What is ‘normal’ anyway?

What is 'normal' anyway?

I distinctly remember the uncomfortable realisation that not all families were the same when I was invited to my first sleepover as a young child. As I sat opposite my temporary family, I looked on with confusion and a whole lot of insecurity, at the strange rituals and ways of interacting these people had and wondered how on earth I would survive living amongst these aliens when I didn’t understand the rules. I looked at my friend with renewed respect that she could have grown up so normal living in such a different and strange household. Of course I was so used to my own family life that I found it very hard to accept that everyone seemed to approach it differently. But the more I did it, the easier it became until sleepovers became an unsettling but fascinating window into other people’s lives, which was enjoyable as much for the comfort of coming home to the familiar ground rules and well worn routine as anything else.

As a mother with a child who so obviously has a disability, I knew that other parents might find it difficult to know how to approach me. Most people are driven by decency and don’t want to say anything that might inadvertently offend or upset me, but this political correctness can end up rendering them mute as the apparent alien-ness of our situation overshadows everything else.

Apparent from throwing myself into school life as much as I possibly could, volunteering to help the PTA and becoming a class rep, I also used what I wrote here. A little while ago I started a special series of posts about our family life under the title Define ‘Normal’. I started writing about things that my family accept as being normal that perhaps other families wouldn’t and invited other people to join in and share their family quirks. I hoped to show that despite our life perhaps seeming alien and something that people could never relate to, in actual fact all families are just as bizarre to strangers looking in, we just generally fail to recognise it in ourrselves because it’s our version of ‘normal’. I hope to leave people wondering if perhaps we’re not that different from them after all.

I’m hugely proud of the posts that got shared by people during the weeks that I ran the Define ‘Normal’ blog hop, and I hope that I can start it again when life gets a little calmer.

What unites us is that we are all different…

26 Responses

    1.  Thanks Sally. Your link worked perfectly, and as you can probably tell by my comment I was really quite moved by your picture!

  1. Siobhan yes, less talk about setting up a blog, more doing! I’m afraid the SN community has been discussingand laughing/crying about the weirdness of our normal for a long time- I’m just stretching it to include all parents, as everyone I know is just as strange as us lot

  2. p.s. Elliot and Lilia were both cloth nappy kids. Couldn’t do it with D as he spent too long in hospital and you can’t use them when you can’t wash them. When he was older he just took it off and then wee’d on the sofa in protest 🙂

  3. Great idea! Normal is one of those words which to me has no meaning. Got a lot on this week but will try to do this.

  4. Not surprised re washable nappies – I really didn’t seriously think you would use those (i’d really have to buy you a wonderwoman outfit if you said you had done…), was just curious how terry towelling rated in Dom’s tastes…

  5. Oh, and yes, you’re totally right re blog. Saying no to the tyranny of the urgent is the only way i’ll get on and do this. Oh well, family summer holiday isn’t going to get booked for a while and we’ll have to continue tripping over a cardboard box full of unfiled paperwork for another 2 weeks….

  6. I’ve been reading the blog hop with interest. Normal is not a word used about my situation either, but I’m not sure I quite fit into the category for the challenge, as there’s only me at home doing the balancing, plus I feel so fortunate about my situation that I’d feel guilty including my story in with the hell so many of you go through.
    Or maybe that’s part of the point- I think nothing of my situation, but others look at me like I’m a freak from another world. When you’re in the moment, sometimes all you can do is make it to the next moment, the next round of drugs, etc and those minutes you’ve spent thinking about your situation, could be used to at least locate the paperwork you’ve been meaning to do for months!!

    1. Yes, definitely, that is the point. Normal is relative. You mustn’t feel guilty, really the hop is an attempt to get everyone to share what their normal is. Even if it’s staying at home stroking the cat! Do jump in when you’re ready (if you want to) I’ll be running it every week, so there is plenty of time!

        1. Fabulous! Well done. I’m cross eyed with tiredness right now, but will read it tomorrow 🙂

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