Yes, you know the usual stuff – sleepless nights, so amazing to be a dad, blah blah blah. This is the stuff which you never thought about!
1. Airport lines are longer for parents
You’ve managed to survive the 11 hour flight, baby/toddler has charmed everyone on the plane, but is now tired and cranky – thank god the flight is over, right? No! Now you have to wait in a queue at passport control – while all your baby wants to do is run around/sleep/eat! While you cast envious looks at the childless travellers breezing through the electronic gates, your cranky baby is now setting off all the other cranky babies in the family queue. Which d***head decided this was the way to greet families at an airport!
2. I will blub at anything and everything
It’s like having a child has turned on my emotional switch. Anything relating to children will start me welling up. It’s perfectly defensible to start welling up when you are watching “The Cry” (a BBC drama about child abduction), but it becomes much harder to explain (and hide!) when you start welling up because Nemo’s father is separated from Nemo, or when a (fully grown) dad is telling their son (yes, also fully grown) how much they love them at the end of a silly film. What has happened to me!
3. I eat double what I used to
Everyone tells you about the sleepless nights, the less socialising etc. but no-one mentions the fact that you end up eating for two! When my toddler eats, it’s so touch-and-go. So I have to pretend (!) to eat with them. – meal 1. After 45 minutes of eating and distracting said toddler, they inevitably haven’t eaten half of their food…waste not want not – meal 2. Then I have my dinner once toddler is asleep – meal 3. Repeat for lunch and dinner, and pretty soon everyone is starting to refer to you as fat daddy!
4. Planned relaxation is a thing…and clockwatching takes over your life
Pre-baby, a relaxing afternoon is not planning anything and being spontaneous (let’s be honest: napping while watching tv). Post-baby, the “relaxing afternoon” starts when baby goes to sleep and goes like this: “baby is asleep. Okay, I have 2 hours, have to make most of it. Put washing on. Oh god, I have 1 hour 45 mins to relax. Have to make most of it. Make lunch for yourself. Oh god, down to 1 hour 15 mins. Watch tv. Only 45 minutes left until baby wakes. 30mins left – oh no, hope baby doesn’t wake early!” Relaxing has never been so stressful!
5. The big one! My one room in the house is no longer my own…
Yes…the toilet has been taken over. No more reading the news (okay, laughing at stupid stuff on youtube/twitter) while I’m on the bog. Who knew that toddlers don’t abide by normal rules of social interaction! Toddler will bowl through the door as if you aren’t sitting with your arse hanging out with “daddy…daddy…what are you doing”. “Mission impossible” should have been Tom Cruise trying to get a toddler to leave daddy alone as he goes to the potty! And who knew toddlers could be so persistent. They literally will not stop until you engage with them, and then….well, what’s the point of being on the bog!