Parenting 101 with the Penmans
Hello and welcome to the ‘virgin post’ on my new blog, being written from the point of view of a first-time mother. An ‘older’ mother. To twins. Toddler twins. SEND HELP!
You have either:
a) stumbled across this page in an internet search
b) are a Facebook friend of mine, and saw my recent post ‘advertising’ my new blog
c) clicked on the link I cheekily provided to friends, asking them to kindly share with the world
– but no matter how you have ended up here, I am pleased to have you on board.
My previous blog was all about our journey through the harsh world of infertility. These days, the ‘i’ word seldom enters my vocabulary. But I still recall how trying it was, how heartbreaking, how draining, and how emotional that time in our lives was.
And we were extremely lucky. Lucky to find a fantastic IVF clinic, lucky that my husband’s sperm was made of strong stuff, lucky to both be able to work and therefore afford to pay for multiple treatments, and lucky to finally be successful. I know that. And I will never forget that. I had dreamed of being a mother for the longest time. And now I am. And damn, it’s hard!
I think, in hindsight, that I romanticised the concept of having children. Especially after I had tried for so long and lost a few babies along the way. I truly thought I was going to be THE BEST MOTHER EVER. No question about it. I was going to be SO awesome – calm, knowledgeable, emotionally stable, an ‘earth mother’ who carried her breastfeeding twosome strapped to her body in a large, undyed, breathable, hemp fabric wrap.
And I had plans. BIG plans. I would feed my children on organic foods, (after they’d breastfed for at least a year, of course!) mostly fresh fruit and homegrown vegetables. I would limit sweet treats to birthdays and special holidays. I would sew clothes for my offspring. And I would learn to knit so that I could whip them up some Merino wool cold-weather items, while they were napping. I would also use cloth nappies, to do my bit for the environment, and to ensure that my children’s soft, dimply, little bottoms would never experience the pain of chemical nappy rash.
I would teach my children by example, never shouting or losing my temper. I would explain situations to them, clearly and kindly, thereby removing the possibility of any tantrums or upset, eliminating the need for strict discipline. I would make my own play dough and flash cards so that they could be creative and educated. I would ensure they had a solid routine, so that over-tiredness never became an issue. I would be organised. My kids would be polite, smiling, adorable, non-crying, happy little cherubs. All. The. Time.
Turns out that I was totally deluded. Possibly even under the influence of some mind-altering drugs that I don’t recall ingesting. I don’t think I could’ve been more mistaken! Whatever made me think that parenting would be a piece of piss? I’ll tell you. The world at large.
Yes, I am indeed laying blame at the feet of the human race. People procreate. They don’t stop. The true stories of childbirth and parenting are rarely relayed in all their glory. Instead, we are bombarded with photographs of adorable, sleepy-eyed newborns, curled up in the foetal position, making our hearts melt and our ovaries ache. Social media users tend to post ‘happy family’ pictures, as opposed to showing the reality of their lives.
Well, my friends, I pledge to you to tell the truth of it all. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The good, the bad and the ugly. I am prepared to tell you how it really is. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not all bad. It’s amazing. And funny. And it can make your heart physically throb with love for the little beings. And I will be forever grateful for those parts. Because, quite frankly, if it was only sleepless nights, shitty nappies, snotty noses and screaming, it would be a bit of a let-down.
So, hang around, folks. Go on. I dare you! Let the Penman Twins give you a dose of reality. I will share amusing anecdotes, photos, real-life stories, tips and hints, and I will provide honest reviews of products that promise to make our parenting lives easier.