What is a normal mother?

On Saturday, Michael said I am not a normal mother. Just to give a bit of context to his comment, he had climbed into bed with us at 7am on Saturday morning, and we had a brief conversation about what each of us would be doing that morning. I was lamenting the fact that I was going to the hair dresser for highlights and saying I would prefer to spend the 3.5 hours finishing the proofing of Through the Nethergate. I finished my statement my saying that most women like going to the hairdresser and find it relaxing. Michael then came out with his intriguing comment.

Of course, I needed to probe this statement. In what way am I not a normal mother?

So I asked him “Why do you think I am not a normal mother?”

“Because normal mothers don’t write books.”

“Really, but most of the people I blog with write books and a lot of them have children too so they are mothers.”

“Yes, but normal mothers don’t blog.”

Okay, the conversation wasn’t going as expected. So I tried another tactic. “So what is your idea of a normal mother then? What do your friends mothers do while I am writing and blogging? Do they bake cakes – I bake cakes [if they bake and I bake, then the gap is breached, isn’t it?]?

“No, they don’t bake. I don’t know what they do but they don’t write, blog or bake.”

“Okay, but they help their kids with homework, don’t they? And I helped you do your costing for the gingerbread men you are going to sell for the Grade 7 Entrepreneur day next month at school.”

“Yes,” he says, “but they don’t spend 2.5 hours showing their children how do do a costing budget in excel and how to calculate the per unit amount and multiply it by the number of units and how to use the look up function and the graph wizard and the sum function.”

I have nothing to say to that. I like to be thorough. What’s the point of me helping him to do a budget that isn’t in excel? Who would ever do the exercise without excel in our modern world? All those functions are useful to know and helpful to.

I give up. Based on Michael’s criteria, I am not a normal mother.

So, I ask you my friends. What is your idea of a normal mother? What do normal mothers do?

BTW, I got to page 120 of TTNG with my proofing and I made 10 really nice advertisements. Here is a sample for you:

TTNG 10

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91 thoughts on “What is a normal mother?

  1. Hahaha so cute and a lovely naughty conversation between Mother and Son, Robbie, felt so nice reading it. Congrats for your beautiful book do let me know when it is coming out will go on Amazon Kindle and buy it. My son has become very big and sometimes when we argue he too will tell me I do not think other mothers must be troubling their children like you do.

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    1. Thank you, Rob. Michael is a teenager and that is a time when you are trying to conform and be part of society. You don’t want anything in your life to be different. I am close to my boys so I have no worries, I found it quite entertaining.

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  2. Although normal people, mums and dads, can write, blog and in some cases, bake, I don’t believe anyone who’s normal would want to write. Unless of course they are locked in some kind of prison with years of nothing else to do. To be touched by insanity is a necessity to write anything worth writing—-Now there’s a grammatically insane sentence.

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  3. This was first read of the day and I’m so glad I chose it 🙂 Your son sounds adorable. Can I use adorable for grade 7? Probably not but … Sounds to me like you’re a normal mom. I suppose I’m not normal either in your son’s eyes since I like to write, blog and cook.

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  4. The telling part is that he didn’t know what a normal mother is…I can’t imagine how it could be defined. Every child is different, and needs different mothering. And non-birth women can be mothers to children of family and friends. What is a normal family? I don’t even know what our cultural definitions are anymore (part of the culture wars no doubt). You are yourself, and that seems to be what your children need. (K)

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  5. Fascinating. I read all the comments eagerly. Loved Samir’s “there are no ‘normal’ mothers,only good and bad mothers. ” and a bunch of others.

    Normal used to be the Leave it to Beaver mom but that’s gone. My kids think I’m odd because I am endlessly curious and I follow the mantra “see a problem solve a problem”. Sometimes they just want to whine.

    What else does Michael say?

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    1. Thank you, Jacqui. I get on very well with both my boys and they are both close to me. The comment wasn’t negative, it was just his observation. I suppose I am different to most of his friends moms and that is okay. A lot of South Africans spend their weekends watching sport, braaing and drinking.

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    1. Thank you, Sally. I wasn’t really concerned that Michael is unhappy or being mean, I was more interested to understand what is considered to be normal. People often say to me they don’t know how I get so much done and I am really interested to find out how other people spend their time.

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      1. I didn’t think you were concerned Robbie. I was just saying that from what I have seen of your mothering skills that normal or not normal does not apply, you are doing an excellent job clearly as both your sons come across as delightful young men with far reaching interests and a great sense of family. xx

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  6. Your son’s reasoning about your motherhood is priceless, Robbie! “Normal mothers don’t write, bake or blog.” LOL! Um, yes they do, and apparently, you don’t sleep either, which is also normal for mothers. When I was a single mom of two busy girls, I had my demanding full-time job, had a part-time gig going all the time, and played sports and still had time to attend their academic and sports events. No, back then I did not bake, write or blog, but I do now (well, I don’t bake). He will come to appreciate your creative outlets and likely have several passions and hobbies for the future! Great post, Robbie, nice to see motherhood never really changes!

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  7. Normal’s so last century. I think you’re going in just the right direction and your kids will appreciate the learning that comes from surviving eccentricity soon enough.

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    1. Oh, you are funny, John. I don’t come form a normal family. My dad makes quilts and cushions, makes tables and other items from wood and my mother writes and knits. My sister has won four Louries awards (in advertising this is a top award in South Africa).

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  8. I enjoyed this post. Many moms complain their teenage kids don’t talk to them at all so you must be pleased that he wanted to discuss this with you. My daughter once complained that I was the only mother that worked outside the home making me feel guilty. I discovered later that many of her classmates’ moms had jobs. I know you will keep those lines of communication open with both of your boys.

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    1. Thank you, Darlene. My boys both tell me all their worries, fears and successes. Other moms phone me to find out what is going on with the kids at school. I am lucky that way. When I was working full day and reading with Michael every night, Greg and I had chat time every evening when he would come and tell me all about his day.

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  9. This is lovely, what is a normal mother? I work, blog, write and nag.. get stressed, help with homework.. do their homework.. I suppose the main thing all us mums have in common is that we love out children dearly.

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  10. I love the idea of the excel sheet, I had enough trouble trying to get younger son to do his homework and understand the concept of calendars. What is a normal mother? Some of my children’s friends had some weird mothers, that’s for sure! I wasn’t writing then, but earned pin money doing sewing for a great craft lady, so I was forever clearing material and sewing machine away so we could have dinner.

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    1. I agree, Janet, that this is no such thing as normal in any capacity in this world. I think what counts is doing your best with good intentions. I think Michael was horrified about spending 2.5 hours learning how to do cost accounting, but he thanked me profusely afterwards.

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  11. In some ways, I believe that was an under-handed compliment Robbie, or not evoked with the proper words. Perhaps he meant to say you’re an extraordinary mother with all you do. 🙂

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  12. Well, I think it’s a matter of perspective. Children compare their moms with the moms of their friends or the moms they know. When my daughter was in 6th grade, I had a friend (as a babysitter) watched her. She loved to cook. So my daughter said, “Mom, how come you don’t cook from scratch?” So I was not a normal mother because I didn’t cook from scratch.

    Yes, you’re doing more than a regular mom would do, that’s for sure, Robbie. I think Michael’s statement could be a compliment.

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    1. Thank you, Miriam. I think you are right. Teenagers compare everything about themselves to their peers. I don’t spend a lot of time socialising with people outside of the family and I also don’t lie in bed in the morning so in that way I am different from many other people. Some of my friends stay in bed until lunch time on a Saturday, I think that is a waste of my precious time but I also believe in each to their own.

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      1. I know what you’re saying, Robbie. In a social gathering, I find myself interested in the guys’ conversation and joined them. Especially when I was working. I was interested in talking about business, and technology. The women usually talk about shopping and clothing but I don’t spend too much time in shopping. So I’m not like most of the normal women.
        In fact in my Sunday school class, one lady said “You’re the smartest woman in the class.” Just because I don’t drag about tedious details.
        Before I had cancer, I was “productive” 17 hours a day, so I understand about not sleeping in until lunch time.
        I’m proud of you, Robbie!! Michael will see that when he gets older.

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      2. Thank you, Miriam. Have you found you have to take things more easy after your cancer? I have noticed that my mom rests every day now which she didn’t do before. I think the cancer treatment was very harsh on her body.

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    1. Oh, how interesting, Tandy. I suppose that is where your interest came from. Michael is very loving and tells me all his secrets so I think he is happy and contented. I sometimes worry that Michael feels he can’t measure up with such an academic brother and parents but we do our best to boost his confidence and make him feel good about himself.

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  13. I don’t know what I’d do without a spreadsheet either.

    Come to think of it, most people I know don’t blog, bake or write so Michael has a point, but I imagine he is proud that you do all of those things the other mothers don’t.

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  14. I don’t have children, but as you say, I know plenty of people who write and blog… I think he’s probably been talking to other kids, and they might be amazed at the many things you manage to do and be a Mom as well… I agree that you’re extraordinary. ♥

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  15. Very interesting! I don’t think there is such a thing as a “normal” mother because lives, careers and motherhood are so completely intertwined, with thousands of variations. If pressed, I would say a normal (and very good) mother would be any mother who cares deeply, unconditionally, and offers her sincere self to her children. That’s definitely a mom who is thorough in her Excel explanations, who bakes and doesn’t like going to the hairdresser! (btw, I hate going for highlights 😉

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