Life changes when you have a baby, as Anna Jefferson knows only too well. With a two-year-old daughter, the Brighton-based writer gave birth to her second child recently. Anna tells us all about the ace parts, the embarrassments and the bits of motherhood people never tell you about...
If I could go back and have a chat with my pre-child self, there are a few things I'd like to ask her to do.
The first would be save up for a decent-sized double bed.
Don't waste all your disposable income on overpriced large glasses of vin rouge and clothes from Primark that you'll wear once and then give to a charity shop.
Get the biggest bed money can buy. And make sure it comes with a hard mattress. That bit’s very important because you’re going to be spending hours, if not days, hunched over in it feeding a hungry baby.
And making do with a second-hand one with about as much resistance as a marshmallow is only going to result in you walking around doubled up and very bad tempered.
There will also be four people sleeping in the bed. And not in a Rita, Sue and Bob Too kind of way. Think more Grandpa Joe and family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
It will be hot and stuffy, and there will be nowhere to escape, so make sure the bed’s bloody huge or you will spend the entire night being squashed by at least one human being.
My suggestion would be talk to your partner about anything and everything.
Make sure you find out each other’s perspective on life. That sounds a bit heavy going, but it will be worth it. Know each other’s likes, dislikes, opinions, what films you’ve watched, favourite books - the works.
You’re never going to be able to finish a sentence again. Every conversation will be interrupted by a small person asking to go to the loo/watch Frozen for the millionth time/have a drink/go to the park/have another peanut butter sandwich/find a small bead that has become a hugely important hidden treasure that’s wedged underneath the fridge.
And when they have gone to bed, you’ll be too tired to talk. But that way you can guess what you might say to each other based on memory instead of actually having to say anything.
Third, learn to cook. Properly. Not just following a recipe from one of the cards you pick up for free on the way into Sainsbury’s. Learn how to bake, to make stews, to cook by taste, because otherwise your repertoire will be a Lazy Susan of beans on toast, fishfingers, and pasta and pesto, which is fine - for a couple of nights.
Three years in, your daughter will be living on a prison-style menu of Weetabix for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and pasta for tea. And when you do try something a bit different she will refuse on principle as it’s out of her comfort zone because it’s not beige.
If you learn before children, healthy and varied eating will be a way of life instead of an expensive experiment that everyone thinks tastes disgusting.
But mainly, don’t panic. Don’t freak out when you find out you’re pregnant because it’ll be brilliant.
There’s a massive trade-off, of course there is. But it’s worth it. Even if you’re only going to have ten centimetres of duvet to sleep under for the next few years, know that you’ll be sharing your bed with literally the best people in your world.
Read Anna's blog at youcantakeherhomenow.co.uk and catch up with her here next week.