NORMAL (nôrməl) adjective
1. conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
Normal is a harmless word, right?
“Oh, work was good. Just a normal day.”
“I did my normal workout this morning.”
“It’s totally normal to feel that way.”
How about this one? “He’s four. I just don’t think it’s normal for him to be doing that.”
It’s harmless until it’s something that someone is saying about your child. Until it’s someone passing judgement about your child. Until it’s something you’ve heard said one too many times.
When you’re a parent, especially in this social media-obsessed society, you ask yourself multiple times a day whether your children are normal. When you log on to Facebook and see Stacey from high school’s four-year-old juggling and speaking Spanish, you immediately look over at your child eating Cheetos off of the floor and wonder whose kid is more normal. How many times have you Googled things like “normal speech development for a two-year-old boy” or “normal poop color after being sick?” Have you called your best friend and said, “Hey, so-and-so is being so defiant right now. Do you remember your kid doing this? Is it normal?”
How do you feel when the answer is NO?
How do you feel when the answer is no A LOT?
We live in a mean girl parenting society. It is HARD to be a mother, especially today. We are questioned and judged constantly, and because of that we subconsciously question and judge other mothers as well.
EVERYBODY wants to parent a NORMAL child. Nobody wants to deal with the thoughts that bombard you when the answer to “Is it normal?” is no.
But WHAT on Earth is normal?
I’m going to go out on a limb and admit something here. I know what it’s like to judge a mother based on how her child is developing. I know what it’s like to look at a mother’s child and wonder why she can’t do more to make her child understand or why her kid can’t sit still. What is she lacking? Why isn’t her kid normal?
There is one mother is particular that I just can’t let be. This poor woman. I’m ruthless. I tear her apart in my mind night after night. And damn it, I owe her an apology.
So listen, self.
Your child isn’t normal.
He is PHENOMENAL.
He is going to change the world.
You need to stop letting other people define the parameters of normal for you and your child.
You need to STOP worrying about whether he IS normal. Because if you don’t, he isn’t ever going to redefine what that means.
You need to cut yourself a little slack.
NORMAL is learning lessons every day.
NORMAL is looking out for yourself.
NORMAL is loving your family and friends fiercely.
NORMAL is accepting people for who they are, regardless of the filter they are viewing you through.
And if you need someone to help you with that? I know a guy.
And in his best interests, let me ask you a favor, please…
Stop using the word NORMAL to compare him.
Stop using the word NORMAL to compare your children.
STOP using the word NORMAL to compare yourself.
Use KIND, or LOUD, or GENUINE, or LOYAL, or SELFISH, or PARTICULAR, or INCREDIBLE.
Because, really, the greatest thing about humanity is that there is nothing more abnormal than being normal.
So, fellow parents, if you are asking yourself if your children are normal, if what they do is normal, if who they are is “normal”… the answer is YES. It’s just simply time that we take a clue from our babies and redefine what that means.