We Are Family…I’ve Got My Spouse and Children With Me

First off, thank you to everyone who responded to my call for opinions on the hair. I have a plan of attack that will be unveiled after the next appointment, May 12. Stay tuned!

I’m writing tonight to get you thinking about something that has been on my mind for awhile. As a grown-up, who is your immediate family? In particular, I’m thinking about those folks that have a spouse and children. Are your parents and siblings replaced by said spouse and child(ren)? Without personally being in this situation and only observing, I think this is the case. Of course, family is family and always important (if you’re lucky enough to have a good relationship!), but who do you jump in front of a bus to protect? Who do you want around on an average Tuesday night?

For the sake of argument, let’s say you agree with me. At what point does the transition happen? When you get married? When the first child is born? If you don’t do things in traditional order (i.e. kid before (or without) marriage) do the rules still apply? If you’re not in a serious relationship, but are very close with a small group of friends, can they be counted as your immediate family? I’m thinking of that particular episode of Friends where they all had Thanksgiving dinner together when I think of this last question.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts as I’m guessing there will be differing opinions out there. Enjoy!


  1. You make it sound like your immediately family switches. I don’t think it switches – it grows. You start with your parents and your siblings. They are your family for life, not just until you turn 18. Then maybe you add a significant other/spouse. Then maybe children. And maybe you feel extra close to your best friend and you consider them your family too. Just because I live three thousand miles away from my parents doesn’t make them not my family.

    Home to me is much more transient feeling. My family is all over the place, but the place I live is not necessarily “home” all the time. It took awhile before New York City felt like home, and not just a place where I had most of my stuff. It takes awhile before you go from “living in place” to “being from a place.”

  2. Allison, thank you for your comments. I like how you think. And you bring up another good question-where is home? I agree with you…it wasn’t until I came back home from college before the house I lived in for the previous 10 years felt like home. And interestingly enough, my mom’s house now feels like home even though it technically never was.

    Guess it’s all a personal belief, huh?

  3. I have to agree and agree to disagree at the same time. As you know I have the whole package, husband and kids, plus am now an only child of 2 parents. My husband has 3 siblings and a mother.

    At some point in time “family” does shift for you. It’s typically spurred on by the first time your “family of orgin” conflicts with your family. Let’s say your mom and dad want you to spend Christmas at their house and your family planned on staying home. A decision must be made if no compromise can be. This is when you learn where your new loyalty lies.

    Or the biggie for married folks…..next of kin. When I was in my car accident I called my husband first….then my mom, then my dad. But it was my husband I wanted by my side immediately. It was my husband that my surgeon talked to when I was under the knife. It was my husband who had to make all those decisions. Now luckily my family and my “family of orgin” all love each other. So my husband kept my parents completely updated and took all their feedback and questions. But at the end of the day it was all him.

    It doesn’t mean I love my parents less or they don’t have a role. It’s just not the same. When I think of family and home the first picture I come up with is the one my husband and I are building together.

    Good topic Maggie.

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