Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not Normal

For the first twenty-some years of my life, I worked and tried my damndest to just be normal. To not have the frizzy hair, to not be the only girl in the 7th grade that was taller than all of the boys, to not be the girl that got beaten at home or bullied at school. The glasses that I was supposed to wear? In my backpack except for at home.

I just wanted to be feel normal.

The problem with my plan is that I was not embracing the me that I was called to be. Whether it was out of shame, or guilt, or longing, or jealousy, I could not just be me.

After I got married, I became comfortable in my own skin. I become comfortable in knowing who I was and what I was good at. I would try new foods, hobbies, and not fear what others would say about me.

And then I became a mother. A mother who was heavily influenced by her mother-in-law to do this or not do that. I would scramble to hide evidence of pacifiers or formula (not that my child would really ever take either one, but an overly tired and nervous new mother will try anything - even once- in an attempt at peace). The other mothers? With their perfect husbands and babies and dance and gymnastics and money is no object? I ran scared from them too. Because money is an object, because my kid does not need dance lessons (she dances all the time without instruction), but mainly because I did not feel worthy of them, because I am not normal, I am not perfect.

Amazingly, my child grew, not only that, she thrived in my care. She understands the balance between what gets said to grandmas and what gets said at home. She is savvy and knows how to play her audience, no matter where she might be. And she is smart, oh God, she is so incredibly smart.

I got comfortable again and I started this blog. I found comfort in finding a community of women that love their kids, but just don't want to be climbed on and over 24/7, that understand that while I love my daughter, I have to have adult interaction with other people dealing with the same issues - sometimes through humor, sometimes through tears. They let me know that I was not alone.

And on my craziest days? On the days when my kid would slip me a little something extra in my water bottle or ground me for not cleaning my room? This was my release, my own little piece of really cheap therapy, because what mother really has time to battle the demons within, work a bagillion hours, pack aesthetically pleasing, fun, and healthy meals while fighting the monster in the closet and the nightmare under the GD bed until all hours of the night, put out, and then wake up in the morning to do the whole damn thing again the next day? And if I could do all of that, where in the heck do you find that kind of money?

So I had my little blog.

Of course, we all remember February and the train wreck that my life became. And we remember what an asshole I looked like when I seemingly suddenly kicked my husband out of the house after he lost his job. I used the blog to vent, to let it out because bottling it up is not healthy for anyone and because the last person that I needed to go all Momma-ragey on was the Supergirl. Instead, I dumped it here in my blog.

Which drew in readers. Oh, boy, did it draw in readers.  Except these readers were acquaintances from my real world. Nosy people with nothing better to do than read what I had to say and judge me. And the things that I wrote about my relationship, my marriage, my life were used against me to ostracize me within my community, to make me feel the shame and hurt and guilt that I have battled all of my life.

In reaction, I began to edit myself. The words that I would choose, the things that I would say. The snarky comments that I might have about a man's inability to pick up a pair of GD socks from the floor? Tuck that away, it's too harmful, it could sound condescending or demeaning to your husband. The issue that I have with the clinginess of my daughter after a long day of work when I just need 5 friggin' minutes to myself? Probably shouldn't blast your blessing out in the open like that, someone will have something to say about it.

My thoughts have become claustrophobic from sitting too long stuck in my brain with no way to get them out into the open. I am grumpy and irritable that I am being forced to live like this.

I can't live like this. I cannot write a healthy and thriving blog like this. The editing is done. There is nothing else that I can be made shameful or guilty of. All of my truths are here. If you don't like what you read, start your own blog and write what you think I should write about. Stop harassing me about what you are unwilling to do, stop judging me for things that you won't even discuss with me. Just stop.

I don't need your version of normal when I have my hands full trying to be the normal that is right for me.


  1. Go Heather! And you know... you're normal is NORMAL. Woman have pet peeves - these things that our husbands do that just make no sense. If you can't tell other women then who can you tell. We all understand this. We know that you love being a mother, but all mothers have times when their kids are getting on their nerves and they just need a break. So if someone makes you feel ashamed for having some real, normal emotions as a wife and mother... then whatever, who needs them.

  2. Great post Heather. You definitely have a way with words. And all those seemingly 'perfect' mothers with their 'perfect' lives are just not being honest with you or with themselves. And there are so many of these women around. I don't understand what's so wrong about saying that the kids are doing my head in today. It doesn't mean that you love your child any less, just that you need a break. Sorry I didn't mean to rant. This is your story not mine. But I just wanted you to know that I understand what you are saying. I can't believe that people would be low enough to read your blog and judge you on what you write.


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