…and that’s whatever your child decides they want it to be! Clearly The Levellers never had young children when they sang ‘there’s only one way of life and that’s your own’ in the 90s! If they did they would have been far too busy changing nappies, clearing up mess and chasing a toddler for them to have had time to write fiddle-based, cardigan-wearing protest songs.
As soon as Mr or Mrs Baby emerges from the gooey darkness into the cold, bright light of day your life necessarily changes quite a bit. So here is a list of things I now do more of, followed by a list of things I now do less. Because lists are epic fun.
Things I Do More Of
1. The Internet
Either to look for parenting advice or to make contact with other adult humans through social media! I can even recall reading an article on the colours and consistency of baby poo, as if that was a perfectly normal thing to be doing with my time. Admittedly at times my GCSEs felt like I was studying shit, but this was literally studying shit. And out of choice.
2. Attend My Local Co-Op
When I used to hear the adverts on TV for the Co-Op I was baffled by why you would want to go to a shop with choice so limited that you would have to go there on a daily basis. ‘Little and Often’ they used to say. ‘Bollocks To That’ I used to think. Let’s just go to Sainsbury’s late at night and buy 2 weeks of shopping in one go so as to avoid the pain of shopping again for a while.
Now, however, a trip to the Co-Op is a daily excitement – an excuse to actually leave the house – something to plan the day around. Ten minute walk followed by the daily grind of buying the same tedious items and walking back home again. Honestly it’s more exciting than it sounds.
On second thoughts, nope, it’s just shit.
3. Watch Nick Jr / CBEEBIES
Unsurprisingly I never watched a great deal of toddler TV before Joshua arrived. I didn’t even really do Disney films or anything animated. But now my days are filled with Peppa’s endearingly bossy nature, Nanny Plum’s comical genius, Marshall’s cute clumsiness, the abject misery of In the Shite Garden and the cold, dead, Satanic, deer eyes of Dora The Wanky Explorer.
I’ve always enjoyed a good hug, but have generally never felt the need to wrestle. However, since the little one arrived I’ve done a lot of wrestling. Wrestling with him to put his clothes on. Wrestling him still during nappy changes. Wrestling to get him back in from the garden. Wrestling him into bed. It’s like a miniature, horribly unfit version of the WWE.
5. Play With Toys / Pretend to Drink Tea
I’ve never been a tea drinker – but recently I have developed a fake tea addiction, whereby the little one brings me a little red plastic teacup and watches me pretending to drink from it in delight. I also went through a stage of pretending to eat a lot of plastic macaroons, having previously managed to avoid ever eating a macaroon in real life.
6. Wake up feeling like I’ve died
However many hours I sleep now I still wake up feeling like I haven’t slept in weeks. Admittedly it’s moved on a long way from the abject exhaustion of his first 6 months but I’m still exclusively knackered!
7. Urinating With An Audience
I have always tended to urinate alone – maybe that’s unusual but I rarely, if ever, invited anyone else in to stare at me, say ‘willy’ and flush the chain and close the lid whilst I was still pissing. Bit different now though…
Things I Do Less Of Now
1. Watch adult TV.
By adult TV I’m not talking about ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ by the way – just routine dramas and comedy programmes. Channels that are on the first few pages of the Virgin TV guide, for example. Now our adult TV watching is crammed in between his bed time and our bed time, both of which vary depending on circumstances. Some days we just give up.
2. Spontaneous Things
‘Let’s pop out to the pub’ said no parent ever. It’s either now plan, plan, plan or don’t bother. Cinema has been replaced by Netflix. Restaurants by take-aways. Nights out with friends by social media. Pubs by bottles of spirits.
3. Watch / Play Football
My other half might not agree, but I do less of both since the little one arrived. Between working opposite shifts now and the need to arrange our parents to look after him in order for either of us to do anything sporty it has become a hell of a lot more effort. So now my main exercise is my fingers tapping away on this blog!
4. Foreign Holidays
We always loved a nice trip overseas each year for a bit of all inclusive relaxation, cocktails, buffet food and sight-seeing. This year we did 4 nights in Center Parcs, which although perfectly pleasant was about as relaxing as standing naked in a pool of piranhas.
5. Shopping For Pleasure
We used to quite enjoy trips to The Oracle, West Quay and the Outlet Village in Swindon. Now those trips consist of running into about two shops, picking the first thing you see off the rack and hoping it fits whilst running after the little one.
6. See The Carpet
Although we’ve never been neat freaks we could always generally see our carpet in the lounge. Now you can just about make it out under a pile of plastic crap!
7. See My Other Half
Working mainly opposite shifts for childcare reasons is generally not conducive to seeing Sarah as much as we used to! We can literally go days now without seeing each other as one of us will generally be asleep when the other one leaves or comes home, depending on the shift! Far from ideal but we still make it work!
So parenthood does change things a touch, but on a scale of 1 to Awesome it’s definitely well towards the top end regardless of the many changes!!