There are many tell-tale signs that you have become a parent. Some are obvious. Yes, that small human being that’s constantly hanging around you now is your child. And some that may have happened subtly over time. Like the increase of toys scattered on the lounge room floor and the ever-growing dark circles under your eyes.
We have certainly noticed a lot of changes in our lives since becoming parents. And we’re only six months in!
So here’s what I’ve found.
You know you’re a parent when…
- Tired is the new normal. You can’t actually remember what it feels like to have a night of uninterrupted sleep. The next time you get to do it might be years away, but you know you will never take a full night sleep for granted again.
- There is a mini, makeshift bed on the floor next to yours. Though it may only act as a deterrent and it may only last for a few hours before they inevitably end up in your bed anyway, it’s good while it lasts.
- 6.30am is now considered a sleep in. What happened to those people that used to sleep in til 10am on Sunday mornings?? Now by 7am your child has kicked you in the ribs, punched you in face and pulled your hair until you gave in and got up. And by 10am you’ve managed to feed and clothe everyone, do two loads of laundry, wash up all the bottles, change clothes again due to a vomit or poop explosion, sing ‘five little Ducks’ three times and if you’re lucky, get ready to leave the house.
- Coffee and wine are practically food groups. Or insert other caffeinated / alcohol laden vices here.
- Kids shows now grace your television screen for several hours a day. And you sing along with all of the theme songs! Those things are catchy as hell and you find yourself humming them long after the show finished.
- Having someone else’s vomit or poop or wee or snot or dribble on you is now commonplace and no big deal.
- You narrate EVERYTHING all whilst referring to yourself in the third person. ‘Mummy is just going to go to the toilet and then I’ll be right back to pick you up ok?’
- You now talk to your spouse through baby talk with the baby. ‘Mummy thinks Daddy should go and change your nappy so Mummy can have a rest’.
- Your camera roll that was once filled with photos of food, travel snaps and drunken selfies is now full of photos of your kid. Often multiples of the almost exact same photo!
- You find yourself suddenly much more tolerant of other people’s children. That toddler throwing themselves on the ground at the shops is no longer the spectacle it once was. Instead you are just thankful it’s not your kid this time as you give the parents a knowing smile.
And, for good measure, number 11 is that despite all this you wouldn’t have it any other way. Even on the toughest days a smile, giggle or cuddle from the small human makes being a parent totally awesome.
A friend said to me recently that of all the people she knows who have children, none of them have ever said ‘Oh, don’t do it, it’s not really worth it’.
I was oddly comforted as I realised she was right. I too have never heard any parents say it wasn’t worth it.
So while it might be bloody hard at times, anything worth doing usually is.