7 Reasons That Having A Baby Can Be Hard On A Man
It’s Saturday. Or, as we call it around these parts, Richard O’Hagan Day. You see Richard, apart from being a fine writer, is on a mission. A mission to become the third permanent member of the 7 Reasons team. He may not have mentioned it out loud, he may not even realise it himself, but given the sheer number of O’Hagan works we have in the 7 Reasons ‘to be published’ vault, his sub-conscious wants it. Badly. Just take a look at these figures that show the origins of submissions and their associated percentages.
- USA – 28%
- UK – 23%
- Australia – 5%
- France – 3%
- Canada – 2%
- Pakistan – 2%
- India – 2%
- South Africa – 1%
- Muppetville – 1%
- Richard O’Hagan – 33%
Exactly. Incredible. And rather disturbing. Which is a shame really because the writer of The Memory Blog isn’t disturbing at all. He’s a great writer with lots of useful advice. Which he will now aptly demonstrate.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. It is something along the lines of “He’s a man (allegedly). He knows nothing about how hard it is to have a baby. How DARE he try and offer an opinion on this.”
To which all I can say is, bear with me*, ladies. There’s a point to all of this. I am a father. Marc of this parish has just become father to The Legendary Byron Sebastian Fearns. And Jon has just got engaged, which means that fatherhood is marching towards him with the grim inevitability of a giant spider with a particularly juicy fly snared in its web. There are some serious points which he needs to be aware of, as do any men out there without issue. There’s a big temptation to think that the difficult bit comes around nine months before the birth, but that’s not the case. Once the baby arrives, life is hard for a man.
1. Being a Role Model. You’ve spend the last few decades of your life belching, breaking wind and yelling when you want to. Sorry, but there’s someone else in the house to do that now. Your role is now to be a positive role model for the child, which means an end to coming home bladdered at 3am and trying to make toast using the DVD player, no popping out to the shops and vanishing for three days, and absolutely no supporting Manchester United. (Unless your offspring will be Charlie Sheen’s grandson, in which case you’ve a family tradition to maintain. And even Charlie draws the line at the last thing).
2. Expense. Everyone says that babies are expensive. They’re not. It will be years before they crash your car, or you need to bail them out. People who look after babies, on the other hand, really are expensive. You will find yourself forking out hundreds of pounds a month just so that you can go to work to earn the money to pay the people who look after your child whilst you go to work. It is a cycle more vicious than the one that resulted in a baby in the first place.
3. Pain. Once your female partner has given birth, nothing on this earth is going to convince them that you are enduring any kind of pain whatsoever. The Black Knight in ‘Monty Python & The Holy Grail’ wasn’t brave, he just knew that he was never going to convince his Lady that having all of your limbs lopped off justified reaching for the Aspirin. Being a father means never being able to complain of a hangover again.
4. Language. Whilst we are at it, you might as well brace yourself for the fact that ladies in labour are not always the politest, and that you may be about to learn a few new words. All of them directed at you and several of them anatomically improbable.
5. Empathy. For many years, you and the prospective mother of your prospective child have lived in harmony, anticipating each other’s needs and desires. Having a baby will put an end to all of that. There are two questions that you should never ask a woman in labour, and one of them is “How does it feel?”** You should never ask this question, because you will receive an answer which puts you in the one situation in which you are unequipped to empathise. The answer is “Like the worst period pain ever”***
6. In-Laws. If you produce a baby, your in-laws will visit. Need I say more?
7. Space (Lack Thereof). You might be thinking that the saying that babies might be small but they need a lot of stuff is some sort of urban myth. There are certainly many urban myths about having a baby and you’d be right to disregard them**** but not this one. Work might expand to fill the time available, but nothing beats the rule which says that baby stuff expands to fill the space available. There’s a great temptation to think that you can get around this by moving to a bigger house, but it won’t work. There will still be stuff everywhere. And what is more, you’ll have to work more hours to pay the bigger mortgage, meaning you need more childcare, meaning that you need to work harder to pay for the childcare, and so on until death, really.
On the other hand, children are great fun and the hardship is well worth it. Yes, even the bits where she swears at you.
*I said bear WITH ME, not ‘bear down’. Stop it! Now! Think of the carpets!
**You’re not old enough to know the other one
***There’s actually a question on Facebook which says ‘Which hurts more, having a baby or a kick in the testicles’, which has only been answered by bigots and idiots. And the teenage daughter of a friend of mine, who has experience of neither.
****Disregard any books you might be given, too. The babies can’t read them and so have no idea what to do