1. Not moaning. Even I hear myself moaning sometimes. So I apologise for what is about to follow.
Since becoming a new parent in February 2011 I haven't enjoyed a night of six hours uninterrupted sleep. Nothing new there. It goes with the job. But sleep deprivation makes everything harder. I'm sure all new parents would agree. During my early days of parenthood we fed the babies every three to four hours throughout the day and night. Now the twins are approaching two years old it seems one of the babies is always up and out of their cot during the evening and night for various reasons. We rarely get any downtime. And even when I managed to get away on holiday for a few days last year I was so used to sleeping for shorts spells, I couldn't sleep!
3. Paid work
Nothing beats earning a crust. However much your partner reassures you, nothing beats the feeling of your own hard earned money in your pocket.
4. Watching TV with the volume turned up
I remember someone once advising me to behave 'normally' when your babies are asleep. It doesn't quite work like that for me. When Mother is preparing to leave for work in the morning I curse her when she steps on the wrong creaky floorboard or coughs. When I put the twins down to sleep at lunchtime I spend the first five minutes almost literally holding my breath so as not to wake them. During the evening we watch TV with the volume almost at mute and curse passing aeroplanes, cars and noisy neighbours. All far from 'normal'!
I am now almost as bored with explaining why I can't see my friends as they are of listening to the reasons.
6. Me time
I am always awake before 7am; usually several times! In the morning E-Man and Bell never give me more than ten minutes grace before disaster strikes and they have to be rescued from their cots. During their lunchtime sleep I carry out domestic chores, eat and then grab a ten minute cat nap. And that's always under the terrifying shadow that they might wake up. The evening schedule rarely concludes before 9pm and it's after then that the real work begins (See 2. Sleep)
7. Adult company
I am forever pointing out red buses, trains and aeroplanes to the twins whilst pushing the buggy. They are forever alerting me to birds, fire engines and dogs. Our conversation is limited. I should get out more. But I can't. And even then I'm not sure what I would to have to say!
Gone are last minute holidays. Gone are holidays that night even be described in the loosest possible terms as a holiday. Holidays are now more of a 'change of scene'. Even evening trips out to see Chelsea FC require military-style planning and a five step risk assessment plan.
I am forever pushing about a double baby buggy, but my heart is rarely above 70 beats per minute. I don't exercise my body or mind enough. My diet of coffee and cake is beginning to show.
Why no romance? See 1 to 9.