The traditional American family in the 1950s seemed quite innocent compared to today. Mothers seemingly dressed to the nines, had perfect hair, wore high heels, baked cookies for their children and had dinner ready when their husband arrived home from work. Families sat together during dinner and engaged in conversation. On the surface, there seemed to be peace and harmony in most families.

In the mid-1960s feminism arrived. Women like Gloria Steinem began advocating women’s rights and demanded political, social and economic equality to their male counterparts. Thus, began a shift in family dynamics.

In the 1970s, the women’s movement gained more steam. Mothers continued to take on the role as primary caregivers but were also beginning to enter the workforce in larger numbers, this was the beginning of “the balancing act.”

In the 1980s more and more women began working outside the home. Parents began sharing more and more responsibilities, and children started becoming more self-sufficient.

By the 1990s, the traditional American family was adapting to the changing times. Parenting books were popular. While the husband and wife worked outside the home children learned how to bake cookies on their own.

Fast forward to today. We see many different family structures coping, surviving and thriving. Moms are rising through the corporate ranks; dads want more time on the golf course, and children are living a seemingly virtual life because of the digital revolution. Societal norms dictate that the vast majority of moms continue to be the primary caregivers. Entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, and the dual family income has become the new normal.

In short, over the last 50 years, the family dynamic has changed dramatically. Families are striving to find balance. This change has brought about many complexities. Through this evolution, the complexities of family life continue to grow.



Crystal Horton is the author of “Stretch Marks, A Mother’s Journey To Awareness.”

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