Is Your Life Normal?

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the definition of normal as an adjective is:

normal: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural

in theory, i like normal. i like balance and i like symmetry (hence both sides of my nose pierced). i find comfort in normal and routine is how i cope with anxiety.

adding a kid to the mix brings up a whole lot of goggling things like:

“is it normal for my baby’s hair to fall out” (newborns are weird)
“is it normal for my baby to grind her teeth?”
“is it normal for her to be obsessed with constantly looking in the mirror?”

normal, at times, helps us judge where our baseline should be. it truly is helpful when looking at blood sugar or those moles on your back. are they normal? if not, what needs to be done about it?

however, when it comes to ideas or lifestyles, it takes some getting used to when stepping outside of ‘normal.’

gerome viavant

for instance, on average our daughter atlas boards a plane at least once a month. is that normal for most 1 year olds? no, it’s not (i’ve goggled it) but it is normal for her.

at a recent conference, a speaker shared a thought along these lines: “your way of life is normal for your kids. it’s their normal.”

yes this applies to raising kids but also extends to your life with or without kids.

most people’s husbands don’t travel 150+ days a year but mine does so that’s my normal. some husbands never sleep a night away from their family while others are overseas for months or years at time. all are ‘normal’ for each of those families.

a lot of people work the normal hours of 9am-5pm but i work intermittently throughout the day and at night (my clock currently reads 9:49pm) and often on weekends. that’s my normal.

most people that get their masters in social work go on and work in a ‘normal’ social work environment. i use my degree differently (and i’m only very recently owning this) and that’s my new normal.

focus more on your normal and what you want that to look and feel like and less about society’s normal. like most things, this is much easier said than done but give it a shot.

a few questions to ask yourself:

  • is what i’m doing working for me?
  • am i doing something because that’s simply the way it’s always been done?
  • what would i do differently if i wasn’t hesitant of being judged as ‘abnormal?’

what are some ‘uniquely normal’ things in your life?


  1. Marilyn Jess

    October 18, 2017 at 7:22 am

    It’s normal for me to take solo vacations.

    That statement is the one that has gotten the most comments from people in the past several years. I am a woman, over age 60. That fact prompts people to be surprised that I fly far away from home, on my own, for personal time. Then, I explain that I have learned to do it, from others, and it works for me. Still startled that women are expected to be part of couple, all the time.

    • chelsea

      October 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      i totally love this about you marilyn! thank you for talking about your solo vacations! very good point about that women are expected still expected to be part of a couple all of the time. i hadn’t ever really considered that before, thank you for sharing your unique normal marilyn!

  2. Jo

    October 18, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Chelsea, Love this post! Still trying to formulate my new normal…ok its been under construction for about a year. I love the flexibility of building a business and being able to be with my kids more. It fits! Now if I can just earn some moolah, my “normal” would be rocking it!

    And more power to Atlas’ frequently flyer miles…Nathan flew alot before he was two and totally dug it.

    • chelsea

      October 24, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      my new normal has been under construction for a whilllle too jo 🙂 i am glad you are finding the rewards of building a business! keep adding value, putting yourself out there and more money will find its way to your normal!

      yay babies who fly a lot!

  3. Penny

    October 18, 2017 at 8:46 am

    i always love getting your thoughts on wednesday. it always makes me think in a different way from how i was thinking before and today is no exception. you are absolutely right in that what is normal for me might not be normal for anyone else and that normal changes all the time. sometimes it remains the same and sometimes it changes. unfortunately some normal behavior is regulated by the state, city or county. for example i might like it to be normal to rob a bank when i need money. that normal is not acceptable to society and therefore we have rules and regulations and consequences so that this is a normal behavior that is not allowed. my normal was different while i was working. now that i am retired my new normal is different. so what is normal for you, ryan and atlas is the normal that works for you and that is just wonderful. we don’t have to change to please anyone else, we don’t have to explain ourself to anyone else. we really don’t…. although sometimes i still feel that need to explain myself. ugh!!!! i wish i was a confident and brave as you are. hugs and love always aunt p……..

    • chelsea

      October 24, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      that is SUCH a powerful comment to hear you say penny “it always makes me think in a different way from how i was thinking before and today is no exception.” i take that as a huge compliment so thank you!

      totally agree that there needs to continue to be rules and regulations when it comes to certain decent standards in society but glad you are finding your new normal for being retired!

      ps. i don’t always feel brave and confident so you aren’t alone in not feeling that way either 🙂

  4. Audrey

    October 18, 2017 at 10:24 am

    I like this type of thought. Being from a small town, there are many normal expectations around here. It’s normal to leave and it’s normal to stay, but when you stay the normal thing is to get married, have kids, and work a job the rest of your life. While we did stay and get married, the rest of our life hasn’t been normal. We’re childless, running an international company, and living in our second house. We’ve had many eyebrows raised when we still shout NO at people who ask if we’re having kids tomorrow. It’s not in the plans yet, this is our version of normal, and I plan to mix things up in years to come, too.
    Also, now I’m thinking solo travel should be in my version of “normal”, too!

    • chelsea

      October 24, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      thanks for your thoughts on your normal audrey and you know i’m allll about living that life to the fullest! love that you are both doing what YOU want to be doing (and omggg people stop with the kid inquiries already, jeeeez)! and huge congratulations on your second home! woohoo!

      i totally agree about the solo travel too – marilyn is inspiring us!

  5. Jennifer Haston

    October 18, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Our “normal” is that we are debt-free and do NOT use credit cards.

    Love this post!

    • chelsea

      October 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      wohoo! i know the hard work and efforts it has taken you to be debt-free jennifer and i’m so happy for you!!!!

  6. Elyse @ Just Murrayed

    October 19, 2017 at 9:48 am

    We have a new normal since moving to Vancouver, it means spending more time together but also for me spending more alone time because my husband can work long hours. I used to spend that time with my family but now I’m able to pursue my own interests which has been awesome for this introvert! Now that we’re bringing a baby into this world, I’m sure we’ll have a new normal too!

    • chelsea

      October 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      love that you and andrew are figuring out your new normal since moving to vancouver, elyse! i am happy you are finding your own interests and enjoy that alone time. i am still working on this whole ‘new normal’ thing with a baby but we are getting there! SO EXCITED FOR YOU!

  7. Christina @ Hugs and Lattes

    October 19, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Yes! I love this. We each create our normal – so in anything ever really normal? I’m thankful for the life I’ve created and carved out with my husband. Our normal (traveling somewhere every month) isn’t like other people’s normals. But even when our normal is exhausting, it’s so beautiful.

    • chelsea

      October 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      sing it sister! that whole traveling is our normal while exhausting AND beautiful…i get that so well! glad you two are doing your own normal (and you’re right – we always create it so may there isn’t really a normal afterall). cheers to never normal!

  8. Lamesha

    October 27, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Great post. Our normal is moving every few years because we are a military family. We’re moving again in February (we live in Sicily right now) and have no idea where we’re going. My husband’s work schedule changes constantly, therefore my career isn’t where I’d like it to be. That’s pretty normal for spouses. When we had our youngest in the military hospital, every time my ob-gyn walked in the exam room my husband would have to stand at attention because my doctor was an officer. My doctor would tell him he could sit down, and it even sounds absurd typing this but it’s our normal.

    • chelsea

      October 31, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      thank you lamesha for your note about ‘normal.’ and thank you all for your service because your normal would be super hard for me! that is absolutely foreign and wild to me about your husband having to stand at attention every time your ob-gyn walked into the room! but you’re right – that’s your normal 🙂 thank you for your thoughts!

  9. Charlene

    November 2, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I love this! It’s ‘normal’ for my husband to work 70-80 hours per week (though thankfully that ended this fall) and for me to do blog work after my day job while he’s still working. This ‘normal’ for us has changed this fall and it’s definitely taken a lot of getting used to!

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