Parents work. Children are in childcare. Food shop gets done on a Saturday afternoon, after ballet/football in the morning.
They eat takeaway on a Friday or Saturday night, take a sun holiday once a year, eat too much at Christmas, drink too much on a weekend. Sound familiar?
Matalan are using the celebration of their 30th birthday to look at the way the definition of family has changed in the past 30 years.
Matalan say “the definition of ‘family’ in the 21st century is not straightforward; as the Facebook status might suggest, “it’s complicated”. This doesn’t mean that the idea of family has become any less important however, it simply means we are seeing that family today comes in many different shapes, sizes and forms. Their research revealed some interesting and surprising insights about modern family life.
The problem with the term ‘modern family’ for me, is that by default, I am living in modern times in a very traditional family.
I am currently on maternity leave from my part-time (two days a week) job. I work such a small amount of hours outside of the home because of the amount of work I do inside the home.
If you want to pigeon hole us, Hubster and I adopt traditional roles. I do all the cooking, cleaning, child care, farm admin and a bit of book keeping.
Hubster does all the heavy stuff like lambing, tractor operating and, I suppose, bread-winning (though we don’t grow wheat).
Our relationship is the backbone of our family. Yes, we have our ups and downs but we live and work together every, single day.
We have to get on. We have to make a team and we have our roles which, in the main, we stick to religiously. We both have a lot of patience for each other and let the little things go (apart from just after having babies, obviously).
We often play good-cop bad cop. Hubster is almost always bad cop in business and I’m good, but if it involves the children-Boo in particular, that little minx will wrap her Daddy around her little finger and it is me who ends up as bad cop.
I look after livestock when I can but, with small children, we can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help so apart from our own livestock (Minty the sheep and the rabbits), we leave the important stuff to Hubster.
Saying that though, only a couple of weeks post-caesarean, I went for some fresh air one night while Hubster gave me a break. One of the pregnant ewes had fallen on her back and, like many women in the latter stages of pregnancy, they can’t get up without help.
Despite my smarting scar, I scaled a gate and pulled the poor love to her feet. That’s the thing in a farming family, time is money. Had I rang Hubster, by the time we had done a child-hand over, that sheep would have died.
As it is, both she and her lambs survived.
I’m not saying we don’t row about our traditional-roles. Especially in the early days with Beb, I would be sitting in the living room, having had no sleep and seeing Hubster having a ‘great time’ outside, escaping the nappy-filled chaos and seethe.
In reality, he wasn’t really enjoying himself but we all know what hormones do.
When so-called modern families are going on their package holidays or going on days out together, Hubster is still working so I either have to take the kids out myself or stay at home.
I believe strong relationships start with compassion so I would never go away without my husband.
People don’t understand when I have to rush back to make Hubster’s dinner for 6pm or leave lunch ready for 12 noon but our relationship works. In an old fashioned sense, we know our roles and what is expected of us.
You see, if I expected Hubster to come to every antenatal appointment or parents evening, we would be constantly arguing. At the same time however, Hubster knows that if I do ask him to go somewhere, it must be important because, most of the time, I save my passes for the important things-child birth, a family wedding or birthday.
The way we live is very similar to the way farmer’s and their wives have lived for hundreds of years with extended family like grandparents living very close by or actually on the same yard.
Like many farming families, we are actually a traditional family living in a modern world and that hasn’t changed in 100 years, let alone 30.
It’s just the way it works and we like it.
Happy Birthday Matalan. We might not be the picture of a modern family but I think I am right in saying, you make for us too.
You can upload your own family photo to the Made For Modern Families Matalan campaign here.
This blog post is in collaboration with Mumsnet and Matalan.