I’ve been a member of the fatherhood club since 11/06/2011, so I’m speaking from a tiny bit of experience. I thought I’d write a guide to all new parents about what to expect, and a few tip I’ve learnt on the inside..

I’ll warn you before you read on, it can be a hectic, non stop thrill ride, But when it’s good it’s great!

So I’ll begin.

1. Bedtime doesn’t actually mean you can sleep.

From day one you and your partner will lose a lot of sleep. You will eventually teach yourself to get forty winks at any given opportunity, but Babies love to wake you from the best sleep you’ve ever had, they also like to do it in a very loud, and abrupt manner. But don’t get too worried this doesn’t last forever, and when they eventually settle you will be clock watching until they wake up again.

2. Your food is not YOUR food!

Generally little ones drink only milk for the first few months, so if you are a skilled, multitasking kind of person then you could easily manage a bottle in one hand and a sandwich in the other. Once the kids get to toddlers they will enjoy your food more than you will. You will feel compelled to sacrifice your perfectly assembled selection of snacks, as this will encourage sharing. Eventually though they will repay the favour, all be it, with a half eaten, still soggy offering.

3. Your clothes become useful.

Everyone loves a great wardrobe, you have your favourite clothes, your best clothes, you also have purposeful clothes, which you wear for DIY or just to relax in. Kids have the amazing ability to differentiate between, brands and price, kind of like a filter button on a shopping website. They will avoid your DIY clothes, and wait patiently for you to put on your best shirt, suit jacket, or most affluent coat. Then they will strike, you can expect to get many bodily fluids on your clothing, normally dribble, often vomit, and regrettably pee.

4. Privacy doesn’t exist.

You have probably been used to getting dressed in private, or using the bathroom in solitude. These luxuries are now gone, you can expect little visitors at any given moment. You should be prepared for questions like “What’s that?” I suggest having a locker full of diverting responses, at least for now. Eventually your kids will learn to respect privacy.

5. You need to man up!

If you’re scared of mess, dirt, spiders, water, heights, or even blood. I would suggest dealing with your issues before they get you into a situation. There would be nothing worse than your little ones running to you for a heroic rescue from a giant, toddler eating, nine legged spider only to be greeted with you jumping to the highest platform to get away from it. Your kids will look to you for bravery. As I’ve found, you as parents, are the first superheroes they will look up to. I’m ‘Pyjama Man‘, in case you were wondering.

6. Be Prepared, for anything.

You will find that no back pack is ever big enough for the things you SHOULD have with you on a day out. You need to be prepared for every eventuality. I suggest, water, food, plasters, spare clothes, wet wipes, a few small toys (cars are good), & waterproofs. I’m sure I’m still missing something. Although you may think all of this is obvious you’ll be surprised how many times I’ve been left stranded in a play park during an epic storm, with a thirsty, hungry, damp, bored, car obsessed son. So I have learnt, I have lived it! Be prepared.

7. Always, always have a camera.

I did think that perhaps I should have included this in number 6, but I thought this needed it’s very own point. Through parenthood you will realise you take a lot of pictures, if you are like me, that’s ALOT of pictures, almost 11k at the last count. You will never regret the decision to take your camera with you on every occasion. The things you’ll miss add up to more than the things you’ll see during your child’s life. So take as many photographs as you can, these are moments you won’t ever get back.

8. Be ready to lose friends.

Every single parent who is reading this right now, will know exactly what I’m talking about. Unfortunately there are people out there who think having children is a burden, a drag, a drain, a hindrance even. They are wrong, sure I would love to come to the pub with all the guys and have a few beers, but, can I read my son a bed time story first? I’d love to go Vegas this weekend, but my son asked me if we can go on a rowing boat together. You may loose a friend when you become a parent, but I can guarantee when your child says to you “Daddy, you’re my best friend”. It’ll mean more to you than anything.

9. Hug them until they let go.

In today’s world it is very easy to get distracted and caught up in everything else. You end up ignoring the little ones. This is the most important point from this entire blog. Try it tonight, as you put your kids to bed, give them a hug, but don’t let go until they do. You may only need a second or two for comfort, but they made need longer. Just be there for as long as they need.

10. Listen.

Listen to everything, as a parent you will develop a unique skill to hear things others can not, you will learn a baby has different cries for different things, take time just sit and listen to what they have to say, you might learn something. As well as listening to other parents, your partners, and also your parents. Especially your parents, they’ve been there. They raised you! Your parents may not always be right, but still listen.

If there is anything you’d like to add please comment on here or on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear what you all think.

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