We know we are different – some may even say we are strange or weird. We moved from a beautiful (albeit cold) place to another beautiful place that we had never even visited. Beside that obvious oddity, we have learned there are many other reasons we are different.
Early to Bed
One that we have learned over the years as our children have grown is we put our children to bed earlier than most. Our children have always gone to bed early. When they were first born, we would try to get them to bed by 6:00pm. We worked at this. They often fought us on it. I remember one particular time, when we had friends over to watch the Tony Awards, I think. We had just moved our oldest into a “big bed” that he could climb out by himself. I sat outside his room and each time he got out of his bed and tried to come out, I would gently pick him up, not make eye contact, and place him back in his bed.
As they grew (they are only 7 and 10 now) we continued to put them to bed at 6:00pm. This would mean that, yes, during the summer they would go to bed when the sun was still up. They would sometimes miss out on activities that other children would get to participate in. Never fear though….we aren’t completely awful, we DO make exceptions occasionally for certain activities but they are only once in a while things. We’ve got a reputation to protect.
Now that they are a little older, they go to bed by 7:00 pm. I know…… you’re thinking “you are too magnanimous!” When I was younger, my cousins went to bed at 7:00pm and I remember thinking “THAT IS SO WEIRD!!!” Now I EMBRACE the weird! I know how nice it is to have my children in bed by that time. It is a priority for us to allow our children time to rest and give us time to be together to talk and spend time as a couple. I also feel that it has helped them be better learners and readers.
We say to people that we are “boring people” – they laugh and the conversation moves on. In all honesty, we truly are quite boring people. Our “ideal night” is climbing into our bed after our kids have gone to bed and reading a good book. We often fall asleep – or like to be asleep – by 8:00pm. We don’t go out. We are introverts. I know this may come as a surprise to some – especially those who have been in a show with either of us.
Either way, we really struggle with socializing. We enjoy being with people and appreciate any and ALL invitations we receive. We simply find it exhausting to socialize. Some take that as us being exclusive and might think that WE think we are better than others in some way. That is completely not true. We would consider ourselves as “extroverted-introverts” – you can read about it here. So, if we don’t show up to a party or leave early from a gathering – don’t worry, don’t judge or hate, it truly is us, not you.
Dry to the Bone
Although this is not very strange for those who practice our same religion, it may be strange for those who are not of our same beliefs. We don’t drink. What?!? Here we are nearly in THE RUM capital of the world (ok really that’s Puerto Rico…but we are close enough) and we do not partake. It is typical for people here on the island to get together for drinks. I’d say you sweat, eat, and drink here. For us (again – remember we are boring) getting drinks would mean getting a Sprite or maybe a Ginger Ale. Mixed drinks are pretty much a foreign concept to us….and we are all right with that.
We eat dinner at 4:30pm sometimes….maybe 5:00 or 5:30pm if it is a later day for us. Many would think that particular dinner time is strictly reserved for their grandparents. Many in the rest of the world eat dinner sometime between 6:00 – 8:00pm. Eating dinner at 7:00 or even 8:00 would be hard for us…as stated before (remember…we’re boring…) – that would be bedtime. Our typical routine would be; we get home from school, do homework, eat dinner, take showers, and are in bed by 7:00pm. When we get up at 5:30am, eat breakfast by 6:00am, and eat lunch by 12:15….we are usually starving by 4:30 anyway. It works for us!
A Clean House
People have often walked into our home and exclaimed “Did you just clean this place? Your house is so clean!” Then they launch into questions about how we do it. It doesn’t seem like such a feat for us. It’s what we have always done. We set the expectation that our children put things away. There is a place for everything. That does not mean that things always get there without mom or dad getting after them to get those things put away…but we work at it. We make our beds each morning. We wash our clothes daily and put them away (as close to daily as possible). We wash our sheets on a regular schedule. We have a routine. There aren’t consequences if the routine is off but we know WE feel better when our house is clean and orderly. Our hope is when others come into our home they can feel relaxed and comfortable.
We don’t play video games in our home. Our children have played them at friend’s houses but we don’t have any sort of gaming system in our home. We don’t have computer games. The closest they’ve gotten to playing computer games are “Dangerous Dave” or “Oregon Trail.” They also get to occasionally play games about geography on Seterra.com.
We decided that, for our family, we wanted our children to be able to play in other ways. They play outside a lot. They use their imaginations without the help of computer games. This is strange for many other people. We have friends who hand their children their own tablets or their own smart phones. That does not work for us. We don’t judge those friends. When you’ve got kids, you do what you gotta’ do…not what anyone else might be doing.
We engage with our children when we are traveling or waiting places. We are trying to train them to be patient and learn that waiting is part of life. You are not going to be, or need to be, entertained every second of your life. Quiet is all right.
We also find other ways to entertain when we are bored like playing a game called “I’m Thinking Of.” One person has to think of an animal/fictional character/location….or really anything and the others have to guess. The person who gets it, gets to be the next “thinker.” Stewart once chose neoprene as his “I’m Thinking Of” and it took me several hours….it was horrible!
We regulate television. We are pretty much THE meanest parents in the world. All right, not really….but maybe we are working on that reputation. We don’t have “regular” TV. We have a ROKU box. We stream the shows we watch.
I am very fond of programs that teach while entertaining. I, myself, don’t really enjoy TV just for the pure entertainment of it. Sometimes I watch the occasional “Poldark” or “Parks & Rec” for entertainment’s sake, but usually I want to watch something that is going to teach me something (I love cooking shows) or is going to make me learn or grow as a person and make me feel uplifted. We typically watch TV together. We let our children watch TV on the weekends if we are not doing other things like beaching or working in the yard or house. We watch a lot of educational TV. Our typical weekend routine is; pop popcorn, find a good “Nature”, “Nova”, or “Planet Earth II” and watch it together.
We are weird. We are strange. We are different. We are COMPLETELY all right with it. When we feel like it is not all right, we tell ourselves we are being courageous by not following the “norm” and then we feel better. Life is what you make of it. We all have choices and your choices don’t have to be the same as mine. Isn’t that great?
In what ways are you “weird”? Share in a comment below!
My family often has dinner between 8-9:00 PM and my kiddos don’t get to bed until after 10:00. I work the night shift and late bedtime is the only way to get my kids to sleep in late enough in the morning so this mom isn’t a freaking crazy woman every day (well, crazier than usual). It works for us. Things will have to change a bit next school year when afternoon kindergarten changes to first grade, but we’ll figure it out. In the meantime I’m savoring my sleep, even if we do have breakfast when most are eating lunch! 🙂
Love it! You have to do what you have to do! The beauty is, you’re the mom and you get to figure it out. Thanks for sharing!
Hello my name is Brian I really enjoyed readying your posts some were very humorous and informative at the same time. I would love to chat with you about some things regarding living in St. Croix. My wife and I are thinking about moving there I recently received a job offer there, but am not sure if it is the right move with 2 young children. We are both active LDS members and I am glad to hear that there is a good branch showing and participation. If you have the time I would love to ask you some questions via email. My email is email@example.com. Thanks so much
Thanks for reading our blog! We love it here and would love to answer your questions.