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‘It locks you into a disintegrating friendship for life’: the new rules of godparenting

Oddparents or squadparents: its not just the names for todays secular guardians that are causing confusion Once upon a time in Redhill, Surrey, Sophie and Joe asked Jenny and Mark to be godparents to their baby daughter. It made perfect sense to Mark. Joe had been his best man. They went way back. But Jenny wasnt so sure. I said no, because Im not a Christian, she recalls. They said it was fine, as they arent Christian, either, and they werent going to bother with the church bit. I still…

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‘Mom, is it bad to be brown and Jewish?’: how to talk to your children about race

Since Trumps rise to power, writer Mira Jacob has faced increasingly difficult questions from her young son It started with Michael Jackson. It was 2014, and Mira Jacobs six-year-old son Z had moved on from being obsessed with Freddie Mercury (He demanded fake moustaches for a solid year), to being obsessed with Jackson. He knew all the moves and was never without a fedora. So my husband and I, thinking we were geniuses, got him all the albums, Jacob explains. The problem is, when you give a mixed-race kid albums…

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Everyones decluttering is it time to throw out all your childrens toys and artworks?

Ive taken cuddly toys from my kids while theyve slept and thrown out their paintings. Its the only way to control the family chaos YES! Guilt replaced by vindication. Im talking about myself, and decluttering because decluttering is all anyone seems to talk about at the moment (Brexit is just a form of it). Not Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, professional organisers to the stars, including Kevin the Carrot family from Aldi is being picked off, one by one, at night? And Then There Were None. Probably not, I generally…

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An abortion at the age of 23 gave me freedom

During the Irish referendum, there was a lot of talk about abortion in extreme cases, but some like mine are banal but necessary When I was 23, my life forked. Until then, it had felt like one of those LA freeways with half a dozen lanes: I had options in terms of which path I took, but they were all going in the same general direction. I was barely making a living in a job I enjoyed, and living in a dump with friends I adored. Lifewas wide open. Then…

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My teenage daughter is embarrassed by the car were giving her for her birthday

Its not cool enough and its the wrong colour. I think shes being ungrateful but am I out of touch? No, says Annalisa Barbieri, but let her make her own mistakes Ask Annalisa Barbieri Sat 10 Feb 2018 03.59EST Share on Twitter View more sharing options Share on Pinterest Share on Google+ Share on Messenger Close annalisa.barbieri@mac.com. Annalisa regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Follow Annalisa on Twitter

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The Mother Load: America is failing mothers. Help us change that

The Guardian is asking readers to support a new series on why motherhood in the US is more challenging than in any other developed country and what we can do about it Your salary barely covers childcare, but your coworkers give you side-eye when you leave at five. Even if youre lucky enough to have a partner who helps around the house, youre still the one who knows when your kid needs new shoes and remembers to buy birthday presents for other peoples kids. If you see one more photo…

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Even moderate drinking by parents can upset children study

Children who see parent tipsy or drunk are less likely to see them as a positive role model, report says Three in 10 parents say they have been drunk in front of their children and half have been tipsy, and such behaviour can trigger family rows or make children anxious, research suggests. Even moderate drinking by parents can leave children feeling embarrassed or worried or lead to their bedtime being disrupted, according to the study led by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS). It is the first evidence that even…

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My daughter blew through 1,200 intwo weeks at university

Shocked that her student daughter seemed to need an income of 600 a week, Anthea Rowan decided to turn off the money tap and lay down some home truths about entitlement and growing up A few years ago, my undergraduate daughter called me two weeks into the term. Hey, Ma, Ive run out of money, she trilled cheerfully. The intimation was clear: it was her mothers job to fix this little glitch. By money, she meant her entire terms student maintenance allowance of about 1,200. Gone. In 14 days. I…

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A letter to My brother, who was dead for 13years without me realising

The letter you always wanted to write You are my only sibling. I know I didnt always fully understand you, but I always looked up to you and I thought you were clever and amazing. Well, at least I did up until that time you refused to come and see our very elderly dad when he was dying in the care home. I just couldnt see why that had been so difficult for you. He was pleading to see you during his final hours, but you wouldnt visit him. I…

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Kasey Edwards: I love being married, but am I the exception?

The author asks happy couples the secret of their success and is shocked by what she finds out I was never going to get married. After bearing witness to my parents three decades of misery, I was not stupid enough to do it myself. When my father left my mother for a younger woman, I conducted my own little investigation into married life. I asked all my parents friends to give me an honest account of their marriages and explain why they were still together. I suspect the little girl…

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