"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You Don't Have To Be Normal

Its a list day. Ka-ching! Having one of those real butt-kickers where all kinds of things get done and I feel completely in control of my own existence. (Aren't those the best?)

Time to enumerate my confidence and share things I am doing over at my house to bust out of the mold. Not everything that everyone needs to be copied...sometimes we get stuck in zones of group-think and never consider opting out. Maybe you need a boost today and one of these things could be a new experiment for you.

 10 "Normals" That I am Rejecting. 
  1. You have to shower every day. I shower once or twice a week. Whew. Scary to admit socially here in The States where daily showering is and iron rule but there it is. It works really well for me, from what I read its better for my body and it also saves water, time and money on toiletries.
  2. Kids love toys! Buy them more! I just kept picking up and packing up more and more and more toys. I did it a little bit at a time. One fitful load on one twitchy day after another. Eventually we got down to one small box of Duplo Legos, one shelf of books, about 5-10 costumes for pretend and a toy kitchen with nothing in it but a set of four wooden bowls and two spoons. That's all I have in our playroom right now. Everything else is in the basement in a giant nest of forbidden boxes. I'm not sure what to do with the stored items but I do love the new uncluttered existence and I love that the playroom is much more accessible and I love the idea of "having" less and getting my children's possessions down to a more manageable collection. Now I just need to figure out how to teach children to keep their smaller batch of goods away. Tips?
  3. Nobody knows their neighbors these days. I am resolved to know my neighbors. To have my kids know our neighbors, to not be suspicious of the people who live around me but instead grateful for them. I live in a city neighborhood on purpose and feel so lucky to be surrounded by folks who make neighborhood associations and plant trees together and have community cook-outs. We should all be so lucky. It isn't just for the 1950's. Your community is what you make of it. We can all learn the names and faces that surround us.
  4. Youth is the currency of the day. I think we should all embrace aging. Every year you earn, you earn. I walk the line by encouraging myself to be youthful in spirit, embracing of beauty, brave and flexible but I'm no Botoxing, perpetually 29, trying to pretend I'm not getting older, depressed because another birthday is arriving type. Grey hairs are badges, wisdom is hard fought, our elders our inspiring leaders and youth is just a starting point...not a panacea.
  5. Wild mushrooms are DANGEROUS! You know how I feel about wild food, right? Someday I'll get to the bottom of the American terror of eating wild mushrooms. I'm not sure why we have a gospel as a culture that fungi will kill you deader than dead but we do. Truth. Wild mushrooms are eminently learnable and delicious. Wild mushrooms can be toxic but no more so than many of the things in your grocery store which doesn't really freak everyone out. Flowers, plants, detergent....its all potentially dangerous. Mushrooms have no superpowers. They just got really bad press somehow. I'll eat your mushrooms anytime.
  6. Real women do it all by the sweat of their own brow. Man, I'd like to kill this one dead. I grew up with a wonderfully empowered, can-do kind of culture that taught me how to be happy with little, make things out of nothing and pull myself up by my own boot-straps. That's great and I'm super grateful. Its really made me who I am. The part that I don't dig is the insidious lie that real women, cool women, strong women....need nobody. They clean their own houses, they make their own clothes, they watch their own kids, and grown their own food and their husbands do nothing but earn money! Its crazy!!!! Women need men who pitch in. Women need friends who spot them on bad days. Women need hired help who bring professional muscle to the task. Women need older mothers and aunties to advise them and lend hands when they can't hack it all. Really real women admit that they need help and seek it to make their lives better. End of story.
  7. Boys will be boys. Boys will be wild and rambuncious but they will also be overly sensative and cry all the time. They will break stuff and be mean but they will also love gardening and babies and try hard to paint faces accurately. Boys and girls are allover different and the same. Trying to excuse or explain or expect a snips and snails and puppy dog tails when you really get individual children, touched off by all kinds of different stimuli is often more harmful and ignorant than it is galvanizing in my opinion.
  8. Embrace your flaws and paint them with glitter. I think its bad to be fat. I think it hurts to have poor people skills. I think that being sloppy is unacceptable. I think there's no real good in pretending that these things are "part of who I am" and boldly proclaiming them our favorite new forms of personal expression. I do think seeing yourself in an open-eyed way is important. Honesty is key. But then self-guilt as step two is no real help either. The way to handle your shortcomings is not through self-abuse and shame but instead through acceptence. I see these flaws. They are. I'm lovely and strong and can do better.  I'm going to try these things to see if they help.
  9. Babies sleep in cribs. I've never owned a crib. Freaked out yet? My babies sleep in my bed with me and then in a little basket or cradle on the floor next to me and then on a mattress on the floor. Skipped all the normal American baby sleep stuff. Whoops!
  10. Children should never be made to eat anything if they don't want to. I have a one bite rule. A and I disagree about this one. He is much more straight-up American about eating and hates the idea of children being "forced" to put anything in their mouths if they don't want to. I believe strongly in good manners at the table. I think its incredibly rude to the chef to be unwilling to taste the food (barring allergy, of course) and I am insisting that my children learn to politely try anything they are offered. No chicken nugget outs at our house! I'm the mean mommy!!!
 What normal do you opt out of? Anything interesting or unknown?


  1. Interesting thing to think about! I am not sure I notice ways that we are out-of-the-norm because they are normal for us. We don't have cable tv, we have a free-range rabbit who wanders the house at will, I make my own elderberry syrup to ward off colds. Great photo, by the way!

  2. Disneyworld as a must-have for children.