We're not all the Waltons.
Or the Bradys.
Some of us are the Simpsons, the Griffins or even the Munsters or Addams.
And there's nothing wrong with that.
Families don't need to fit cookie cutter stereotypes to work and some families that do fit stereotypes don't work at all.
Redditor Existing_Peach957 asked:
"When did you realize your family wasn’t like other families?"
"My dad was a stay at home dad and my mom was the breadwinner."
"At school whenever I was sick/needed to be picked up/any other issue, they would tell me they would 'call Mom' but I would insist they not bother her at work and call my dad who was at home and available to get me."
"Stay at home dads are rare I guess."
"I work from home. My wife works in a classified building. They have to check their phones in when they enter."
"My daughter always says the same thing, 'Call my dad'. Her school insisted on calling her mom first. They would try, wait 10 min, try again, wait 10 minutes, and try a third time."
"After the third time they would try me. I almost always answer in the first ring, unless I'm speaking on a conference call and come right over."
"But the school still insists on calling her first."
"Left with my stoner friend from high school during lunch and went to his house (he'd forgotten homework). His mom was drunk passed out on the couch.
"We heard a truck pull into the driveway and my friend went into a panic - shit my dad's home, we gotta go now! Too, late. His dad came through the door looking like a stereotypical redneck and starts yelling obscenities at my friend and threatening to 'beat his lazy @ss'."
"We both tore out of there. I said to my friend 'now I understand why you always ask if you can come to my house after school. Damn, I'm sorry, I had no idea'."
"'Yeah, you're the first person I felt like I could trust that wouldn't judge me for my home life situation. It'll be okay. My dad will drink and pass out so I will be safe to return tonight'."
"I talked to my parents about this and they had him stay nearly every night for a 'sleep over', made sure he was fed, and became surrogate parents to him."
"This lasted about a year until his oldest sister (who ran away from home a few years ago) returned and invited him to come live with her and her husband."
"This was in the 80's. I lost touch with him when he moved with his sister, but think about him often, and am thankful for giving me insight that not everyone is as fortunate as I with the family I grew up with."
"When my friends wouldn't hide when their parents came home - in fact they'd go greet them."
"To say I was shocked after years of isolation without being in any house but my own is an understatement."
"My boss had his son working in our dept. One morning boss came in and just hugged his son for no reason."
"I went outside and cried. I was 45 at the time."
"I remember me and my little sister would have been about 6 and 8. We sat at the top of the stairs, listening to our parents argue, made ourselves dinner and put ourselves to bed."
"And she said ‘it’s like we’re their mummy and daddy’ and that memory breaks my heart a bit."
"When I realized other dads don't mentally prepare their 6 year olds to go to their deaths peacefully 'when the government comes for us with guillotines'."
"Not a nationally organized church. Dad just listened to too much Pat Robertson and David Icke and built a few 'Non Denominational' churches in a small town in the middle of nowhere."
"Went absolutely off the deep end and still to this day believes a literal dragon will rise from the ocean and devour all the nonbelievers."
"I deprogrammed in college, moved across the country, transitioned, got married, and live an awesome life with a family of my choosing."
"My family shows each other love through playful mockery, sarcasm, and arguing loudly about things that don't matter."
"Try doing that as your default when you meet new people."
"My family is like that."
"One time my husband left his Discord channel open when he got up to get something and however our conversation started when I walked into the living room, it turned into us calling each other a bitch and an a**hole (affectionately) in a mock argument."
"When he put his headset back on his friend was like 'Uh...are you and Maiden okay??' And completely baffled, husband was like 'Yeah, why?'."
"Same! One of the things I miss the most after moving out of my parents house is 'arguing' with my dad and then hug each other or change topics between laughs."
"Our love language was mocking each other and then being there when the other needed to be listened to or helped."
Just The Two Of Us
"I was born to a strong, independent single mom. My father died of ALS when I was infant. My mom never remarried. I realized from a pretty young age my family situation was not like most."
"Like my mom treated me more like a friend than a son. She gave serious credence to my opinions and let me do basically whatever I wanted so long as it wasn't illegal or cruel."
- User Deleted
One Big Happy Family
"When a guest or whoever it is joins us for an evening and at some point through the night you look over to them and they're sitting in their seat just staring around the room, a look of confusion and shock on their face while trying to figure out wtf is going on and attempting to make sense of things."
"For context when I say my family I'm including aunties, uncles and cousins. We get together once a week at my grandmother's house and it can get pretty overwhelming if you're not used to it."
"There's about 30 of us in total. The youngest person is 2 years-old and the eldest is 82."
"Yes this is us and our cousins/aunts etc...
"When my brother brought his now wife home years ago for the first time, I can remember her sitting politely as we all kept repeating a certain catchphrase in hysterics and she looked so sweet yet confused."
"When all of my friends wanted to hangout at my house. It was something that I came to appreciate too late in life and with my family I am killing myself to replicate.
"I may have grown up poor in a wealthy area, but my home was always filled with love and attention from my parents who were good parents. All of my friends spent their teenage years as latch key kids, and always wanted to hangout at my place."
"I never understood it, and always wanted to get out of the house, but sure enough I was always hanging out with people at my place."
"It really struck home for me in my mid twenties when I ran into someone from high school I would hang out with. They almost immediately checked on how my family was, made sure my parents were doing good, and stuff like that."
"I asked about his family and he gave me a brief update and kind of explained how his family was more like friends and my family was more like family. Many of my high school friends found my parents of Facebook and still keep in touch with them."
"My parents have helped save multiple marriages, give a lot of parenting advice to my old friends, and are godparents to basically a small army."
Families are as individual as the people in them.
What works for one doesn't for another.
But as the examples showed, the important features are love, communication, mutual respect and understanding.
Everything else is just window dressing.
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