What is your normal?

First published Feb 9th, 2016

The other day while flicking through Facebook I saw this picture:

normal.jpg

But what is normal?

Last week Colin was on holiday so on Sunday we took advantage of free parking in Edinburgh to visit the museum of Scotland.

We sat down in the canteen to have our packed lunch, and as we were eating I thought how we must have looked like the perfect family to anyone looking on. All three children were on their best behaviour. This was not normal for us!

After lunch we went off to see the Lego exhibition, after a while the older two went off with Colin to explore more of the museum while Micaiah and I sat by the Lego watching the world go by. 

I love people watching but these days it’s very rare for me to get to do this as I am more likely to be keeping track of what our little ones are up to.  Anyway as I sat there watching families come and go, some with happy kids, some with eager kids, some with not so happy kids and then just a couple with full on meltdown kids – it got me thinking how different we all are and how each individual family has its own quirks yet we probably all think we are ‘just normal’.

So what is normal? What does normal look like?

With Elijah (now 5), normal was always being dressed in an outfit no matter if we were staying in or going to see the Queen.  Normal was cloth nappies on his bum from 5 weeks until he was out of them.  Normal was breastfeeding with only a few bumps on this journey. Normal was sleeping through the night from week 6.

With Deborah (now 3), normal was being dressed in an outfit if we were venturing out.  Normal was cloth nappies at home and disposables when out.  Normal was breastfeeding with only a few bumps on this journey.  Normal is still struggling to sleep through the night at times.

With Micaiah (now nearly 5 months), normal is ‘what’s wrong with a baby grow’?!  Normal is disposable nappies – the cloth will be worn one day.  Normal is breastfeeding, although this journey nearly came to an end a month or so ago as this was pure agony for the first 3 months of our journey.  Normal is generally only getting up once in the night. 

‘Normal’ has evolved for us.  And I’m sure ‘normal’ looks different for every family.

Normal might mean co-sleeping for some, bottle feeding for others, shared maternity leave for some, single parenting for others.  

The point I am trying to make is we all worry about the way we are raising our children and what is ‘normal’:

He only pooped once this week – is that normal?

She’s still not sleeping through – is that normal?

He’s not got any teeth yet – is that normal?

She’s not crawling yet – is that normal?

Or as we often say about our Deborah: ‘surely that can’t be normal!’

Parenting is hard and knowing what is deemed ‘normal’ on this journey is even harder.  So my thinking on this is

Be confident that you are doing ok and remind yourself that normal is going to look very different for each family, each child. 

Embrace your normal.