The other day I posted a poll on Facebook asking when people washed their bed sheets, or rather, how often they did that.
The following day (or maybe it was two days later) I posted a question about they insane thing that husbands do that drive us nuts (like “replace” the toilet paper by balancing it on top of the empty roll or narrowly missing the laundry hamper Every.Single.Time he undresses).
THEN I shared a dirty little secret about my home and what happens with all the clean laundry when momma is just too tired to fold and put it all away (ps, I have a clean clothes couch in my home so if you show up unannounced you may have to choose to sit amongst the clean linens or push it to the side … there is no shame in my game).
Without fail, each of my posts would be met with this expectation of “normal”. Someone would comment that they didn’t think that what they did was normal, that how often they washed the sheets (or DIDN’T wash them) was abnormal. That having a piece of furniture that is transformed to the dumping location for all the laundry that has been washed, dried, and you have every intention of folding and putting away … it just hasn’t happened yet, is not normal. That fighting to get your dishes DONE everyday, struggling with the fact that you still have a full washer of clean dishes that you are avoiding and thus the dirty dishes begin piling up on the counter is … not NORMAL.
And every time I read the admission that, before x post, they thought that they were somehow abnormal … I started asking, “well, what the STINK is normal?”
Who is normal, what is normal, and when did we get so caught up in chasing an idea of normal that we failed to remember that we weren’t created to be like everyone else?
We spend so much time scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, filling our minds with what “should” be, as we look around at our houses, at our families, our waistline etc. and we begin to think that we are failing.
We are not normal, normal people don’t live like this.
And we spiral, we isolate, we keep scrolling because it’s the Devil’s game, we keep comparing because we are *for whatever reason* glutton for punishment, and we keep filling our expectations with the concept of a baseline life that we aren’t even living up to.
And that doesn’t take into consideration those people that are just KILLING it at life.
We will never get there!
We can’t even achieve “normal”.
Can I let you in on something, you have to promise you won’t judge me.
I cringe every time we are invited to a birthday party for children.
It’s not because I don’t like kids, because I absolutely DO. It’s not because I don’t like the people inviting us or because I don’t like spending money on a gift or an experience.
It’s because I know that EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I go to a children’t birthday party I am overcome with this feeling that I am failing, that I do not measure up. I hate that feeling that I am going to walk into this perfectly Pinterest worthy children’t party, where everything matches, there is a theme that is absolutely adorable and so trendy, and feel like I am not measuring up.
My parties don’t look like that … I don’t even host parties (probably BECAUSE they don’t look like that).
And I know that I will start to spiral.
I will compare, I will judge MYSELF, and I will allow myself to feel as though I am not normal. I am less equipped. I am failing as a mother, my children are missing out, why can’t I be equally skilled at crafting little woodland animals from fondant for thirty thousand cupcakes while sewing a burlap banner and lining up forty two games for the children to play.
And just like that, the joy is gone.
And I struggle to walk through the door with a smile on my face, I countdown the hours, minutes and seconds until we can leave, and I walk away feeling like I am not normal.
I share that with you because this type of feeling, this hesitation and judgement that we put on ourselves, is what we do every time we scroll through the newsfeeds and we allow ourselves to believe that everything we see “out there” is normal, and therefore we are NOT normal.
We fail to consider that we are all differently blessed, that things come easy for some and not for others, there are women who have an eye for decor while I struggle to match bed sheets, some who whirl though their house like Mary Poppins, getting all the things done as I wallow on my clean clothes couch wondering if it is such a bad thing that we have to dig for underwear in the morning.
Truth is, there is no normal … or – if you flip it around – pretty much everything is normal to some extent.
You are not alone if you wonder whether it’s ok to go a week without washing your hair … or your children … if there are other parents who forget to brush their kids teeth before bed, if waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is considered well rounded food choices.
You are not alone if you fear that you are not measuring up, we all do because we are INUNDATED with this IDEA that there is a normal standard of housekeeping, homesteading, motherhood. That being a wife requires that you do x, y, and ZED every day, that you need to be maintaining a weight or a BMI or a waist size of precisely -2 in order to be considered NORMAL.
Everyone is different, unique, blessed with skills and aptitudes that work in their home, for their families and in this season of life.
Instead of comparing and contrasting our own lives, skills, experiences with every lie and filter we are fed in the newsfeeds, we should work to embrace, encourage and support one another in our differences. We shouldn’t fear posting that messier than “normal” corner of our home where our baby boy learned to walk, we shouldn’t hesitate sharing that video of us laughing so authentically that our gums are showing, our crows feet are prominent and our belly may or may not be jiggling like a bowl full of jelly.
Be real, invite real, engage in REAL, and remember that you are neither normal or abnormal.
There is no such thing!
Comparison is the thief of joy. It will rot your soul and cloud your sparkle. It will convince you that you are less than, when the truth is you are perfectly equipped for here and now.
So there you have it – you are not normal, I am not normal, let’s be abnormal, weird, wonderful and REAL together.
Because, frankly, normal is BORING.