I often think that modern families aren’t properly represented in popular culture. I’m not alone in this either. A recent survey carried out by McCain as part of its We Are Family Campaign found that 49% of Brits feel the same. Furthermore, 84% couldn’t recall seeing anything that resembled their own setup during the last six months.
This applies to us too. There are five of us as opposed to the standard mum, dad, daughter and son. I work from home so there’s none of the stereotypical dad arriving back from work, suited and booted malarkey either. I think it’s fair to say that both Kate and I are always visibly tired too, so we’re quite far removed from what we’re all used to seeing on TV.
As a result of all this misrepresentation, McCain is on a mission to redress the balance. The We Are Family campaign follows real families at mealtimes to properly represent family life in 2017.
I have to admit that, even though we’re all around most of the time, we don’t eat as a family as much as we would like to. We have breakfast together every day, but evening meals are another story. Mainly because the kids need to eat earlier than we do. There’s one main meal a week that we always sit down together for though and that’s Sunday lunch.
I always look forward to the semi-organised chaos that ensues! My parents live close by and often join us and it’s really nice to have three generations around the table. I think it’s especially good for the kids to spend so much time with them. They do a lot to help us out too, so it’s nice way of saying thank you as well.
Kate is a much better cook than me, so does the majority of the food preparation. I flit between peeling veg, cleaning the house and running to the local shop to pick up things we’ve inevitably forgotten to buy. Dylan and Xander, meanwhile, are charged with tidying up and setting the table, while Amelie follows them around undoing their good work.
It’s still frantic when my parents arrive, but everything calms down once we’re all at the table. Well, sort of. The boys tend to think of serving spoons as optional and can be relied upon to launch themselves hands first at the potatoes.
Amelie squawks until she’s given some “toast” – Yorkshire puddings. Despite being 37, I still can’t carve the chicken without completely obliterating it, so my dad does this while everyone else passes around the dishes of veg.
After a bit of showing off by both boys, quiet descends as everyone eats and the adults catch up on the week’s events. Soon afterwards, the table looks like it has been visited by a swarm of locusts. There’s never much left!
They boys scoff down the last remaining bits and pieces while Amelie toddles round the room asking for more “toast”. It’s over quickly, but definitely worth all the effort as it’s so good to get everyone in the same place.
As part of its campaign, McCain has joined forces with the National Portrait Gallery to celebrate real families. A display opens at the gallery on 21 September and runs until 7 October. Admission is free.
The exhibition features portraits that reflect the diversity of modern families and includes single parents and grandparents among others. All of the images have been shot by acclaimed photographer, Sian Davey.
You can find out more about the We Are Family Campaign on the McCain Facebook page.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.