When you think of a family, what image does it conjure up in your mind?
I guarantee if you had asked that question 30 years ago the answer would have been a mummy and a daddy with 2.4 children.
But today a different picture is painted. One that’s a little more abstract than it is clear cut, and I am so glad that this is the world my kids are growing up in.
It’s a world where discrimination is on the way out. Where a couple who are in a loving relationship can have a child without judgement, regardless of their sex or marital status.
For me, the image of a modern family looks more like a kaleidoscope than a boring black and white.
The Beatles had it absolutely right when they sang All You Need Is Love.
Go back a few years and there was a set path to starting a family. You got married and then the babies came along.
Same-sex couples who wanted to have a baby simply couldn’t. Couples struggling to conceive had limited, or no, places to turn to for help.
Now there is just one overriding concern when it comes to having a baby, and that is whether you will give them a loving home.
You could spend a million pounds on kitting out the perfect nursery, but it’s totally meaningless to your child. All they really want is people who are there for them. People with milk, lots of cuddles and a lot of patience.
Gone are the traditional routes to parenthood.
There are so many options, and choices, for when it comes to starting a family today.
And in my opinion, as long as you know it’s something that you really want, then the journey is totally irrelevant. It’s that you can offer something to a child that really matters.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned since having children, it’s that no one is really prepared for being a parent.
It takes us by surprise when the moment we have our baby finally hits. The most important thing isn’t being prepared, or buying all of the right kit or having the perfect house, it’s having the right people around us. It’s about being ready to be selfless.
Although outdated and discriminatory views still exist, I think by the time my girls have grown up these negative opinions will be largely a thing of the past.
I’m so thankful that my children are growing up in a time when they have choices, and not all families conform to a bland stereotype.
If only we could edit the word normal out of our day-to-day lives, I think we would open ourselves up to so much more.
Ultimately for me as a parent, having my kids mixing with kids from all kinds of different backgrounds is a huge bonus. Because they get the chance to learn that there’s no one way to be happy in life. And there’s no such thing as normal.
So I’m pleased that the so-called normal family is now a thing of the past. It makes the world so much more interesting. And it means our kids are so much more open to accepting and celebrating the things that make individuals different.
However you choose to start a family, love is really all you need.