When programmes celebrating the past decades come up on television, the things that make me ooh and aah are often the brand names on the shop shelves of bygone shops; products in packaging once so familiar, which reprise in more modern form in our cupboards now. Custard powder packets, golden syrup, soaps and cleaning products, foods and more. We talk about brand awareness now like it is a new and clever thing but we all have allegiances and alliances with products from our childhood. I have cooking ingredients I would always pick up for preference from things I saw in my Nana's house, reinforced in our own cupboards or bathroom sink side by purchasing done by my parents. I thought today when Max brought home one brand of temporarily required disposable nappies that we are 'not a x brand family' and wondered why he had chosen that over the other brand. (It will have been cost; he cannot be influenced by anything other than an offer!)
My great brand loyalty though, the one I know was never really in question, comes down to a pretty personal product. All through my childhood, the bathroom shelf held a packet of Lil-lets tampons. My mum used that brand and when the time came, provided me with them too. I used them from the very second time I needed them and never really even considered alternatives. What my mum used, I used and I simply assumed they were the best and the default. In fact, I have a slightly bizarre conflation in my head between the other brand and the USA and all pad brands meaning I have to roller skate. Such is the power of image and advertising; for me, I simply settled with the notion that Lil-Let's were the default British best and that was that.
Obviously my brushes with home educating crunchy types means I've flirted with all other sorts of San-pro since, with rather limited success. Nothing makes moon cup use less appealing than a complicated conversation about it with 3 wide eyed toddlers who you had to take into the public toilet cubicle with you 😆 I did try, but I think in this, I am my mother's 'not as crunchy as I could be' daughter.
With four daughters in the house, who may only forgive me for this post because they got sent lovely nail varnish so I would write it, the sanitary protection question is going to come up a lot. Glancing over specifics, I only just got my head around the fact that I no longer had babies in the house just in time. We stocked up a little bag full of all styles and types (I read a magazine article of ceremonies to celebrate the menarche with your daughters and decided they would have me put to death if I even tried it) and dealt with it all in practical and prosaic fashion. I was determined all conversations would be open, I'd be there in unembarrassed fashion for help, support and commiserations. Little bag was stacked with every brand, type and style I could think of…. And she chose the same brand that my mum and I had used before her, though in different form. I think I might need to get out more but this pleases me 😉 There's a continuity.
I was intensely anxious as a teen about my period, morbidly afraid someone would know, that my dad would find out, that my younger sister would ask me, that something would leak or betray me. I was beset by stress every month with it. I so wanted to make sure my girls had less of that and so periods and puberty have always been openly discussed here. One thing I tried to encourage from the outset was openness and avoiding embarrassment. I could never have asked my dad to get me my supplies and I tried to make sure the girls really 'got' that Max understands periods and is not phased by them, that they can tell him, ask for him to buy their provisions, or demand chocolate, in whatever order. (It amuses me that this does happen; he never questions a chocolate request 😉 ) We made sure there were books available, that questions were always answered from the very littlest age and the knock on effect is that now all of them are very comfortable with discussing and expecting this stage in their life.
It felt like a big deal, ushering the first teen into the family and I remember thinking a long time ago I'd have to do it four times. Turns out I don't really, the hive mind is at work 😆 It's all been a good deal less stressful so far than I imagined. In fact, if it wasn't for them messing with my cycle and sending me into panics every month, I'd say it had been a piece of cake. 😆 I think I pulled off cool mum without becoming crushingly embarrassing hippy crunchy talk about periods and feelings mum. (Someone tell me I did?)
Lil-Let's have brought out a new teen pack full of samples to help girls find what suits them and added a teen area to their website full of extra, useful information. We discovered their new pads a while ago and really like them, far more comfy, discreet and convenient than anything else we'd found before.
Since you probably don't want a picture of a pack of pads or a roller skating girl, I'll leave you with the sparkly nails we put on Fran this week. We discovered nail caviar, thanks to the lovely goody bag they sent us in exchange for this post… Unfortunately, we also discovered a new brand of chocolate 🙂
So tell me, did your mum get this bit all right, all wrong and did you do any better? Do you wish those conversations and moments had happened differently? Is having another fully functioning woman in the house better or worse than you expected? And would your daughters kill you if you wrote a blog post about periods? (I did ask mine first!)
PS I'm done now, Max gets to do the awkward conversations with Bene. And the standing up weeing stuff.
PPS I'm so not done, am I? This was the easy bit.
Going to need more chocolate.