Mum’s the Word: Family Dynamics

Our Mum’s the Word columnist shares her big news and explores the concept of family…

Written by Dolly Osbourne

This month I changed my name my deed poll. I’d felt a strange disconnect from my first name for a while and even though many of my friends called me Dolly, not Nicola, I always felt awkward introducing myself thus so a legal change was needed.

The name change got me thinking about the beauty of the modern day and how the word family has a much more relaxed definition than it used to have. The old adage was always ‘you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family’ but I’m not sure that stands true in the modern world. We live in a world where family is so much more than mum, dad & 2.4 children, where genetic links carry less weight than shared experiences, less weight than love.


I look at my own family and it’s higgledy piggledy ness. I have a stepdad and whole stepfamily that I adore. I myself have two beautiful stepdaughters who were adopted as toddlers and so aren’t genetically related to either me or my husband.

My husband is stepfather to my son and their closeness eclipses the relationship my son has with his biological father. My best friend lived with me for seven years and so feels like my little sister and auntie to my son. My husband has a foster sister who he adored from the moment he set eyes on her. I have friends whose children call me auntie and I cherish the word because, like my new name, have been chosen.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore most of the people I share genes with it’s just my adoration isn’t limited by biology. There is nothing in this world better than spending time with people you love, people who feel like home to you and the people who make you feel like that are undoubtedly family no matter what a DNA test might reveal.

Find other Mum’s the Word articles here

Read more from Dolly on her blog or follow her on Twitter @Osborneosaurus

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