9 things that improve when you become a parent


Our broadband is playing up, my child has a cold, conjunctivitis and constipation and I’m beginning to itch my eye at a rate of around 23 times a minute, but am I going to let any of this get me down? Usually, the answer would yes, but today negativity is banned. Why? I’ll tell you why. It’s because this week’s midweek list is all about celebrating the things that improve when you become a parent. Stuff like…

1. Your capacity to sense danger

To misquote Jason Bourne. I can tell you the exact location of the four plug sockets at baby’s height. I can tell you that one radiator does not have a protector and the mug of coffee sitting on the table is a little too close to the edge. I know the wooden toy box by the plant features the sharpest edge in the room and that if baby starts moving to his right I have three seconds to get to the stairs before he does. Now why would I know that? How can I know that when I’m so tired I can’t even spell my own name?

2. Your ability to take a punch

This is more of a hunch than a fact. And it’s not something I plan on testing out any time soon. But given how many times baby has swung round and nailed me with a headbutt, elbow, open-handed slap or clenched-fist haymaker, surely my glass jaw must at least be double-glazed by now?

3. Your reactions

Unsteady early walker suddenly tumbling towards the skirting board? Got him. Sterilised bottle heading for the kitchen floor’s dirtiest tile? Caught it. Discarded hat zoning in on dog poop? Grabbed it. Anyone else find that your life with child is essentially that scene in Mr. & Mrs. Smith where Brad Pitt drops a bottle of wine and Angelina Jolie catches it over and over and over again?

4. Your opinion of your parents or foster parents

Wait a minute. So my mum and dad cleaned my poop, rocked me to sleep, wandered around covered in sick and saved my life numerous times when I was baby? Wait two minutes. And now, despite everything I’ve just mentioned, they’re willing to come over and re-run the fun with my son? Boy do I regret the whole ‘you guys are so lame and never let me do anything, I’m setting fire to my room’ phase.

5. Your hangovers

Admittedly this has more to do with the fact you hardly ever go out when you become a parent than the fact you’ve developed some kind of headache and nausea-avoiding superpowers.

6. Your imagination

Who knew it was possible to conjure up a vivid, bustling and captivating world using half a tissue, an empty bottle of water and a pair of socks? A parent stuck in a traffic jam, that’s who.

7. Your patience

Breakfast. In my former life ‘the most important meal of the day’ would take five minutes or perhaps even be eaten on the run. Since I’ve become a parent, it’s an hour-long affair featuring 17 books, three empty packets of wipes, a toy duck, a roll of sticky tape, an oven glove ‘hat’, a dancing lion and a decapitated wooden giraffe on wheels.

8. Your ability to decipher different types of cry (or at least pretend you can)

“No need to go up, that’s definitely his angry cry.” Two minutes of wailing later. “Wait, did he burp after you gave him the milk? He didn’t. Okay, that’s definitely the issue. It’s his need to burp cry.” Two minutes of failing to wind him later. “Now I’m here it sounds like his tired cry. He’ll be asleep by the time we get downstairs.” Two minutes of screaming later. “Actually, that’s his in pain cry.” Two minutes of touching various parts of his body later. “You know what. I reckon it was his attention seeking cry.” Two minutes of tears later. “Hold on. What’s that smell? Bingo, it’s his dirty nappy cry.”

9. Your bank balance

And I’m not even being sarcastic. Wait. Yes, I am.



  1. Excellent.

    The problem with the sensing danger thing is that as they get older they do things that involve being further away from you. Like riding a bike. So you sense the danger, you see it playing out in front of you, and you’re powerless to intervene.

    It does make you realise, though, just how common near misses are!

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