Think you're ready for kids? Prepare for the incoming stomp of tiny feet with our 20 tips.
Are you ready for having kids? Your friends have told you about the lack of sleep (YAWN, you’re SO bored of hearing that), but have they mentioned the car? The bath? The toilet? Your lovely cream soft furnishings?
Kids impact on every area of your life, so if you want to be really really ready, you might want to get in some practice. Here’s what you REALLY need to know about life BK (before kids) and AK (after kids). It’s the truth.
And if you’ve got any tips to add, put them in the comments box below.
BK: Get in shower. Hum while washing hair and body at leisurely pace. Get out of shower.
AK: Get your partner to press their face against the shower screen or pull the shower curtain back and forth, screeching, while you attempt to shower. Practice getting washed in under 2 minutes.
BK: Open wardrobe. Spend a while choosing an outfit. Get dressed slowly.
AK: Open wardrobe. Without looking, grab hideous print top with flaps in the front, comfy jeans, big pants and comfy bra. Practice getting dressed in under 2 minutes.
BK: Sweep freshly-washed hair into a pretty style. Spend at least 15 minutes carefully applying make-up. Go downstairs.
AK: Spray hair with dry hair shampoo. Forget to brush it out. Tie in pony-tail. Stare at face, apply concealer over dark eye circles, pick up mascara, get interrupted, put down mascara without putting in on. Go downstairs.
BK: Make a coffee. Drink coffee.
AK: Make a coffee. Leave it for 20 minutes. Microwave it. Leave it for another 20 minutes. Repeat until you find it undrunk at 5.40pm, throw away.
BK: Pick up keys from key hook. Get into car. Put on seatbelt. Start engine. Turn radio on to favourite channel. Drive off.
AK: Stare at empty key hook. Spend 20 minutes looking for keys. Get a plank of wood - strap immovable, unbending, rigid object into a seatbelt. Put nursery rhymes on a loop on the stereo, place a Furbie on each of the back seats. Make sure they talk incessantly, argue and demand attention, all while Baa Baa Black Sheep comes out of every speaker. Grit teeth. Drive. Attempt to concentrate and remember where you're going. Do NOT crash car.
BK: Sit down. Eat meal slowly, chewing every bite. Enjoy meal. Finish meal.
AK: Eat all meals as fast as you humanly can, preferably standing up. Never actually finish one or taste a single morsel of what you're eating.
BK: Take pride in your clean and ordered home.
AK: Hide half a banana under the sofa. Don't discover it for a fortnight. Buy some Nutella, spread on bread, then place palm on top. Press handprint into curtains. Get Biro. Write on kitchen cabinets. Get felt tip pen. Write on sofa. Get inexplicable, undissolvable dark purple something and smear on carpet. Fill all available space with giant plastic items.
BK: Open fridge. Get out food. Cook food.
AK: Go into kitchen to start cooking. Find child has mastered fridge lock and started 'creating' their own food. Abandon freshly-cooked meal. Heat up instant meal in microwave.
BK: Just go.
AK: Flush toilet from last person. Pick toilet roll up from the floor. Sit down. Leave the door open and ask your partner to stare at you throughout, or close the door and ask them to bang repeatedly on the door, screaming and crying while you try and do your business as fast as you can.
BK: Carry around purse, smartphone, make-up bag, umbrella.
AK: No matter how small your handbag, practice carrying around the following essential items as well as those above. Emergency dummy, muslin, pack of wipes, box of raisins, squeaky toy, buggy book, musical toy, favourite soft toy, spare nappy, nappy cream. Smear a split sachet of Calpol over the bottom and stick some raisins to it.
BK: Leave the house.
AK: Go out of the door, just before closing it, go back in and add something to your handbag. Leave and shut the door. Take five steps up the road, turn back, go into the house, add something to your bag. Leave the house. Take ten paces up the road, turn back, go into your house, forget why you're there, leave the house. Take 15 paces up the road, wonder if you've shut the front door. Turn back, check the front door. Leave again. Be LATE. For EVERYTHING.
BK: Bookmark in Google: 'remove red wine stain'
AK: Bookmark in Google: 'fix sun cream damage to car paintwork' 'Remove Biro from kitchen units' 'How to get felt tip off sofa'. Also invest in every variation of specialist stain remover for clothes and fabrics on the market.
BK: Ask someone to do something. They do it.
AK: Practice getting others to do what you want them to do in 20 different ways other than just asking them. Become a Jedi master in blackmail and bribery.
BK: Go to the supermarket. Fill your trolley with shopping. Go to the checkout. Pay. Go home.
AK: Go the supermarket, put a bag of potatoes in a baby seat trolley. Do one aisle. Pick up bag of potatoes and attempt to steer trolley, read list and shop while soothing bag of potatoes. Try to ignore other shoppers glaring at you. Half fill trolley. Replace potatoes with angry monkey with parrot screech. Abandon trolley. Leave shop with nothing. Alternatively, manage to get round shop with sleeping potatoes, go safely through checkout, realise you've left your purse at home.
BK: Proudly display cherished family photos and scented candle gifts on shelves. Keep useful things handy.
AK: Move everything that isn't nailed down to above waist height. Framed photos, candles, CDs… Kids are like missiles. They will seek and destroy. Alternatively, just put everything on the floor. It'll all end up there eventually.
BK: Pick up phone. Call person. Talk to person. Put down phone.
AK: Pick up phone. Mummy? Mummy? Mummy? Mummmmmmeeeeeeeeee! Manage 2-minute conversation with incessant interruption. Give up. Put down phone.
AK: Take 37 emails to arrange mutually convenient time for you and your mum-friends to meet. Book babysitter. Go to the bank. Spend £40 on babysitting before you've even gone anywhere. Be an hour late thanks to child shenanigans and explaining the monitor to the babysitter. Spend 2 hours out, feel light-headed after 1 glass of wine. Get over-excited because you're out with adults and no kids. Drink 2 glasses of wine. Rush home. Pay babysitter. Be scared of the hangover and the broken sleep. Decide not to go out again. For a year.
BK: Run lovely hot bath. Get in lovely hot bath. Soak and relax in lovely hot bath. Wash at leisurely pace. Get out of lovely hot bath when ready.
AK: Get in lovely hot bath. Relax. Two minutes later, get out of the bath, wrap towel around you and spend 20 minutes rocking on the bed. Get in tepid bath. Have quick wash. Three minutes later, get out, put on damp towel. Spend 20 minutes rocking on the bed. Don't use hairdryer - too noisy.
BK: Go to bed at 11pm. Sleep.
AK: Go to bed at 9pm. Get up at 9.10 for an hour-and-a-half. Go back to bed. Lie awake in fear of hearing crying for 20 minutes. Finally nod off. Half-an-hour later jump out of your sleep, get up for an hour. Go back to bed. Fall asleep for an hour. Get up, go downstairs, turn on the telly. Stare at it for an hour. Go back to bed with no idea of what you've just watched.
BK: Have no idea what a comforter is.
AK: Ask your friend to buy you something worth £3.99 from Peru. In spite of the 26 soft toy baby presents in your bedroom, become inexplicably attached to the Peruvian comforter and refuse to sleep without it. Lose it. Spend 83 hours and £77 trying to replace it.