They say life changes when you become a parent. I always wondered what they meant by that, I assumed it was some deep and profound change in your relationship with the world because you were now completely responsible for a life other than your own. Something unreachable for a non parent. I’ve been a parent now for nearly four years, I won’t claim to be a great parent, I’m not. However I do think I’ve got a bit of a handle on it, I roughly know what this parenting thing is about and I am pretty sure I know how life has changed. I got it in a flash of insight as I was picking up food off the floor – a half chewed, thoroughly masticated and slobbered on crust which I’d just stood on.
So here’s how life changes when you become a parent- you pick up food off the floor, lots of it pretty much after every time they eat. You get sneezed and snotted on and you get to clean off of you and everything else pretty much every imaginable body fluid. You get intimately involved with another humans bowel movements- I’ve lost count of the number of times in which I’ve ended up, due to some mishap or another, wearing another persons poo. You find yourself looking forward to reading “Where Is The Green Sheep” even though you know it word for word. You have locks on cupboards and you worry about cars and dogs and cats and strangers and pretty much anything that is bigger than a cardboard box and sharper than a ball and lots of things in between. A short trip to the shops becomes a major planning exercise and has to be strategically approached, packed for and executed. Your friends only see you in the hours of daylight, if they see you at all, and you always look like you’ve had about four hours of sleep - probably because that’s all the sleep you got. And here’s the real kicker- after you’ve been a parent for a while you think that all of that is normal, that every-one else is doing the same.
OK and life profoundly alters in deep and meaningful ways which no non parent could ever understand.