Becoming a dad is one of the most amazing experiences ever. However, this role and the sacrifices that come with it, are often overlooked, as the focus seems to always be on the mother. Sure, there are a handful of blogs about the way a man's life changes when he enters fatherhood. These point out the obvious things like how a child now takes priority over everything else, how lovely it is to hold your own flesh and blood in your arms and clean up their sick, and that your manly actions have now been overtaken by nursery rhymes and baby talk. But the subtle, unimportant but important changes in your life are often ignored.
Here are 10 of the not so well known signs that you are a dad. These show how even the minor things in your life have truly evolved and highlight the varying sacrifices you have made upon being appointed to this honourable role.
1. You view women differently. Instead of checking out the woman walking past, you are checking out her buggy and comparing it to yours. Phew, yours is better.
2. Your dream car is now an estate or MPV and not a sports car. The amount of times you have had to try and squeeze half the contents of your house along with the buggy into your boot for a short trip away has you pulling your hair out. The sheer fantasy of being able to pack the car in under 15 minutes and fit everything without some mind-boggling maths definitely triumphs the sound of a Zonda's engine.
3. You've actually changed a nappy. While your sisters or female cousins and friends may have changed a nappy at some point of their pre-children lives, you on the other hand have always been grossed out at the idea of getting your hands near another person's poo. But now that you're a dad, you can do this with your eyes closed. You even volunteer to do it (and it scores brownie points with the wife).
4. You are afraid to say you are tired. At least in the presence of your wife. Because as soon as those words come out of your mouth may God help you. You might as well spend the next half an hour with ear plugs in to avoid listening to the definition of tired. This will be followed by such murderous looks from that once sweet and angelic face of your wife, that you will actually wonder whether she has been possessed. But you could always offer to change a nappy to smooth things over.
5. You prefer to eat in than go out for dinner. The thought of 2 hours around a table with the kids screaming and throwing their food, and anything else within reach, while strangers watch on frightens you so much that you would rather order pizza than eat your favourite steak at your favourite restaurant.
6. You make dates with your Xbox/Playstation. You have to set aside specific time for gaming. Before children you could play whenever you wanted, now that just seems like a distant luxury. This "special time" has to be scheduled far in advance when your wife is busy, or secretly, that it almost seems like an extra-marital affair.
7. You are very speed aware. You actually comply with the speed limit, at least when you have the kids in the car. Obviously that means when you're alone you have some serious making up to do.
8. You can sleep through anything. When you first became a dad and that amazing little being came into your life, even the slightest sound they made would wake you up and have you checking to see if they're breathing ok. But over the months and years you start to evolve and develop a natural defence mechanism to the sound of your little one crying in the night. So, no matter how much they scream the house down, you are capable of sleeping right through it. And if not, you can give an awesome performance of pretending to be asleep so that your wife has to attend to the waking baby/toddler. You're so good, if you could admit this without worrying about the repercussions from your other half, an Oscar would be coming your way.
9. You know the names of all the CBeebies show hosts, but can no longer name all the players from your favourite football team. You hate to admit it, but you know what times Mr Tumble, Mister Maker and Andy and his dinosaurs are on, along with all the words to their songs, but not which team Rooney or Ronaldo are now playing for.
10. You have like a million different baby related apps on your smartphone. Whether it be sounds to put the baby to sleep, baby development by the minute or a toddler calorie counter, you've got it. You've probably never read any of their contents, but the fact that it's there provides you with a safety net and reassures you that you're a good 21st century dad.
So Dads, give yourselves a pat on the back. You have shown that life is no longer all about you (apart from the sleeping, but, hey, nobody is perfect). You have changed in more ways than one to put the needs and wants of your little one first. You can now proudly say you are a REAL MAN.