Family Foundation

 “Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.” 

Michael J. Fox, Dad & Actor

Family Foundation

 “Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.”   

Michael J. Fox, Dad & Actor

The Heart of Humanity

Since the beginning of time, family has been at the very center of life. In ancient civilizations, families had to work together to guarantee their safety and survival, especially for the young. But family is so much more…especially a happy one. 

Families come together and grow in different ways, and no two families look alike. But there are common threads among us all. And strong families are built on basic principles that begin falling into place shortly after childbirth. For brand-new parents, figuring out how to function as a family involves a pretty steep and ongoing learning curve, but it gets better and better over time.   

And as a mom, you'll realize how much of your identity rests in being a family. This little group you’ve formed will become your greatest achievement, legacy, contribution to the future, and joy. As part of a family, you’ll accomplish more than you ever imagined and discover parts of yourself you never knew existed.

Family is truly our soft place to land; where everything is just as it should be—through every joy and every challenge.

“Ultimately, our family is like a house. Have you ever seen a house that’s been built on an uneven foundation? The windows and walls start cracking. Take care of the relationship, because you and Dad are the foundation of the house. If you’re not connected, your family is on very uneven ground.”

– New Mom

How New Families Form

The healthy, core belief in building a happy family is this: It’s about ALL OF YOU.

Focusing on the well-being of every family member—not just one person (including the baby)—is the path to success. It’s also not about the registry or the birth plan or whether you’ll return to work or stay-at-home; it’s larger than any of this, and it involves a lot of moving parts. 

The way families function has been compared to a mobile hanging over a baby’s crib; each object represents a family member and the mobile itself represents the whole family. One part can’t be moved without setting into motion all of the other parts: In families, everything is connected.

And contrary to what you may have heard from Mommyland, you won’t be building a family alone. While everyone’s situation is different, the common thread in all families is each member has a contribution to make in creating the kind of family you desire.  

A happy family is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

When our grandparents were building their families, the pace of life was much slower, more deliberate, and the amount of information available was doubling every 25 years. Today, information doubles every 12 months, and there are predictions we’ll see information doubling every 12 days in the near future! 

If you’re getting the idea that we’re creating families in a cyclone where the pace of life moves at light speed, you’re right. The truth is it’s impossible to know exactly what kind of world we’re preparing our kids for, and the only certainty is that resilience, flexibility, creativity, and a solid identity will be needed—and children get these traits from their family. You, your partner, and your whole extended tribe will create the strong foundation that prepares your children to thrive in the world. 

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” 

George Santayana, Writer

“I think about the fact that we know we are all part of a family, but we’re doing our night time routine, reading him a book, and I'm like, 'This is my family...I'm a mom, he's a dad: We're a family!’ I've always been someone's daughter or daughter-in-law, but now this is MY family. It's very empowering.”

  – New Mom

The Family Brain

When you return home after your baby’s born, you and Dad will get down to the important work of building a family.

Your mommy brain will find a whole new gear you didn’t even know existed. And Dad’s brain starts going through big changes, too, as he absorbs how real it all is and his role as a father. And then there’s your baby’s brain; an amazing and constantly growing force. Put it all together and you've got your one-of-a-kind “family brain”! 

From the start—as a matter of survival—the family brain kicks off patterns that take hold quickly, with Mom and Dad rushing to find roles that work to get the job done. But a well-formed family brain doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time and planning to embrace individual strengths and needs and find harmony. 

And it all starts with you and Dad answering some important questions…

What Does “Family” Mean to Us?

In shaping your family, you and Dad will want to be on the same page in terms of your beliefs and goals:

  • What are the most important aspects of family life?
  • How will we nurture these aspects?
  • Our "North Star": What will keep us on track? 
  • What do we want our kids to feel and learn about family?
  • What do we want our family to look like twenty years from now?

Communication plays a big part in guaranteeing your patterns are working to create your vision.

Before the baby is born, spend time together imagining the kind of family you both want and talking about what gets you there. The hopes, dreams, and ideas that flow from this conversation will be the beginning of a plan that guides your family. 

Look at patterns falling into place, and ask yourselves: “Will we be happy with this two years from now?” If “no,” re-think things and try a different approach. If “yes,” celebrate and stay the course. 

And be sure to continue checking in with each other, especially after things have settled down (usually when your baby’s about three months old).  

Just having the awareness that caring for your family means being intentional about your choices and working as a team makes all the difference. Together, you and Dad are building a solid foundation and future—and that’s what it’s all about!

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