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Thirteen months into parenthood now and while it’s certainly been an experience, there are a number of extra special ways that becoming a parent has definitely enriched my life.
My wife and I used to be quite indecisive: never knowing where to go for dinner, what do this weekend, when to go away on holiday, how to spend all of our disposable income. But now, we never have to worry about those things because there’s no time to even see each other, let alone scrape together hours, days or even weeks to spend on ourselves! Now all we have to worry about is is the child breathing? Has he been fed? Have I had a shower this week? And is there some wine in the fridge we can neck before going to bed at 8:30 p.m.? Also, it doesn’t matter if you do miraculously decide to do something together because literally all of your money is spent paying for someone else to look after your child during the week so that you can sit at your office desk and watch them on the nursery webcam.
More Time To Think
Now that you’re never asleep because your child thinks that midnight/2 a.m./3:30 a.m./4 a.m. are acceptable times to scream/poop/vomit/cry/get up, and when your child is asleep you’re lying in bed awake literally waiting for them to wake up, you’ll have more time to just think. To ponder the mysteries of the universe. Like, “What the f—k is wrong with him? Why won’t he sleep?” and “Seriously, oh my f—ing god, why won’t you go the f—k to sleep, it’s been 2 hours?!” or “Do we have any wine still left in the fridge that we/he can neck?” and of course, “When will death come?”
Skip Awkward Conversations
I always hated having to make small talk. It was always difficult when I was out, with friends, in a bar, having fun, drinking glasses of smoky whiskey, and I’d find myself having to make new and interesting conversation with someone I’d never met before. Now that I’m a parent though, not only am I never in those difficult scenarios (because I’m picking food/poop off my kitchen floor), but the only people outside of work I meet are people with kids and we invariably end up bonding over our shared misery and reminiscing about how fun our lives used to be. Yeah, suck it social anxiety!
Get Really Good At Multitasking
Why enjoy doing one thing well when you can give yourself a stinking headache by attempting to do multiple things poorly at once? Now I’ve learned to entertain a child on the floor with just my foot while trying to throw something moderately edible together in the kitchen in between putting away the never-ending supply of dirty bottles all at once. Or balancing a child on my knee and attempting to brush his teeth while singing Incy Wincy F—cking Spider for the millionth time that day because literally nothing else will make him open his mouth, even though he refuses to do so anyway and you end up mostly just brushing his gums and lips and a bit of ear lobe. Taking your time to do one task well without being interrupted every few minutes is completely behind me, thank god!
You’re Never Alone
When you’re lying next to your partner in bed, awake, while the child refuses to sleep; or staring blankly at the TV while the child crawls around on the floor because you’ve gone numb after 3 hours of CBeebies and are now pondering how the f—k Postman Pat still has a job since he’s so incompetent, or fantasizing about punching Bing the giant moron rabbit right in his big moron face; or when you’re trying to take a speed shit while the child is tugging on the trousers and underpants unceremoniously gathered around your ankles because if you leave your child alone he might randomly choke and die; you become all too aware that you are never, ever, ever, alone.
Bill Hinchen is a biologist, science writer, mediocre weightlifter and grump.