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.
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.