Being a parent is both rewarding and completely knackering in equal measure. It’s not only physically draining but it can also turn your brain to complete mush. Here are five things that parents tend to forget:
1) Self consciousness
Being self consciousness can be crippling for some, stopping them from letting loose and chasing their dreams – it’s not a problem for parents who know that, if it’s a choice between a full-on toddler tantrum in the middle of the high street or having strangers stare as you hop from side-to-side, pulling faces and singing songs from the repertoire of Justin from CBeebies at full volume, the latter will always win.
Little one getting bored and throwing everything from the table of a busy cafe on the floor, or Old MacDonald belted out, complete with baby sign gestures for each animal? It’s not even a contest – you’ll never worry about looking like a fool again!
2) What it’s like to walk freely around your house
It’s your house, you’ve been chipping away at that mortgage for years, you finally got round to decorating when you found out that you were expecting (that, or perhaps an appearance on a daytime telly show which will foot the bill, is the only reason that anyone ever decorates), but as soon as baby is here, areas of your home become no-go zones.
Once the child is asleep, anyone who wakes them will – rightly – incur the wrath of their partner, which means that, even if there is something vitally important upstairs, it will have to wait till the morning. Just like the Met Office and the AA might intone gravelly during a blizzard, only venture within the vicinity of the nursery if it is entirely necessary.
3) How to leave the house in five minutes
Before children you could pick up your wallet, grab your keys and phone and be ready to go about your daily routine within the blink of an eye. This is no longer the case.
You have to work out how many meals you will be out of the house for, hunt down the required foodstuffs, find a couple of clean bibs, check for a change of clothes, pick up a packet of wet wipes and ten nappies “just in case”, work out whether you are going to take the pram, stroller, trike or if you’ll carry them in the sling, make sure that they have outdoor clothes, hunt for a missing glove for twenty minutes. And so on…
Three hours later you are good to go, which leads on to…
4) How to pack lightly
You never really care about the capacity of your car’s boot before you have kids – it’s just one of those statistics that you presume auto dealers add in to bewilder you with facts so you don’t notice that it’s the back end of an Escort welded onto a Mini Metro. After kids it is important because every square inch has to be crammed with kid-related paraphernalia – toys, food, more toys, modes of transport, yet more toys, clothes, even more toys, another three changes of clothes, the high chair and not forgetting a final stash of toys.
People brand Skodas and Volkswagens as family cars, but really a Ford Transit would be handier for holidays with the children.
5) The last time you needed an alarm to wake you in the morning
I have been a dad for 17 months. I have yet to set an alarm since then. I have never been late for work.