8 non-parenting skills we’ve had to learn since becoming parents

It’s not all about feeding, changing, bathing and encouraging object recognition, you know. Parenting requires a plethora of new skills that arise directly from the existence of, but don’t impact the wellbeing or development of, your new little one. These include:

1. One-handed blogging

Forget sitting comfortably at your desktop computer, or even a proper laptop. Post-baby communications are all about typing one-handed on the nearest available mobile device while balancing your little angel in the other arm. This blog is brought to you one thumb-typed paragraph at a time, as are any emails, texts, tweets and meeting minutes you may have seen from me in the last two months. My thumb is super-articulate now.

2. Tag-team cooking

A bit like that round on Celebrity Masterchef where they give the teams a bunch of ingredients, one person has to start the meal and the other tags in after twenty minutes with no idea what the first person was doing. Because no matter which one of you starts dinner, there will be a non-negotiable wail from the other side of the front room twenty minutes later and the second person will have to guess how to end the cooking process. Results in some delightfully inventive culinary combinations.

See also:

3. Cooking Knightmare-style

“To your left – a bit more – look down. Take the balsamic vinegar. Spellcasting: M-A-S-H.”

Makes the results of tag-team cooking a bit more predictable, but only just. Yes, we know we just dated ourselves horribly with this classic TV reference. You say any of this to kids nowadays, they don’t know what you’re talking about. Except our child, who will be educated in the ways of great justice.

4. Serial laundering

When my friend and client Tara made a dance piece about parenthood, one of the stage set elements was “a washing machine at the back of the stage, spewing out a seemingly endless supply of clean clothes.” This is an excellent visual reference. If you want a picture of new parenthood, imagine a washing machine spewing out endless laundry — forever.

5. Cat napping

Never been much of one for short naps in the daytime before? You will be.

6. Speed bathing

You can have a luxurious soak in a nice warm bubble bath, with maybe a foot scrub and a face pack and half a glass of something chuggable; and you can make this soak happen in ten minutes if you need to. Fifteen on a good day.

7. Binge watching

Not strictly a skill, but definitely something you will be doing a lot of. Darien hoovered up thirteen seasons of Family Guy in two months, and I’m most of the way through a Buffy re-watch. Old shows that you’ve seen before, possibly more than once, suit limited brainpower better than anything that requires actual attention.

8. Thing ignoring

Whether it’s work, current affairs, or the cleanliness of your home, you will become a champion ignorer of things that used to matter greatly. Ask me what’s number one in the charts right now (a thing I used to care passionately about). I haven’t a clue! What’s happening in the world? No idea! Total 100% blissful ignorance over here! Clients need invoicing? La la la. Things trending on Twitter? They can trend without me. Except on #Apprentice night, that’s sacred. Nothing can come between us and our #Apprentice watching.

7 thoughts on “8 non-parenting skills we’ve had to learn since becoming parents

  1. You’ve made me nostalgic for the days I spent watching Buffy while breastfeeding.

    I always thought it laughable all the ‘new mother’ presents of bath goodies that there is no way you have time to enjoy, and that somebody should write a cookery book of recipes that you could cook and eat one-handed for new parents. The cooking does get easier quite quickly (or at least different – as soon as I try and cook anything now I get the requests of ‘can I help?’). The laundry on the other hand needs to be done more often as they get older because the clothes get bigger but becomes easier to sort out.

    • I love the idea of the one-handed cookbook! I’ll write it myself once I have more than four recipes to share with the world (although my one-handed stir fry is becoming quite accomplished).

  2. I’m SO jealous of the TV!! I’m always baby wrangling or hustling off to the bedroom (she won’t sleep anywhere else), imma have to cancel my Netflix :( Also, we eat after she’s asleep because otherwise it’s just too stressful and everything’s cold. WHEN DO THEY GET FUN??

    • TV often = “iPlayer in bedroom while I’m feeding her at bedtime”, although she has watched Lord Sugar with us a couple of times. It all depends on how her afternoon naps play out; sometimes she drifts off to sleep during Masterchef, sometimes she’s awake for the boardroom.

      Eating can also be a one-handed affair while she either feeds or sleeps in the other arm, but sometimes she’ll happy doze in the Poddle Pod or play in her rainforest while we eat. Maybe twice a week we get to dine unencumbered; otherwise I am now dead good at shovelling dinner into my face with a fork only.

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