Modern Marriage: The New Rules and Roles for the Mothers of the Bride and Groom

Times change, and never more quickly than in the 21st century. In every area of life, the expectations of their children can be bewildering to a mature generation. This can especially be so at the key moments of life, such as a wedding. Long-established traditions can be rapidly overtaken, such as the role of the parents of the couple.

Reversal of Roles

It used to be the case that parents, especially mothers, called most of the shots in the planning and preparation of the wedding, and in paying for the various ceremonies involved. Then on the day they would merge gracefully in the background as elegant hostesses.

Today, the role is largely reversed. For the planning, parents are consultants brought in by the couple as and when they are needed. On the day, mothers can be very much in the limelight and allowed to shine. Mother of the bride dresses can be eye-catching, and mothers often party late into the night along with the most energetic of the guests.

Background Job

Make sure the lines of communication are open. Congratulate the future in-laws and make it clear you are as keen as them to make everything run smoothly.

A tricky issue that cannot be taken for granted is who will pay for what, because it is no longer assumed that the respective parents will pay for specific parts of the proceedings. Many couples expect to manage their own budget, with a contribution from their parents.

The days when the bride and her mother made most of the decisions are over. Today the bride’s main adviser is her fiancé. Together they will choose the venue, the menu, the guest list, the cake, and so on. One area that remains the prerogative of the bride’s mother is to share in the choice of wedding dress. At the same time, your daughter can help you to choose a suitable dress for yourself.

The Ceremony

For the day itself, your role as a parent is consultative. There may be traditions that mean a lot to you, but it is your son or daughter, with their partner, who chooses how the ceremony is conducted. You can make your suggestions, but don’t sulk if they are not listened to. At the rehearsal, avoid the temptation to take over—offer advice only when it is asked for.

Be considerate and adaptable if there are complications, for instance when parents have separated and have new partners. Always keep in mind that it is what will make your child happy that matters, not what suits you.

Great Expectations

Most people approach their wedding day with the expectation that they will only get to do this only once. It is important to feel that everyone is at ease and nobody wants the happy couple to be stressed by the interference of their parents. It is less important to get the details right than to set an example of adult cooperation as a model for marriage.

Abby Clements works in the wedding industry and shares her top tips for brides, grooms and other family members as the big day approaches.

 

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

There are some children that can’t stay out of the kitchen, but there are also some who don’t have a natural interest in cooking at all. Teaching your children the basics of cooking will help them to become self sufficient, and also help to minimize the risk of injuries in the kitchen. If asking your kids to join you in the kitchen hasn’t result in increased interest or excitement about cooking, you should think about what aspects of cooking might be more enticing to children their age. Is it the way that kids are free to get messy when making an easy meatloaf recipe, or the way a cake puffs up and changes color while being baked that will work best to make your children want to participate in meal preparation for now on? Since you know what really makes your kids tick, you can use this inside knowledge to create a plan that will make your kids want to start cooking with you.

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Make the Food Kids Like to Eat

Most children love sugary treats and basic ingredients, like tomato, milk and chicken. Homemade pizza, warm pastries and savory soups might be some of the types of recipes that your kids would love to make with you, as they are not complex and can be cooked quickly. Ask your children what they would like to learn how to make so that they feel that they have an important role in the kitchen too. If your kids prepare meals that they are going to want to sit down and enjoy after cooking, they will develop move of an interest in it.

Showing that Cooking Can be Fun for Kids

Cooking takes time, which can cause children to become bored. To combat this, the recipes that you make with your children should be fast and simple. As you spend more time cooking together, you can incorporate more exotic ingredients and use more complex techniques. This will make it fun but challenging for your children to keep up, giving them incentive to hold onto everything that they have learned as well as keep up with their parents in the kitchen.

Letting Kids and Their Imagination Shine Through 

Some children are natural chefs, mastering cooking skills at an advanced level well before they reach adulthood. Whether your kids have natural ability or are just incredibly creative, help their imagination to come to the forefront. When they feel that they are supported, children are more prone to gravitate toward cooking rather than be repelled.

Kids don’t always display patience and restraint when it comes to choosing how they want to spend their spare time. That’s why using electronics, playing with action figures and roaming free outside are usually the things they like to do most. If you are able to present cooking as a fun activity that entails learning, novelty and entertainment, they will want to give it a try. Use each cooking project as a unique way to explain an important principle of cooking so that they get real value out of the time that they spend in the kitchen.

Parental Favoritism: Fact or Fiction?

Most parents would be understandably horrified to be accused of favoring one of their children over another, but is it more a case of perceived favoritism in the eyes of the child towards their sibling?

Here is a look at whether parental favoritism is a matter of fact or just a work of fiction.

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A matter of perspective

Raise the subject of parental favoritism and the majority of people will become very uncomfortable with the very mention of the topic, which can be classed as taboo in our society.

In reality, all parents display an element of favoritism towards one child over another, but before you get too offended by that suggestion, it could be argued that the amount of time you spend with a newborn and young child, compared to an older sibling who is more independent, could technically be viewed as favoritism.

It isn’t favoritism of course as you are simply applying basic parenting principles and making sure that the needs of your children are met, which means spending more time with younger ones in all probability.

It is therefore sometimes a matter of perspective when it comes to classifying what constitutes favoritism or not.

Different personalities

Another point to consider is that each child’s behavior and personality can be a an influential factor in how you treat them and how much time you spend with them in comparison to your other children.

You could argue that parents are instinctively more inclined to display a greater level of affection towards a child who is receptive to that affection and returns the compliment by being loving and affectionate in return.

On the flip side, a child who is disruptive, uncooperative and generally displays deviant behavior, is more likely to be disciplined more often. Whether the way you parent each child based on their individual personality traits, could be viewed in some way as favoring one over the other, is very much open to debate.

The effect on children

A good number of parents, especially those that have used the services of someone like DivorceGuru and are no longer parenting together,  might worry that they might be seen as favoring one child over another.

As you would expect, there are negative effects, both long and short-term, with children who are perceived to be the least favored sibling, but there are also consequences attached to children who are seen to be favored.

An unflavored child is often considered to be more susceptible to emotional issues after they have grown up and left, such as depression or low self-esteem, and those mental scars stay with them for a large part of their adult life.

Even a child who is perceived to have been the favored one, can actually struggle to form long-term relationships in their adult life, as they can feel that no one can match the love they felt and received as a child.

The truth of the matter is that very few parents would ever deliberately set out to favor one of their children over another, and it is more often than not, a matter of perspective.

Madeleine Heron writes about a wide range of parenting issues in her articles. A Mother to 3 biological kids plus 2 older step-kids has given her plenty of food for thought in her life, great for using in her articles!

 

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Coupons for Good: 4 Ways to Save Money on Clothing for Your Large Family

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average American family spends $1,700 on clothes every year. However, if you have a large family with growing children, it’s easy to spend much more on apparel. If your clothing costs take a sizeable chunk from your family budget, consider these money-saving tips.

Look for Discounts
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Image via Flickr by Diego3336

Clothing stores often discount their goods to make way for new season stock and entice more customers to shop with them. Looking out for these discounts can really slash your clothing bill. Bricks-and-mortar stores often have clearance racks with items discounted by a significant amount. They’re typically placed near the back of the store, forcing you to walk past all the shiny new goods. Keep your focus and refuse to pay full price.

Online shoppers can also save with digital clothing coupons. Online coupon sites often offer great deals on popular apparel brands including Victoria’s Secret and Old Navy. Follow these discount websites on Facebook and other social media platforms to ensure you don’t miss the best deals.

Shop at Thrift Stores

If you’ve never shopped at thrift stores, you might be surprised at the treasure trove of clothing you’ll find there. Most thrift stores have minimum standards and won’t accept any apparel item that isn’t up to scratch, so you needn’t worry about looking like you’re dressed in second-hand clothes.

You’ll often find a large number of children’s clothes that other kids have grown out of before they start showing wear. Thrift stores are also ideal for adult clothes with a retro appeal. Shopping from thrift stores comes with an added dose of good karma; the money you spend helps support charities in your community.

Have a Clothing Swap Party

If you’re feeling the pinch of new clothing prices, then your friends are probably in the same boat. Why spend money on something new when you can swap? Hosting a clothing swap party is a great way to get a new wardrobe for your family without spending a thing. It’s also a whole lot of fun!

Encourage your friends to bring any clothes their families no longer fit or want. Then everyone browses through the available clothes and takes anything that catches their eye. Donate any leftover items to your local thrift store or shelter.

Learn to Sew

Making your own clothes used to be the most economical choice. However, cheap overseas labor has reduced the cost of clothes in our department stores dramatically. That doesn’t mean sewing won’t help you save money though.

Unless you can find fabrics and patterns on sale, making garments from scratch isn’t usually the cheapest choice. But your sewing skills will help you alter the items your family outgrows and repair dropped hems and minor tears so you can get more mileage out of the items that you do buy. You may also find it cheaper to make formal clothes for weddings and other special occasions than purchasing them off the rack.

With these money-saving tips, a large family can always look fashionable on a shoestring budget.

Gratefulness in the Home

Gratefulness isn’t something that comes naturally to us. Because of our innate selfishness, we tend to complain and grumble more than we should. In our household, gratefulness is something that we all want to cultivate in our lives. But it does take constant practice and reminder.

Here is what we do in our household to cultivate a culture of thankfulness:

Remind each other. When we hear each other complaining or grumbling, we immediately remind each other that the will of God for us is to be thankful. We also put up signs in the house to remind each one to be thankful in all circumstances. We read the Word of God together and encourage one another to be grateful.

img_8407This is the hand-lettering painting Kyla did on our kitchen wall near the stairs to remind everyone to be grateful in all circumstances.

Do activities that will intentionally align our hearts to be grateful. We challenged each other to write something we are grateful for everyday in our journals for 21 days. There were days that the children didn’t know what to write – but it was a good exercise to realize that there is ALWAYS something we can be thankful for each day.  We also did the Blessings Jar where we write the blessings we received and put them in a jar and read them every Christmas day.

img_9559This is a sample page from Toby’s gratefulness list.

Read stories that inspire gratefulness. From the Bible to fictional books, we try to find people who chose to be grateful whatever their circumstances where. We read their stories and try our best to be thankful in our own lives.

Some stories that we have read are Pollyanna and Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

We need to be intentional in practicing gratefulness in our lives, for this is the will of God for us.