We’ve heard of a few people recently who have just celebrated new arrivals, or are soon to enter the world of parenting.
It got me thinking – what’s changed since we became parents? What pearls of wisdom can I impart?
Here’s my take on what you can expect when you’re expecting…and ‘birth day’ arrives:
That spare room of junk? That’s called the baby’s room, now. That patch of grass at the bottom of your garden you’d allocated for a man cave? Sandpit and slide.
In our pokey one-bed flat, we had no such luxuries. Instead, the two pictures below sum up the situation quite well.
Before: acres of room for a microwave and dodgy-looking spilt sauce. After: a milk-making gadget, a vomit-producing monster and two parents who constantly buy stuff that can only be nuked, only to return home and remember microwaves were so last year.
You suddenly ‘find God’
A few years down the line, you’re going to have to think about schools. When we’ve been house hunting, it’s been on our minds. One place we looked had two schools nearby, both with religious twangs to them.
Annoyingly, the religious ones are often pretty good and if you want to stand the best chance of getting your little darlings in, many will look favourably upon regular church attendance.
I certainly don’t blame parents who suddenly decide that Sunday mornings are now church time. Frankly, it’s a pain I will avoid like the plague (sorry, Albie, even if it’s the choice between ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Inadequate’!) – but we all know a few dedicated parents who have put in the graft at God’s house to stand their offspring in the best stead.
A phone full of poo pics
Remember those days when your phone was sacred because of all those saucy Snapchats you’d rather others didn’t see? No, me either…
More of a thing for those of us with medically challenged babies, this one, but as a parent, odds are your reluctance to pass your phone around is because you’ve been keeping a picture diary of concerning nappy contents. Your Facebook timeline is also going to be full of other kids’ dumps, too. It’s like a personal ‘ratemypoo.com’ and nearly as weird.
Dr Google is your new best friend
You’ll be the talk of the town in the early days as everyone and their nan clamours to get an eyeful, cuddle and kiss with your newborn. It won’t be long before the novelty wears off, though, and parental responsibilities might initially limit the social credits you can claim back from your other half.
Have no fear! You now have a new best mate and they’ll never leave your side. Dr Google – a mobile phone with absolutely no medical expertise but a whole load of information you’ll believe more than your actual GP – will be at your beck and call as soon as ‘mini you’ develops the slightest sniffle. It’s not leaving to go clubbing without you! This leads seamlessly on to…
Bossing the glass test
Any skin complaint will be glass tested, glass tested and glass tested again until you’re 100 per cent sure it’s disappeared. Even then, you’ll still need Dr G to give you a second opinion, as well as the Facebook medical posse.
Just make sure you have a decent glass on standby. For more about the glass test and meningitis, see here.
Pavement parking is a thing
Social media is awash with people moaning about stupid parking and before I had a baby, I tended to look at the 100th pavement parking post of the day and wonder what the fuss was about.
Back then I was carefree, slender and wasn’t pushing a hard-to-fold contraption with the approximate value of a Porsche around.
Now, even I can barely squeeze between motor and brick wall myself, let alone with a sprog transporter – and those idiots who parked there are now the worst people on Earth. I’m going to spend the rest of the day on social media telling everyone just how inconsiderate they are.
When your baby is encased behind who knows how many layers of human tissue (only the people who take their notepads to parent classes know such useless trivia), you’re panicking about whether it’s breathing, prodding it every ten minutes with the handheld doppler everyone told you not to buy but you shelled out for, anyway. You got it cheap, you’re ‘not using it much’, so they can all do one.
Next thing you know, you’re flogging the doppler on Facebook to another poor worrier because your baby is home for the first time and the inconsolable screeching suggests probing it might no longer be necessary.
The first few days are all about finding your feet. Unless you’re like those annoying people who pick up a golf club and instantly rival Tiger Woods, chances are you’ll not have a clue what you’re doing. This might stump you.
Everyone you see will say that you’ll get used to it in a few days. Then, they’ll leave and you’ll be texting the next person to come round for a visit, so if anything goes wrong, you have some backup from that other friend who doesn’t have a baby, hence their keenness to hire yours out for an hour or so. Safety in numbers.
They’re right. Eventually, whether it takes 24 hours, a week or a few months, you will settle into your new routine like it’s brushing your teeth or taking the bins out. Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than that but the same rules apply.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and look to others who have been in the same situation for guidance. It’s unlikely to be a silly question – and if it is, you can style it out and blame hormones, or sleep deprivation.
You can debunk the horror stories
The British national sport when it comes to weddings is to speculate when the bride and groom will be having a baby, if they’re not already past that stage.
Equally, when someone announces a pregnancy, the standard line references the sleep you definitely won’t be getting. It’s customary to follow this up with a horror story of a ‘never again’ labour, how much of a devil your delight will eventually become or something else of equal positivity. We all like to have a bit of fun!
For some reason, you rarely hear a positive story. Parenthood has been nothing but a joy, minus the odd sicky spell! Yes, our journey was at times stressful – and perhaps one of the more unusual routes to birth – but it was all fine in the end.
Through this blog I like to highlight the humorous moments we’ve had as parents.
The sicks, the poo rivers and the occasional medical blip are usually as horrendous it gets. They’re not meant to put you off, merely highlight the everyday randomness parenting throws at you. I hope we also share an awful lot of our forever memories.
You have an excuse for poor fantasy football scoring
I lost my lead in the office league soon after Albie was born. The two were definitely related – it wasn’t that I’d blown all my transfers weeks earlier!
Part of a community
It’s not always easy as a new dad. You can get the feeling that most places you take your baby to socialise are mum orientated, even if they’re not.
But since starting this blog I’ve had the chance to network with a whole new group of like-minded dads and instantly felt part of something I never thought I’d have a chance to, given I work long hours and won’t be doing as much of the daytime parenting stuff.
Let me know what’s changed for you below 😊