If you are currently childless, these symptoms will not apply to you. But have a read anyway in order to familiarise yourself with what you may face in the future. If you have children, I am giving you a knowing stare.
You know. I know. We understand.
You’re always tired
You’re so tired. Not “out all night” tired. More like jet-lagged. You know, where you come back from some far-flung exotic destination and you sleep for 20 hours straight. That kind of tired. Except you don’t have the luxury of a 20-hour kip. You’re up in three hours because crying, uniforms and lunches.
You only wear mildly dodgy clothes
Your definition of “clean clothes” has changed. They don’t have to be washed. Or ironed. (Ironed! Ha ha!) They can have some baby spew on them but no poo. Well, maybe a little poo. It’s grand. In fact, this applies to you as much as it does your clothes. Personal hygiene is a long-forgotten luxury.
You are constantly refereeing
If you are blessed to have more than one child, you get a set of black sports clothes and a whistle from the government. You complete a distance learning FÁS course in conflict management and, hey presto, you’re a referee! Your children are always out to get each other. You have to protect the peace. Watch out for underhanded tactics, such as, “he fell onto my fist with his face!” , or “she started it!” and, “I think he got into the washing machine and closed the door himself.”
You eat toast for dinner
You choose the freshest ingredients, low in sugar and sodium and rich in phytoproteins and antioxidants. You carefully cultivate a healthy, balanced meal, freeze it in controlled portions (in sterilised containers) and painstakingly reheat them. These nutritionally perfect masterpieces are served up to your offspring, who show no respect and mash them into tables, sofas and hair or, worse, give them to the dog. You, on the other hand, eat the heel of a sliced pan with no butter, and that cup of coffee you made at 10am. Hmmm. It’s brown AND cold. Yum.
You drive a mobile playpen
What do you want? A coupé? A coupé cabriolet? No. You will have a car with many seats; with room for strollers, scooters, bikes, nappy bags, dogs and other people’s kids. With a roof box; with ISOFIX all over the place; with very little style; with absolutely zero sports pedigree. You will get looked at when you stop at traffic lights. And not by the hottie strolling past. The admiring glances will come from other parents, who see you went for the sliding door and in-roof DVD player. They are impressed. Nobody else is.
Recognise any of these? Congratulations. You are a parent.
And you have my sympathy.
I am David Zachary John Moore. I am married to Tracy (who used to be Velcro Girl on 2Phat). We have four kids: Andrew is five, Samuel is nearly three, Nina and Anna, the babies, are twins. We have a dog called Lorna, a lurcher we rescued in 2005. She can leap a nine-foot wall in one go. I am tired.