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To ask if there's such a thing as a 'nice normal family'?

(157 Posts)
moutonfou Sat 04-Nov-17 22:11:34

Background: my family are close, affluent in theory, my dad has a good job. From the outside we probably look like a 'nice normal family'. But there are issues - bad financial decisions, debt, mental health issues across the piece. Parents would probably have split up long ago but for dad being main breadwinner and mum having no means to go it alone, plus my only sibling has a learning disability, lives at home and has been NEET for 3 years with no sign of that changing, which causes everyone anxiety.

Today DH and I went out to lunch and I saw the family of an old friend who always seemed to be the perfect family. All really close, dad has a solid job in a profession, nice house, kids went to private schools, all now established/successful in professions themselves. The kids are starting to have their own kids, some of whom were there, and they all looked so happy together.

They were all sharing a bottle of wine, which really got to me somehow, because a typical wine scenario for my family would be my dad drinking a bottle of wine to himself and becoming gradually more incoherent, my brother glued to his phone or asking if we can leave, and me and my mum drinking tap water to keep the cost down and trying and failing to involve everybody in a conversation.

I commented that sometimes I get jealous of 'nice normal families' and DH said there's no such thing. There's something you aren't seeing in every family.

I accept that, but surely there must be at least some 'nice, normal families' out there? Maybe there are a few worries/issues there, but essentially they're all close to each other, moderately happy and fulfilled in life, and not too uncomfortable financially?

BexleyRae Sat 04-Nov-17 22:21:09

I definitely do not have a nice normal family, think Jeremy Kyle and take a break stories. I always thought I was the odd one out but when you talk to others, everyone has something not "normal" it just often not discussed openly. And if you asked some people i know they mighty say oh Bexley doesn't have any problems/randomness, but its just cos they dont know me yet

Crumbs1 Sat 04-Nov-17 22:24:34

I think most of the people I know have nice normal families - certainly close friends and most people in villages. Some are now adult families who haven’t yet started next generation but still home a lot and fully integrated into village family life. There are always things you don’t see as an outsider but I think we’re all fairly open and know each other well enough to spot anything awful going on.
Mainly it’s man as Chief breadwinner, women working part time or resuming career post children (or doing voluntary work as trustees, Non execs etc). Children at university or in first jobs, some beginning to settle down. Most have dogs, like gardening and attend village events. Supper parties, shared take away or similar most weekends. Children attend if they’re home. Most attend church fairly often as choir is church based. Everyone just ticks along. There are few divorces amongst either our friends or in the village. Teenagers moan about boredom and lack of facilities but stay safe, stay engaged with community and save wildest excesses for university.

MulhuddartDrive Sat 04-Nov-17 22:25:21

Dh's family would certainly seem to fit the bill. Everyone still speaks to each other, celebrate birthdays, Christmas, milestones. Everyone comfortably off, no divorces, and thankfully only minor problems Parents retired so mindful of money but not worried.

My own family would have been the same but for my dad deciding the grass was greener elsewhere, which has frankly fucked family celebrations. If we keep the parents separate though, all is good! I guess we're lucky over all.

ReinettePompadour Sat 04-Nov-17 22:26:17

There is no such thing as a 'normal' family. It took me almost half a century to work that out. grin

Everyone I've ever met has something odd, different, dodgy, illegal, freaky, perverse etc going on at some point in the extended family whether now or historically. Those who look the most normal to outsiders often are well practiced at hiding the truth.

manicinsomniac Sat 04-Nov-17 22:27:57

Yes, I think there are loads.

An outsider can't tell whether or not a family is 'nice and normal' but plenty are. Otherwise it wouldn't be called normal, I guess?

I think all families have their problems. But that's very different to not being 'nice and normal' most of the time.

SuperBeagle Sat 04-Nov-17 22:28:09

I'm convinced that my extended family is the flaw in Darwin's theory of natural selection.

They're awful.

Inkandbone Sat 04-Nov-17 22:28:34

Oh, I hear you OP flowers

I have an unreasonable jealousy of people who have normal, warm, friendly relations with their parents. Mine also appeared very respectable and affluent to the outside world but were volatile and unpredictable people, heavy drinkers and just difficult.

They died young and although I feel great sadness for the fact I feel pretty much alone in the world, I don't think I feel any sense of personal loss.

BackforGood Sat 04-Nov-17 22:29:55

I think my family would fall into that category as do the vast majorty of people I know - as far as I'm aware. But that's the thing.... no-one knows what goes on 'behind closed doors' as they say. Lots of couples who are - shall we say 'less than happy' at home can still put a pleasant face on when out in company. Most of us apart from those on Jeremy Kyle were probably brought up 'not to wash our dirty linen in public' , and are well mannered enough to have our arguments in private.

KarateKitten Sat 04-Nov-17 22:29:56

Mine is. And my DH's. Can't think of any real issues. Everyone gets on. Everyone cares about and helps each other.

RangeTesKopeks Sat 04-Nov-17 22:30:59

Crumbs could you please tone it down hmm it kind of fucks me off when you say all that. Sorry to be offensive. I just get a bit upset, because IMO I think what you mention here is quite far from reality for a lot of people!!

HelloPossums Sat 04-Nov-17 22:32:47

Wow it's like you live in Born and Bred or Down to Earth Crumbs!!!!

ApproachingATunnel Sat 04-Nov-17 22:33:28

I dont have a normal family either although both my parents and my own family probably appear perfectly fine.
It depresses me sometimes.

corythatwas Sat 04-Nov-17 22:42:50

Of course there are lots of unhappy families. But that doesn't mean there aren't other kinds of families too.

Mine would fit the OPs definition pretty well- we are not as well off as the family she was wondering about and we've had our fair share of health problems, but we get on well together, we like each other, we are there for each other, we trust each other.

Sparklemummyx0x0x Sat 04-Nov-17 22:44:20

Mine is I think.....sort of. Close to mum and step dad (mum remarried when my dad died) and brother & family. Extended family still speak and attend family occasions. No divorces.
However my son’s dad and I split up years ago but we are still friendly and I’m very close to his parents and siblings
So not perfect.....but no significant issues.

Bloodybridget Sat 04-Nov-17 22:46:36

Surely Crumbs has as much right to talk about the families she knows as anyone else? Even if they are distressingly nice?

Namethecat Sat 04-Nov-17 22:46:37

Isn't that the reason houses have curtains ? ( So that we can hide our business behind 😕😱😵😋 !)

BackforGood Sat 04-Nov-17 22:47:48

Range and Hello - the OP has asked if there is such a thing as a nice normal family. Crumbs has replied to that, saying 'yes' and filling out a bit of detail. Exactly what the OP is asking. There's no need to be rude about that.
One of the things I really enjoy about MN is that there are all sorts of posters on here, with all sorts of life experiences. Just because it might not be your life, it isn't fair to criticise someone for having that life, IMO.

goshthatseemsalot Sat 04-Nov-17 22:47:57

“Nice and normal” or dull and conformist?

DaisyRaine90 Sat 04-Nov-17 22:50:45

I don’t know anyone “nice and normal” who started off that way. Everybody has a back story and/or skeletons in their closet x

Grilledaubergines Sat 04-Nov-17 22:52:18

No one knows what goes on in another's family. Only what they get told. What seems idyllic externally very often isn't so, even in villages.🙄

egginacup Sat 04-Nov-17 22:56:56

All the families I have a proper in-depth knowledge of (i.e. mine, SIL and BIL's, exH's, close friends' etc) are not what you would call 'normal' in a happily married 2.4 kids kind of way... marriage break ups, step families, people sometimes falling out, some MH issues... generally there's enough love to go round and everyone bumbles along ok though so I think we're all doing ok!

confuseddotcom2 Sat 04-Nov-17 22:58:53

There are plenty of nice normal families, that's not to say they don't have issues though. I think very few families get through life without some kind of strife.

My mum is 1 of 7 & they all have nice "perfect" looking families. They are happy & there is lots of love. No money problems, successful children etc.. but I know that one uncle had a nervous breakdown, one cousin had a gambling problem, one auntie had an affair, one cousin had mental issues, etc

ofudginghell Sat 04-Nov-17 23:01:25

Dh will often say at times of stress in our household or within extended family “why can’t we just all be a normal family”
This is where I tend to roll around laughing and once I’ve caught my breath remind him there isn’t really such a thing grin
What do people class as normal ?

Rachie1973 Sat 04-Nov-17 23:03:56

lol I have a framed thingy that reads 'Remember! As far as anyone else knows we're a nice normal family!'

I don't think 'normal' exists

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