Nothing can prepare you for the birth of your first child. You can go to all the prenatal classes you like, read the books, listen to the experts’ horror stories about 50-hour labour. I’m sorry, it won’t do you any good.
Don’t get me wrong, having children is one of the most rewarding things ever. To be able to sculpt a human life; name them; mould them morally and ethically; educate them; teach them songs and have them wear your team’s colours. There’s nothing like it.
I don’t want to start telling you how great my kids are, how little I sleep, how little money I have left once we’ve shelled out for all the paraphernalia. You’ve heard it all before, and to guys without kids it becomes background noise.
If you’re looking for tips on how to stop kids screaming from the pain of colic (put thick books under two of the legs of their cot and prop the kid at an angle) this isn’t the blog for you.
The things you need to know, but they don’t tell you are:
- You will not go to the cinema, gigs or the footy for a long time, unless you have a very understanding partner and a reliable babysitter (if you can afford a babysitter)
- You will not buy any clothes for yourself again
- Baby formula costs more than gold, or printer ink
- You will start taking pride in how fast you can change a nappy
- You will not get a full night’s sleep for the next two years. You will get a brief respite, then it will start again at 4 years
- You will start complaining about the price of childcare centres
- You will start wondering why you don’t own a chain of childcare centres
- There’s a really good chance you will know all of the Wiggles’ back catalogue word-perfect in six months and you will probably catch yourself humming “Big Red Car” or “I’m Dorothy the Dinosaur” at inopportune moments
- You will start complaining about the price of nappies
- You will not have sex for a long time
- Everything will be your fault. Every. Single. Thing. Get used to it
From the list above, there is one point that will surely stand out.
Your partner will be tired. She will probably have had to clean up vomit or something worse daily. Neither of you will have slept in a long time. All your alone time, if you get any, will be spent talking about the kids or dosing before the next onslaught.
So, getting a good seeing to will be the last thing on her agenda. Many new mums prefer a good cup of tea or uninterrupted sleep in the early months. Horrifically, I know this because “Practical Parenting” magazine have taken over from “FourFourTwo” and “Rugby League Week” in the Conqueror household.
The moment of clarity for one of my single mates came when we were out with a few other new dads celebrating the safe arrival of my first born, four-and-a-bit years ago.
Big Dave was complaining how his wife’s libido had gone the way of the dodo and said that if it wasn’t for RedTube and other internet porn, he would have gone into the nearest McDonald’s and killed everyone.
My childless mate rang me the next day and said after seeing all the Government ads for STIs, and all the MTV 16 and Pregnant-type shows, this one sentence was the most effective birth control he had ever heard.