Yes, yes, being a parent is it’s own reward, having children (if you want them and I really appreciate that there are people who don’t and they in no way should be judged or stigmatised for that. But that is a totally different topic) is the most fulfilling thing you will ever do.
But, with all that does come some payoffs, costs, compromises and changes in your lifestyle (ones that childless friends never get – and I am speaking from the point of view of a former-childless friend!). When you do speak to parents they often lament these payoffs. It’s largely the simple little things that we used to take for granted like popping out to the cinema/pub/restaurant/weekend away without the preparation and planning that would rival the Olympic Games.
But I have discovered that being a a parent brings a whole host of new benefits that people rarely discuss that easily cancel out those compromises. Here are some of my favourites:
1. Parent and Child Parking
Bigger spaces, nearer the store? Sign me up for that! It’s like having your own private car parking space. Childless people will look at you in envy as you sweep casually in and park whilst they are driving round and round looking for a space (just get there early, there are never enough…)
2. Parent and Baby Cinema Screenings
OK, they only show one film at a time so you have to be on the ball not to miss the one you want to see. But cheap cinema tickets to an almost empty screening? And the cinemas know if you have a baby you don’t want to be hanging about, anything can happen, so there are no adverts or trailers. Bliss (assuming your baby sleeps through the film…)
3. You Very Own Shopping Trolley, Sorry, Buggy
How on earth did I carry everything before I had a child? You can pile that buggy full of stuff and not have to lug around a bag or basket. There have even been occasion when we have carried our child so we can fit more in the buggy!
4. Preferential Seating at Restaurants
If you do brave going out for something to eat with your cuddly bundle of joy, no one wants to sit by a baby in case it starts screaming the place down and interrupting their meal. Restaurants know this, so given half the chance they will sit you on a secluded table well out of the way. These are usually the better tables!
Recently whilst visiting 45 Jermyn Street, we were given an amazing table tucked away in the corner. Also, people usually love babies and you often get much better service! We recently ground the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park breakfast service to a halt because all the waiting staff were cooing over our baby…
5. Children’s TV
So much better than the grown up stuff. Fascinatingly bonkers most of the time, and much more educational. Embrace your inner child and regress! Check out Hey Duggee. Possibly the best show on TV right now.
6. Wet Wipes
Spill something? Wet wipes. Eat a particularly sticky bun? Wet wipes. Need to clean your glasses? Wet wipes. Oh yes, and they can be used to clean up your baby whilst changing their nappy or after a messy eating session (which, lets be honest, is all of the time). How did I survive without them?