Gather round the table to celebrate modern families

There's no such thing as a typical household in modern Britain - and we should rejoice in every one.

Gather round the table to celebrate modern families

Mum' s stirring a pan with one hand while holding a mobile phone in the other, struggling to be heard over her 10-year-old's tantrum while debating skirt length with a fashion-forward teenager.

It's a far cry from mealtimes on TV shows like Downton Abbey.

The truth is family life can be fast and frantic and, nowadays, very different from the "ideal" that's often portrayed on film and TV.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. There might be one mum or two dads, or siblings from different partnerships. There might be multiple generations living under one roof or grandparents acting as parents.

Celebrate your family and what makes it special

There's no such thing as a typical family. But every one is still worth celebrating - and that's just what McCain is planning to do.

With over 50 years' experience of serving families, McCain has launched the We Are Family campaign to highlight the diverse reality of modern life, however mad or magical that may be.

The campaign aims to address the misrepresentation of real families and the negative impact this is having by depicting honest, modern-day family life.

It culminates in a pop-up photography display of diverse family life at mealtimes in the National Portrait Gallery, London. The campaign follows research conducted by the food giant to discover the realities of modern family life which revealed:

  • Half of the population (49%) don't think popular culture reflects the reality of modern-day

  • 84% can't recall seeing anything in popular culture that portrayed a family like theirs in the last six months

  • 45% think more needs to be done to show what family life is really like

The family dynamic has changed considerably in the UK, with the number of married couples falling and a quarter now headed by a single parent.

The rising cost of housing and the increased pace of immigration and ethnic diversity has contributed to growth in multi-generational living.

Families make mealtimes

Reports also show people will live together to save on housing costs - 8% of mums live with their parents, relatives or friends, while 28% rely on grandparents for help with childcare.

But the survey shows more needs to be done to portray this in popular culture. Family-owned McCain, established in 1957 and now the world's largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, surveyed 2,000 adults across the UK to determine the perception of how families are represented.

The survey revealed that for over half (53%) of parents, eating together is still considered a core component of being a family, a time to bond and reflect on the day.

Although it comes as no surprise that, with a quarter (24%) of households now boasting three TVs, a quarter (26%) of families eat their dinner on the sofa.

While women still do the majority of the cooking, for 12% it's the grandparents who take responsibility for providing the evening meal.

The unrealistic representation, largely caused by television, can lead to people thinking other families are happier than theirs, with 19% saying it makes them feel bad.

One in five say their social media posts probably make them seem happier than they are and 14% use filters on photos before posting them.

But families still think eating dinner together is important - to talk about their day, promote social skills and create time away from screens.

The one thing that doesn't change is that all families matter, regardless of whether they fit the TV stereotype.

Every family., whatever the set-up, deserves to feel important and valued. McCain and the National Portrait Gallery, London, are hosting a snapshot celebration of families in Britain.

The pop-up will take place for two weeks from September 20, with images captured by acclaimed photographer, Sian Davey, who will show family life in all its shapes and sizes, ethnicities, age ranges and set-ups.

Photograph and share your unique family photo on the McCain Facebook page and you could win a £100 supermarket voucher. Visit the McCain Facebook page facebook.com/McCainUK for your chance to take part.

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