PARENTS

Up The Duff Without A Paddle: Our Other New Baby Has Arrived!

24/06/2009 19:10 | Updated 22 May 2015

Many thanks to friends, family and complete strangers who got in touch this last week, to check I'm not having a complete nervous breakdown. Many kind words flowed my way after last week's column, along the lines of "give yourself a break", "start simplifying your life" and, my favourite, "you're fab".

I have felt a little calmer over the last few days, though not completely relaxed. I'm not sure that anything less radical than a month on a beach in the South of France would do that. The last week has heralded a couple of big chats with the other half about how I can be less stressed, less tired and more confident of being able to cope, plus an emergency conflab with my best girlfriend. "Clear your diary now!" is her advice.I'd love to clear the diary, but life can't stop just because I'm pregnant. Or can it? This seems to be the general vibe, especially from friends who've had babies. They highly recommended winding right down if that's at all possible, to conserve energy for when the baby actually arrives.

I have taken on board all advice, and my partner and I have decided to draw up a list of what we can reasonably expect to achieve, both at home and in our working lives, in the next 23 weeks. Reasonably is the key word here. For example, I've already spotted "sort out my digital life" on his list, which may well have to go due to it not being totally time-sensitive. N, if you're reading, just think of all those nights in you'll have after the baby's born to sort out your photos.

We've already crossed one big thing off the list this week though - we've bought a new car. My car was over 10 years old, eligible for the scrappage scheme, and only had three doors which is useless for getting a baby seat in and out. We would have been buying a new one anyway in the next year or so, even if it wasn't for the baby.

We did a fair amount of research into recommended family cars before buying. My criteria were safety and to avoid doing what every other Dulwich mum does, and buy a Volkswagen Golf. His criteria were safety, an iPod dock and, however possible, to convince me to get a Volkswagen Golf. He won.

We did indeed buy a new Volkswagen Golf Mark VI SE TSI, which has more letters after its name than Stephen Hawking. I must admit, it was the best car that we test drove (we also tried a Renault Scenic, a Mercedes A-Class and a Ford Focus), and it consistently reviewed well as a small family car on the websites we checked, including the Which Guide. It also has the highest rating possible for safety, has seven airbags and Isofix fittings for childseats.

We've been driving it for a week now, and it's a gorgeously smooth ride. The only major drawback for me is that I would have liked a more eco-friendly car, but on doing the research, it seems that we're a year or two early. Newer eco models due out in the next couple of years will be much more energy efficient and reliable for city driving.

So, we're £15,000 poorer in just one week, but we do at least have the family car sorted. This will be the biggest expense until we need to move house. Most of all, I'm glad that it's a task off the To Do list!

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