When it comes to readying yourself for parenthood, there’s an avalanche of advice out there – billions of blogs, boat-loads of books and probably even a brutal SAS bootcamp in the Brecon Beacons – all designed with new dads in mind. But nothing – nothing – can prepare you for that post tea-and-toast moment on the maternity ward, when the awesome feeling of newdadness hits home.
From that point onwards, you are learning on the job – the good, the bad and the smelly. On a regular basis you’ll discover something new about being a dad that nobody told you before. So here are just a few of those things you’ll recognise along the way…
You will spend 80 per cent of your time picking things up
Whether it’s carrots off the floor, colds off your offspring, or nappies from a 24-hour supermarket, you will never be as physically strained (or emotionally rewarded) in all your life. And while that might not sound that great, it actually does wonders for your stamina. A new-found agility for catching falling foods, combined with being able to survive on just a few hours’ sleep, makes for something akin to a superhuman.
Baby cinema is the best cinema
There’s a secret cinema club where screaming, chucking food around and going to the toilet in the aisles is allowed – and that’s just the dads (arf!). But seriously, parent-and-baby movie screenings can be found in a town centre near you and are a great shared experience for new mums and dads, with a chance to maybe even finish a whole film, too! Plus, most chains offer free coffee and cake, both of which you will be consuming on an industrial scale in your new, baby-ruled life.
Raisins are life
A new dad is packing an average of six boxes of raisins about his person at any one time. When all other diplomatic means of peacekeeping have failed, raisins are the (fruity) last resort. And boy, do they work. Whether it’s a meltdown in Morrisons or a train-carriage tantrum, rest assured that the raisins are on your side. (And in your pockets… And in your hair…)
You will never have a hangover
That’s a lie – you will have exactly one hangover, and then never suffer one again. Being a new dad changes your taste from nights on the town to a pining for pizza on the sofa with your partner. You will find yourself shunning Saturday nights out and relishing your new role as a domestic god – teething crystals in one hand, slow-cooked stew being stirred with the other.
Shared Parental Leave is the future
When it comes down to it, the one thing nobody can prepare you for is just how quickly everything passes by. You will want to make the most of every mid-morning nap, 5am feed and afternoon stroll, and Shared Parental Leave is the best way to do that. You can find out more online (as soon as you figure out where your little friend has hidden your smartphone…)
Words: Si Cunningham