Becoming a parent is the most unequivocal life-changing event that most of us will ever encounter. Our bodies were designed to be pregnant for 9 months for a reason; to give us time to get to grips with what is about to happen and to make sure that we can get as much sleep as we possibly can before the big event. But no amount of parenting books or ante-natal classes can ever really prepare us for what’s about to come literally kicking and screaming into our lives. So what can we expect?
Your left shoulder will constantly be covered in the remnants of baby snot. Yep it’s true every tìme you look down you’ll see the tell-tale crusty white marks that look like a snail has tangoed all over your shoulder. Obviously you’ll realise at the most impapropriate times like when you are in a very important business meeting or when you bump into your local priest while you’re still wearing your pyjama bottoms, doing the shopping in last night’s makeup. Smooth.
You won’t die from sleep deprivation but it will change your genetic makeup. Despite the “I can’t do this” and “what did I do in a past life to deserve this?” comments, apparently sleep deprivation won’t kill you, or at least the 20 minutes of sleep you do manage per night is enough to keep you functioning. Just. But that doesn’t mean that you will function like a real human being does. Saucepan in the fridge? Normal. Putting baby in the bath still fully dressed? Yep, it’s gonna happen. Spending an hour looking for the house keys that you’re holding in your hand? Welcome to parenthood.
How loud silence is. Now this might sound like an odd one and perhaps slightly paradoxical. After all, when “The wheels on the bus” is playing for the 564th time we will all
pray beg do a weird tribal dance for just a nanosecond of silence, right? Of course. But when you do manage to wangle a half hour of silence (cue the mother-in-law) after the first 5 minutes of euphoric smiling, it will suddenly dawn on you how eerie silence actually is. How deafening the empty void that is the baby’s nursery is, when your little monkey isn’t banging her toys against the window. Disturbingly quiet you might say….
When you have couple time you will inevitably end up talking about your little ones (or poring over photos of them) Like the previous point, finding a balance in your life is crucial, as any parent is sure to tell you. Couples need time out. Not just for their relationship’s sake but also for their sanity. Adopting baby voices and conducting imaginary conversations with Mr Quackers is going to kill the romance let’s face it, so it’s crucial that every once in a while you get a quiet, romantic date night. Putting on make up, digging out your high heels and pretending that life is still civilised is the perfect tonic to deal with the stresses of parent life. But there will come a point during the evening when your thoughts turn to the kids and you’ll both get a little glazy-eyed as you recount a certain hilarious story, and I must show you this photo, you’ll love it…
Time accelerates at an almost unreal speed. One minute you’re giving birth and the next you’re attending a university graduation ceremony. And I can’t have been sleeping…
They will expose the very worst side of you. Whether it’s snapping at your partner because you’re exhausted or whether you stand with your jaw hitting the floor as your toddler parrots back the last swear word which inadvertently left your lips, children will reveal all of your worst habits that you’d done so well to keep under wraps!
You will develop love of epic proportions. Nothing comes close to the love you feel for your child. You may think you know what love is, you may think you understand the definition of selfless but the moment that cute little purple screaming thing with the old man face is places into your arms everything else goes out the window. The meaning of life suddenly comes in to focus and you will do anything and everything humanly possible to love and care for that tiny little thing. Every day is a lesson learned and I for one am the most eager of students.