/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » i choose abnormal

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it. ~Ellen Goodman in _The Boston Globe_

Okay, if that’s the current definition of “normal,” then I choose “abnormal,” thankyouverymuch.

Seriously~that sounds like a recipe for insanity. I recognize that many people don’t have a choice about whether they stay home or not, and to hear the financial people talk, we don’t have the luxury of that choice, either.

And yet, here I am. I’m at home, homeschooling, and we’re okay. We’re not living on easy street (by any stretch), and I often wonder what I would do if I didn’t have to juggle bills and figure out ways to *not* spend money. But I’m content. We make lifestyle choices that help us do this; for example, we’re burning wood in the fireplace right now to keep the gas bill lower. Yes, the wood costs us money, but it’s a fraction of a month’s use of natural gas. Yes, it’s more work to do this, but it’s cozy, toasty, and quite homey.

We also choose to have one car. There are many days when I would love having a second car, but that’s not in the cards for us right now. I keep my “out and about days” to two per week so Mark can drive to work and we can save on mileage, time, and (most importantly) fuel costs. Meanwhile, we insure only one car and put gas in one car, so it works out. Inconvenient? Yep. But a blessing in disguise? Absolutely. Because on the days when we take Mark to work we get to spend time together as a family that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Sure, it’s 30 minutes in traffic. But it’s 30 minutes when we get to talk and plan our day (or talk about how our day went) that we wouldn’t otherwise have.

I also don’t buy groceries that aren’t on sale. I don’t shop at Whole Foods (otherwise known as “Whole Paycheck” around here), but I make good, healthy choices for my family at less-expensive grocery stores. Do I love Whole Foods? You betcha. They are pros at marketing and designing attractive food in spectacular ways. Do I love the tab at Whole Foods? No way~I have about $35-40 per week to spend on groceries and at the prices at Whole Foods, I’d be able to buy 2 or 3 things per week (well, maybe that’s exaggerating a bit, but still!). So I choose differently, we eat well, and I get to practice my creative cooking skills. 😉

Ultimately, the choices we make are our own. I don’t condemn anyone for their choices, just as I hope no one looks with disdain on mine. But back to Goodman’s definition of “normal”: I don’t want a house that’s cold and vacant. I don’t want a car that has a gigantic note that has to be paid off. I don’t want clothes that need more care than I do. I want a house that’s comfortable, homey, lived-in, and is full of joy and noise (and if you think homeschooling is a quiet operation, you’d better think again~). I want a good, reliable car that gets us from Point A to Point B and doesn’t have a 7 year loan on it. It’s just a car! Eventually, someone will scratch it, run in to it, or it will need maintenance because it’s mechanical and parts wear out. And I want clothes that keep me clothed, warm, and are modest, and most importantly, can be tossed in the washing machine with the rest of the family’s clothes.

I guess what I want, “abnormal” though it may be, is a LIFE. I want to enjoy life and have my things serve me, not the other way around. Goodman’s observation (or is it a recommendation?) sounds like I would be condemned to serving my things, and that doesn’t sound like “living” to me..

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  • http://www.blissonearth.blogspot.com Sari

    I am with you, Sue…. I am so proud of you if I have never mentioned.. Love you!!!