When I knew I was going to become a dad for the first time, I was well aware that things were about to change in a big way. My social life would go out the window, I thought; my Saturdays would apparently become devoted to soft play and swimming; and from now on, it would be entirely normal to take about three hours to leave the house. But one thing I don’t think I was ever quite prepared for was how I’d get SO LITTLE SLEEP.
Obviously, I knew that kids woke early, and that the days of long, lazy weekend lie-ins with a coffee and the papers was a thing of the past. But I don’t think I fully realised just how all-encompassing the lack of sleep thing is. Maybe it’s just that my two kids are particularly bad at getting their full eight hours through the night – but I reckon most parents-to-be are blissfully unaware of the effect it can have.
Is it just me, or do all dads get The 4.30pm Slump? While everyone else in the office is perky and bright, I find myself flagging. When someone suggests a drink after work, my first thought is “Nice idea, but that would RUIN my chances of being in bed by 9.30.” What’s more, I have a sneaking suspicion that, when my kids eventually reach an age where I need them to get up at a reasonable time, they’ll finally decide they do want to have a lie-in after all, and I’ll be the one urging them to get up early.
I reckon that dads of the world – and mums, for that matter – should unite and campaign for a daily siesta in the office. Secretly, most parents would seriously consider trading in their paternity or maternity leave for a regular afternoon nap. Until then, though, we’ll just have to rejoice in the 6am starts, even at the weekend, and desperately try to enjoy following the plot of the latest episode of Me Too on CBeebies.