“Mom, What is Normal?”

snow on pot hook“Mom, what is normal, anyway?”

“How do you mean?”

“Is it normal to wear mismatched socks?”

“Well, it’s normal for you.”

“Is it normal to like crafts more than TV?”

“That’s normal for you.”

“What’s normal?  Is there a normal that fits everyone?”

“Good question.  The quick answer is – No, there isn’t a normal that fits everyone.  I do have a long answer if you wanna hear it.”

Of course you do.”

“Not making your beds every morning is normal for you and Will.  That’s not normal for lots of other kids.  There are kids who get their butts chewed on their way out the door to catch the school bus if they haven’t made their bed.  That’s normal for them.”

Thanks for not making me make my bed.”

“I’m still waiting to find out if I’m messing up on that or not.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the rest of the world seems to think that it’s pretty important to make a bed in the morning.  I don’t.  I’m waiting to find out that I’m wrong and then I’ll end up putting aside more money for your counseling funds.”

Whatever.”

 

“Do you mind another example of normal?”

“Sure.  Go ahead.”

“Lots of kids have parents who tell them how to dress for school, which friends to hang with and which sports to play.  That’s normal for those kids.  Would that be normal for you?”

“No.  But you do tell us not to do two screens at once.”

“I’m trying to keep your brains from spinning out of control.  I could be wrong on that count, too.”

 

“So Jen, are you seeing a pattern about what normal is?”

“Um, I think so.  Is normal what you grow up with?”

“Yep.  Normal is what you learn when you are growing up.  Normal isn’t always healthy or safe, but it’s what you know.  Until you learn something different, or see how other families operate, you will continue to think that what you know is normal.”

“So it’s normal to wear mismatched socks and not make the bed, but pretty much only in this house, right?”

“Well, I would guess there aren’t a lot of houses where that is their version of normal.  Once you see how other families do things, should you be quick to change your version of normal?”

“I dunno.  What if I have to in order to fit in?”

“Is it important to fit in based on made beds and sorted socks?”

“That’s dumb.”

“Well, it is, but there are lots of dumb reasons for wanting to fit in.”

 

“Mom, how do you know when you should change to fit in?”

“Listen to how you feel.  If it starts bothering you to wear mismatched socks, then start sorting your socks.  DON’T start sorting your socks because someone comments on the fact that your socks don’t match.  DON’T start making your bed because someone is trying to make you feel bad for not making your bed.  Listen to how you feel about socks and beds and do what feels right for you.  An unmade bed doesn’t hurt anyone.  Mismatched socks aren’t hurting anyone.  Let that be your guide.  If it feels right for you and nobody is hurt by your choice, then go with it.”

“K.  I think I see what you mean.”

 

“So, Jen…  wanna go make your bed now?”

“Seriously?”

“Kidding.”

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5 comments

  1. We don’t make beds either and our socks match most of the time. It’s not because we care about 2 different colored socks, it’s that they feel different in our shoes. ;)

  2. Z,

    Another fine example of normal. ;)

  3. Hi Jesse,

    I love this post! True confessions: made beds are not a high priority at our house though I feel better if they are made. : ). Anyway, a relaxed normal is a good thing in my book!

    Warm wishes,
    Lynn

  4. Lynn,

    “Relaxed” is the key! That creates a safe, warm haven for all of us.

  5. Jesse,

    I could not agree with you more!! Deep breath in and out . . . : )

    Take care . . .

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