Sunday, 3 July 2011

Being a mum with a 'toyboy' and 2.5 kids - for Mumsnet

My big news this week is that Mumsnet have taken me under their maternal wing as one of their bloggers!

Our new, complicated but happy little family
(ssh, don't tell the kids I've posted this, they'd kill me!)
I feel very honoured to be there, but it also made me reflect on what I could actually offer Mumsnet readers...

I certainly don't consider myself much of a parenting expert. Some years ago I did work for Mother & Baby magazine and I once wrote a book called the First Time Parents Survival Guide - but even then I had to call in my lovely consultant paediatrician friend Cathy Hill, to edit it and ensure that I didn't suggest anything hideously unsafe or downright dangerous!

No, all I can really offer is my own experiences of bringing up my two children, who are now (rather scarily) 14 and 18 years old.. But even then, I have a sneaking suspicion that they have grown into the wonderful people that they are despite of, rather than as a result of, my input.

I've tried to do my best of course, but over the past twelve years they have had to cope with their dad leaving home, their dad coming back, their parents divorcing, living with a single, working mum,  living with a single mum who is dating a much younger man, and then seeing their mum get married for the second time (to said younger man) - plus the numerous associated house moves. It's been rather like living in a bad soap plot at times yet, somehow, they have turned into two happy, loving and sensible teenagers who are genuinely nice to have around.

Ad Man too has had a rather chequered experience of parenting (and now step-parenting) to date, but nevertheless his 12 year old son still wants to make the two hour trip down to us every other weekend, and asks to come away with us in his school holidays. Which I guess all goes to show that, despite our inevitable mistakes and anxieties (and even political pressures), you don't have to be the perfect nuclear family, living in the rose-covered cottage with the picket fence, in order to launch your children successfully into the world.
Demi juggles 'toyboy'
and children

Modern families like ours are extended, complicated and often involve greater organisational ability than the United Nations but, like the United Nations, with a shared aim of co-operation, peace and a fair respect of human rights, we somehow make it work.

So, don't come to this blog if you are hoping for expert advice on parenting. You won't find it here! But do please check in for regular rambling on the ups and downs of living with a 'toyboy' and 2.5 kids.. I can guarantee you will leave feeling happy and smug about your own much more simple, straightforward and successful family life..