Diary of a Dad: Week 47 - Mastering Your Craft


There is no course for becoming a parent, and if there was, I assume it wouldn’t actually prepare you for the onslaught of pressure and monotony that having kids brings. Naturally, you develop an ability to survive - it’s almost animalistic, you get through it.

Once the dust begins to settle (it doesn’t) you realise you have some exceptionally refined powers that a child training class couldn’t teach you, things that only an experienced operator can achieve.

Doing things on handed

Buttering toast, getting dressed, opening letters (who even does that anymore?!)

You name it, parenting means at some point you’ll have to attempt it one-handed. Not only does this really make you appreciate your other hand, it also shows how innovative you can be. Holding a screaming child or in fact a sleeping child (the latter being the ideal of course) is a staple of parenting and one-handed-operating is one of those superpowers that make life that bit easier. I love the translatability into other parts of life too - non-parents marvelling at you ability to undertake random tasks with just one hand. Jedi.

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Nappy changes

I hit parenthood having never done a nappy before - why? Because I didn’t have any kids around me. The first few are awkward, but you quickly develop a knack for changing. The speed change is of course one of the more impressive, but changing in random spots is one of my favourites. On a tree? Yep. In the car? Yep. On a windowsill? Done it. Life means that you often have to improvise, and a nappy is a great way to test those innovative skills. Don;t get me started on male toilets with no changing.


Having children means you can never, ever, ever, complete simple tasks (or complicated ones) without distraction again. There is a constant requirement for both pacification and peacekeeping all times meaning that any attempt to concentrate is obliterated. The result? The innate ability to multitask. Most of the time, the approach requires expert distraction and a peppering of technology. I always find food helps too when you’re trying to get things done, but the little beggars know when you are vulnerable. On a call? You can guarantee they’ll be asking for crisps and sweets - they sense when you are at your weakest.

Survival on minimal sleep

Gone are the days of the 10 am lazy mornings in bed, looking back, I don’t know how I functioned on so much sleep. Can you survive on 5 hours? It turns out you can. Incredible. Younger me would be literally screwing at the concept of not being able to sleep when I wanted - now though I’m not fussed. Parenting makes you into a sleep resilient machine where you re in a constant state of delirium no matter how much sleep you get - it’s joyous.

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