Any bleary-eyed parent will be able to tell you the things you sacrifice when you become a parent: sleep, for one; spare time, perhaps; money, definitely; nappies are expensive, and university even more so.
But let's stop the negativity. There are plenty of positives to becoming a parent; not least, these five things...
A new circle of friends
Let's be honest: as soon as you become a father your mates down the pub aren't going to want to listen to your tales of how Timmy puked on you in the night, or the day you had to change five dirty nappies in the space of half an hour. Similarly, when you become a mum, your young, single, carefree friends won't appreciate you falling asleep on the dance floor at 10pm because you're so desperate for a bit of rest.
Once you have a baby you end up making a whole new circle of friends, people you can talk openly to about cracked nipples and Sudocrem without being judged.
A good excuse to get out of stuff
Got a family reunion coming up that you're desperate to avoid? Do the girls want to go out for a night of clubbing, and you don't fancy sleeping on the dance floor again? The answer is right there in front of you, crying endlessly or throwing a tantrum. Just make an excuse that your baby is playing up/poorly/sleeping, and you can get out of anything you want.
Pride like no other
Any parent who has ever watched their child run over the finish line last during Sports Day yet still cheered like a crazy person knows the chest-bursting pride that having a child brings. The fact, plain and simple, is that you just don't get that feeling without a child.
You appreciate a night off
Anyone who has kids will tell you that having a night to yourselves, just you and your partner, is a rarity. Date nights, freedom nights...whatever you call them, you've more chance of seeing England win a football tournament than get more than one night off a month.
But what this squeeze on your private time does mean is that when you do get the chance for a night off you appreciate it all the more. You can reconnect with your partner, talk about something other than the children, and get completely wasted like the good old days. Or, you might just opt for an early night and a full eight hours' kip.
The magic of Christmas
Let's face it, ever since you found out that Santa was nothing more than your Uncle Steve in a red suit and a badly-fitting beard, Christmas kind of lost its appeal. The good presents fizzle out and are replaced with...well, rubbish ones. But having a child instantly brings back the magic of this special day, and you find yourself rushing to decorate the house, carefully hanging stockings from the mantelpiece, and once again getting caught up in the giddiness and magic of Christmas that has been missing for so long. One of the best things about having children is that, just sometimes, you get to act like a child yourself.
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