Kid's Corner...Reflections on "the norm" 

12.21.20 07:38 PM Comment(s) By Adrienne Towsen

Taking a detour from Motivation Monday to hear Kayla's perspective as a grown "kid" of a working mom...

written by Kayla Fineza (age 18)...

didn’t notice any difference between my family and my friends’ families until I was about 9 or 10. Having a working mom, or parents, with demanding schedules seemed to be the norm for a lot of kids my age; however, I didn’t have any friends who had a single working mom or lived in a three-generation household. 

This discrepancy was reiterated when I was in middle school and we were learning about the different family types. The teacher made everyone raise their hands to see what family type they had. When asked who had a nuclear family, about 90% of my classmates' hands shot up. For the rest of us, she made us tell the class what our family type was, and what made it “different.” Not one other kid shared my combination of a single parent/cross-generational family, which I guess qualifies it as different, but I think it always confused me why she made it seem like it was worse. That day became my moment where I realized that the family dynamic in my household wasn’t necessarily considered to be “the norm.” 

Like my teacher, I think that people often feel pity for children that have divorced parents. And, on top of that, a single parent who can’t be there for every moment. Personally, I never really understood why one equaled the other. I completely understand that these situations could make things harder, and I know for a fact that they did at times for my family, but I also think that while they can bring a lot of hardship, so can having a nuclear family, living the so-called “norm.” 

I truly feel that I could not have had a better childhood. And, looking back, sure there were times that I was upset that my mom couldn’t be there to take me to school every morning or for dinner every night, and even had to work on the weekends sometimes. But in reality, the only reason I have been able to become who I am today is because my mom worked incredibly hard. My fondest memories were mainly made possible because of her and my grandparents who became me and my sister’s honorary parents when my mom wasn’t around. 

I think we can all agree that it is the people who raise us that begin to shape who we are, and that group of people looks different for everyone. So, why is there a “norm?” 10 year old me definitely noticed that my family wasn’t it, and 8 years later I still do, but I don’t feel like this ever genuinely bothered me. It definitely doesn’t now. My family is my norm, which is different from yours, which is your norm. I think this standard shouldn’t exist, because, in my opinion, my family sets a pretty good standard, even if it's not the same as yours.

As for my mom, she works hard, long hours, but she does so for us. When I was writing this, I was trying to think of moments where I remembered feeling extremely upset that she couldn’t be there, and I struggled. I know that there was probably a lot, but all that was coming to mind were the moments we were able to spend together. Where she would take off to chaperone my class trips, volunteer at school, or take us on vacation. Those were the only moments that I could remember, and quite frankly, the ones that matter. I know that hindsight is 20/20, and maybe in the little moments I was sad, but looking back now, I only see the happy. So, maybe my mom isn’t the norm, but I feel like she sets the highest standard of all.

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