We’re all given plenty of advice when parenthood beckons, whether we ask for it or not. “Remember to buy this, watch out for that, never let your baby play with those….” But beyond all the usual well-meaning advice, there are many smaller, trivial aspects of parenthood that most people don’t discover until they have their little bundle of joy on their lap. Some are practical, some are whimsical, but none of them crossed our mind before having children. Here, then, are 23 things we only learned after becoming parents...
1. The first time you use these, it’s pure terror.
2. Changing a boy’s nappy is ten times more perilous than changing a girl’s nappy. Think escaped fire hose.
3. Keep a sieve in the bathroom. Trust me on this one.
4. Don’t bother getting your carpets changed. They’ll be covered in spills, bodily fluids and an acreage of toys for the next 10 years (at least).
5. Your need to have a shower rises just as your freedom to take one diminishes.
6. I know we all like to grumble that things were ‘better in our day’, but modern kids’ TV is genuinely brilliant. This is the golden age. Enjoy it together.
7. Forget expensive, complicated toys. Stickers are the most precious objects a child can possess.
8. You will find yourself cursing at press-studs on a daily basis.
9. Don’t go overboard buying a ton of baby clothes and toys. You’ll probably find you end up with way more than you need, gifted from friends, relatives and neighbours.
10. Instead, make sure you’ve got plenty of stackable boxes and other capacious containers. You’ll need them.
11. Never, ever leave the home without a change of clothes for baby. They can sense unpreparedness.
12. Delve into your bag and you will always find loose raisins - even if you already did this only a day or two before.
13. Expect to do a load of laundry every day, especially once they’re toddling.
14. You need to add at least 20 minutes to your getting-ready time in all situations. You will still be late.
15. Friends with kids will accurately tell you that your social life will vanish overnight. What they don’t say is that your ‘alone time’ will also disappear. Reading a book, watching a film or just relaxing for a bit becomes all-but-impossible with most newborns and toddlers. Sorry.
16. You’re about to find yourself on first-name terms with 23 anthropomorphic rabbits, 19 bears, several families of pigs and at least one sentient snowman. Roll with it.
17. Baked bean juice (or any tomato-based sauce) and white vest tops do not a happy combination make. If toddler won’t wear a bib, then take the vest off for meals.
18. Honesty, changing nappies isn’t all that grim. 95% of the time.
19. When choosing which days to put your child in nursery, try to avoid Mondays. You’ll probably be charged for Bank Holidays (usually Mondays) even though the nursery won’t open. Them’s the breaks.
20. You CAN have too much Lego.
21. Some parents will tell you that your worries begin once the baby learns to crawl. There’s some truth in that, but the scariest stage comes a few months later, when they learn to climb. Suddenly, your most important toddler-proofing (stair gate, side of cot) becomes a challenge.
22. Controversial one: The original Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh stories have not aged well. I wouldn’t bother.
23. If you wear glasses, make sure you have an old, cheap pair you don’t care too much about. Baby will grab them. All. The. Time.
Did this ring true? Forward the article to any friends and family who are about to embark on the great adventure of parenthood.
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