BENGALURU: A few months ago, I met a dear friend for lunch. We were meeting after a year and a half, and were catching up on all that happened in our lives: relocation, new jobs, and her life as a new parent. Three quarters of the way into our meal, she hesitantly broached, “Can I ask you something?” “Sure! Go ahead!” I generously offered.
“How did you EVER go out for dinner after having a child?”
We have all faced that moment as veteran parents when a new recruit asks for advice. I have to admit, when this happens to me, my mind goes blank for a moment, before I formulate an answer based on things I have read on the internet, memes and make believe. Those early years are a blur. Actually, last week is a blur too. With another friend expecting her first child any day now, I decided to honestly answer questions new parents ask. Think of this as a parenting PSA.
How did you EVER go out for dinner after kids?
Umm, we didn’t. Sorry. Breakfast, yes. Brunch, yes. Lunch, yes. Coffee, yes. Dinner, NO. Don’t do it. For your own sake, unless you’re a sado-masochist and enjoy the looks of pity/annoyance/why-are-you-here? that other patrons will shoot your way as your young one cries/screams/babbles/knocks over flatware. Order in and eat at home.
Is it ok to take your baby to a movie?
Can you ever relax on holiday with your children?
No. Not really. As one wit rightly said, going on holiday with your children isn’t a holiday, it’s just a change in location.
Will my vaginal muscles ever be tight again?
No. They won’t.I know the doctor says ‘Do kegel exercises when watching television!’ but all that counting under your breath and holding and releasing makes it hard to follow the plot line of How to Get Away With Murder. If you look on the bright side, you won’t want to kick your ob-gyn in the face the next time they do an internal exam. It’s THAT roomy.
Will I ever sleep soundly again?
No. (Can anyone recognise a pattern here?) You won’t. Even when your kids are sleeping, you, for some strange reason will be awake staring adoringly at their faces, thinking ‘This is the best baby in the world.’ Or putting your finger under their nose to make sure they’re still breathing. Or, looking at Instagram feeds of people you don’t really know.
Does baby lead weaning work?
No. Unless it’s baby lead weaning on Pinterest, Instagram and blogs. Then yes. I followed the tried and tested path of a long line of successful Indian mothers before me: television, threats and tearful pleas. My children are now eight and five. I eat my dinner and then retire to my bedroom to read the next instalment of Ferrante, while they throw food at each other at the dining table. It’s not as bad as it sounds.
Good luck new parents everywhere. However sleep deprived, annoyed and angry you feel, remember: this too shall pass. It will. Only to be replaced by something else. If you really want my advice, then it’s this: Stop asking me for advice.