For the mega-long list of the things a baby stops you doing (staying out all night, travelling the world on a shoestring, drinking Absinthe and writing a best-selling novel), there is a whole host of excellent opportunities having a baby gets you out of.
Here is our top five:
Staying with relatives
No longer do you have to endure that cramped spare room on the annual visit to see your parents. You don't have to sit down to a family meal at six, tiptoe round the house after nine or be in bed by 10. You have a baby. This means you are perfectly entitled to stay in a hotel "so as not to disturb the house".
This state of affairs can continue just as long as you can convince your relatives that your child is going to be a bother. "She won't settle otherwise" becomes your mantra, as you head back to the Holiday Inn with a bottle of wine, an angelic sleeping baby and Friends on repeat.
Sitting through a boring meal
I would need the hands of an Indian god to count the number of boring birthday/anniversary/no-reason-just-wanted-to-make-you-spend-money meals I have sat through in the last few years.
But having a baby has meant I have the perfect excuse not to go: "I'd love to but the baby might be a pain", "I'll just come for pudding, because the baby might be agitated". Never mind that the baby is as good as gold in a restaurant and loves nothing more than having food shoved down her gullet while everyone watches.
Phew! At last. In my twenties I had literally no excuse not to go nightclubbing, so I would trail along, miserable and unsociable, unable to say no. My thirties were easier as many friends settled down with kids but still I had no excuse for the ones still hell bent on seeing in the dawn with a whistle round their necks.
Now, with any luck the next time I will see the inside of a nightclub will be when it's converted into a jungle gym.
I have spent the last two years trying to get out of going for an early-morning swim with my friend Abi (even though I love it and I love her, it just comes to the morning and then, well, you know the rest). This time, I just can't.
If I am on baby duty, I can't leave her can I and if I am not on baby duty, I am working. Ditto jogging.
Shame, that. I fully expect this to last well into primary school (school run, after-school club, homework, etc, they all mount up).
Having a baby means you are no longer able to read everything you fully intended to read by the time you were 40. True, it means you can't waste a whole afternoon devouring a Steinbeck in a café or a few hours in the bath lost in a Ruth Rendell. But it also means you have the perfect excuse not to be reading the latest Booker nominations.
"Oh that dull-sounding tome about life and love among Jewish intellectuals is, like, totally on 'my list', but you know how it is..." you can say in perpetuity until suddenly the only book you've read in 12 months is Each Peach Pear Plum.
Do you agree? Have you used your baby as an excuse to avoid painful social situations? Or, are you on the other side, bored with friends making excuses because of the baby?