Family // What Does It Mean To Me?

“Since we first opened our doors 30 years ago, we’ve always focused on 
providing outstanding value and quality for families. 
We take the time to listen, understand and evolve, to ensure our products are the 
right fit for modern, happy homes. 
Our latest campaign, Made for Modern Families, is a celebration of family life today, in all its shapes and sizes.”

“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. Our research revealed some interesting and 
surprising insights about modern family life”

• The New Nuclear: the idea of the nuclear family, that being mum, dad and two-point something kids living together, is being stretched and redrawn.

• Beyond Kin: more and more, people’s definition of family extends beyond kin to include kith, i.e. non-blood relatives, friends and even pets.

• The Waiting Game: the number of older mums and older dads is on the rise, as are ‘klingons’; post-teens not flying the nest as they did in previous generations.

• Blended Families: increasingly family means ‘blended’ arrangements that see multiple connections, multiple parental figures and multiple home locations. This is in addition to well-documented changes such as the rise of single and LGBT parents.

• Staying Connected: families are finding new ways of using technologies to connect more frequently and on an emotional level, both when they live nearby or far way”. 

You can read more of Matalan’s research here

What does family mean to me?

I didn’t have the ‘traditional’ family growing up. My parents separated when I was around 18 months old. My Mum won custody of me and brought me up. Single parents were not very common in the 80’s and I remember the teachers utterly confused that not only did I not have the same last name as my Mum, she wasn’t married either.  
When I was 12 years old, my Mum started a relationship with Dave, who became my Step-Dad. 4 years later my sister was born. I became a big sister at the age of 16. Just 16 months after my sister was born, my brother was born. We were now a ‘blended family’. Dave never treated me any different to my brother and sister, he treated me like I was his own. Actually he was did more for me than my own father. My Mum and Dave broke up last year, but he will always be my family to me. 

From a young age, I was brought up to believe that family are not just those you are related to. I have many ‘beyond kin’ family members.

When it was just me and my Mum, we lived in a maisonette. Below us lived Auntie Sue, Uncle Tom and my cousin Charlene.  Sue and my Mum were best friends. So I spent a lot of time with them. For 25 years I have called Sue ‘Auntie Sue’ and I suspect I always will.

Dave’s family instantly welcomed me in to their family. Dave’s Mum will always be ‘Nanny Pauline’ to me, she even has my initials tattooed on her arm. I class Dave’s sister Trish as my Auntie and her children are my cousins.

I get called Auntie Laura by my best friends two children and she is Auntie Sinead to my children.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for me with regards to family. In my late teens I was finding out that my definition of family was not other family members definition. I had one member of my family talking nastily about my Mum to me. I immediately cut her out of my life. I haven’t spoken to her in over 12 years.

Now I am an adult and a mother, family is more important to me than ever. Matt & I have every intention of providing a home for our children that consists of both parents. But whatever happens our children will always have loving parents and a loving family. Matt & I are very specific of what family means to us. We have cut several members of family out from our lives as we don’t want or need them around our children. We don’t want family members in our lives who bring unnecessary drama or only decide to play a part in our lives when they can be bothered. Matt and I have created a close knit family unit for our children and ourselves and it is lovely.

Family to us is not only those who are blood related, it is about those who care and are there for us and vice versa.

What does family mean to you?

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Mumsnet & Matalan for their #MatalanModernFamilies project. I received no compensation for writing this post. 

You can share your family photo with Matalan and be in with the chance to win £250 to spend in Matalan. Click the photo below to find out more. 


  1. fashion-mommy May 4, 2015 / 6:52 pm

    I agree totally, family is not just about relations, but those who love and care without the blood ties.


  2. Leeshastarr May 4, 2015 / 7:24 pm

    This is a great post, thanks for sharing your views on family. I always think of family as the people who love and care for you no matter what. I'm pretty happy and content with it just being mum and I. I've known nothing else.

  3. Miranda Myrabev May 5, 2015 / 4:04 am

    I am with you on families not being as they used to be back in the day but that has not reduced the importance or significance of it all.

  4. Eco Gites of Lénault May 5, 2015 / 6:19 am

    In many cases friends can also be as good as, if not better, than family if the family you have cannot be the caring and close one you deserve.

  5. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes May 5, 2015 / 7:01 am

    I agree, family isn't necessary a blood relation, but about those who express their love and care for you also.

  6. Stephanie Merry May 6, 2015 / 5:08 pm

    I agree, family is more than a blood relation, it's about those who choose to show their love for us x

  7. Nicol May 6, 2015 / 8:00 pm

    i definitely agree on your last statement a lot. a lot of my friends are like family to me

  8. Lorraine May 6, 2015 / 8:18 pm

    Family isn't just by blood, family is those who are there for you no matter what. This is a beautiful post 🙂

  9. Abracadabra Girl May 6, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    What a great post. You seem to really have a great outlook on family I especially love the part about cutting out drama kings or queens I had a similar cull last year although with my circle of friends. I wish you all the best. k x

  10. Full of life May 6, 2015 / 10:13 pm

    The times are changing but people's needs haven't

  11. Sisley White May 7, 2015 / 10:51 am

    A lovely post. I hope you win! I agree that family can include friends. It's all those we love x

  12. Elena Peters May 9, 2015 / 12:43 pm

    You may not have had a traditional family but you sure had a lot of people in your life that loved you. No doubt your children are reaping the rewards of an extended family and being taught that family may not mean related. It's great that you have also taught them that some people can not be part of your circle and that cutting them out is ok to do. Good job Mummy! Comment via #Weekendbloghop

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