Thursday, August 16, 2001

This was originally a longer and more bitter post, but it can be condensed into two pieces of advice for people who are considering having children at some stage in the future:

1) Set an alarm clock to go at intermittent intervals, between 2 and 5 hours apart, for the next 2 months, just to remind prospective parents that they will never have a full night’s sleep again, ever. If the kid is too young to speak, it will need feeding or changing; if it can talk, it will need attention and/or support; if it’s a teenager, it will be having too good a time to think about you, alone, sleepless and worrying about rape, mugging or murder.
2) Buy and read The Prince and The Art of War. If you’re lucky enough not to need them in negotiations with the kids, they’ll be needed as ammunition to help you cope with other parents, schools, relatives (especially in-laws), siblings and, occasionally, to remind you that you, too, are entitled to a bit of peace and quiet.

And never, ever, complain that this wasn’t what you signed up for! You can (and will) think it frequently, but you could also think that life might be quiet, boring and predictable. How lucky you are to have kids to prevent you from such a fate!

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