I was born into what I think is a “traditional family”. The type of family where the father went to work and mother stayed home to raise the children. At the time, I didn't think much of it – it was common back then … something that managed to survive many generations before being suddenly tossed aside to make way for the new-age family. Once we were old enough to care for ourselves, mother took on a job here or there – something to pass the time while we were at school. That's about the time when the term “Latchkey Kid” became popular again, after a lengthy hibernation post-war. The television would play various commercials regarding the state of the Latchkey Kid, making it sound like some sort of incurable infection. My sister and I often came home to an empty house, but I would not label myself … I was not a Latchkey Kid – I was just a kid following the necessary changes this world consistently creates.
Presently, with the rising cost of living, few people can survive being a traditional family – it takes two incomes to make ends meet. Fathers and mothers, alike, trudge off to their jobs, leaving kids alone or in child care facilities, to be raised by others. The cost of the child care almost defeats the purpose of working, but for that little extra income, families grit their teeth, dig in their heels and get to work. After work, too tired to cook, it's fried chicken, or pizza, or whatever other meal can be concocted from the stack of take-out menus. It's a rather gloomy process.
I've always admired the art of the traditional family. Of course, my mind has been poisoned into submission by television programs like “Happy Days” that made the traditional family seem so perfectly … perfect. I know families struggled back then – even more so than today, despite the modern-day expenses we pay for satellite television, internet usage, and cellphones, but one thing that wasn't missing – in my own family, at least - was the comfort of knowing that there would always be someone at home. I remember walking in the door, the savoury scent of pot roast greeting me like a warm hug. Not too many years later, I would get home and pop a pizza pocket into the microwave.
Am I saying mothers should stay home? Absolutely not! I'm all for equality and allowing women to become successful in the workforce … women, in general, have fought too hard and long for that right, but that's just not me. I am one of the fortunate ones because I work from home. I'm here when my children get off the school bus, and because I am privileged, I can make sure that they are greeted with the comforting aroma of a home-cooked meal, or at the very least, a warm hug and a “welcome home”.
Colleen Ludgate, Editor, FunAdvice.com