room to decompress. We need a room we can walk into, kid free and say to each other, “How was your day?” before we step out to be moms again. I can’t stress how important this is. People say all the time “oh but the kids come first.” This is precisely why we prioritize the marriage. It’s not just about getting away for a date and having fun without kids. It’s if we don’t date, if we don’t nurture our marriage and it starts slipping, where does that leave our children? At the very least, you could end up with a home where the model for adult relationships may not be healthy. When we are happy, they are happy.
Think about what type of relationship you want for your child. I am not speaking about homosexual or heterosexual in nature. I am talking about how you would want your child to be treated in a marriage. Would you want their experience to be fun and loving? Stable and secure? Romantic and sweet? What are you modeling for them? There is overwhelming evidence that your child will model their own relationships after the example you provide. Also, a happy and more in-tune couple is almost certainly better for their children. A happy wife or husband is almost certain to be a more engaged and happy parent. Not prioritizing the marriage is cheating the children.
We also like rules and structure. Kids have bedtimes earlier than ours. They don’t watch the same T.V. shows we do unless they are deemed appropriate by us. They are expected to say hello and goodbye to our guests and they are polite and take turns when speaking. They are encouraged to hold doors for people and carry groceries in when mom comes home from the store. The more they behave respectfully and exhibit courtesy with others, the more privileges and freedoms are given. Everything is earned. This makes them proud and confident children. Don’t worry, they are also allowed to express themselves and do a very good job of doing so. We want them to be successful, secure and self-reliant. Having them earn privileges and material things is essential to building work ethic, self-worth and honor.
I feel like many people are surprised about our approach to marriage and parenting. As if we must be extremely liberal in those aspects because of our family dynamic. I feel we are very old fashioned in those areas. I always wanted a marriage that is strong and unbreakable and kids who felt safe because they know who is in charge. Essentially, I am rebuilding my experience in childhood. It just looks very different, aesthetically. I wanted to carry on that value system and like anything else, I say you can do anything you put your mind to. No matter what type of family you want, it’s up to you to create it. You may have a long list of obstacles but your dream family is attainable. It’s your family, you build it.