There are only two kinds of people in this world…those with kids, and those without. It’s very simple. Either you’re a sleepless drone who’s merely a slave to a tiny dictator…or you don’t have children.

Looking at my peer group, I’m playing catch-up when it comes to churning out offspring. I’m about 10 years behind everybody else (I once rejected a proper job, a family, solvency and sanity, in favour of the chimera that is a ‘music career’) and now I’m a parent, I now realise how much of an annoying, thoughtless, carefree bellend I must have appeared to my friends when they started reproducing all those years ago. To illustrate the point, my wife got a text through on Sunday evening, and it’s exactly the sort of thing I would have sent once upon a time:

“Hi babez – we’re in the pub just around the corner in Highgate, come out for a drink!”
“Hmm…I suppose I could come for one, let me ask Robin if he minds babysitting.”
“Really? Can’t Robin come and bring Martha with him? We haven’t seen them for ages!”

Back in the old days, I’d have been a bit bamboozled if one of my mates had declined the opportunity to come and hang out with me at the pub on a Sunday night, a pub that’s only about 20 mins away from their house. I’d have probably bemoaned their lack of spontaneity, been secretly a little hurt that things were now so different between us; perhaps I might have even mentioned the word ‘boring’ to my other childless friends. Basically, I was ignorant. Blissfully unaware of the absolute fucking rigmarole involved in even the slightest social engagement once you throw a baby into the mix. However, the crux of the matter is this; even given the ideal scenario, one in which your partner gives you the green light to go and have a pint in the local down the end of your road, the desire/ability to leave the house in the first place will have long deserted you.

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People in a pub – the smug, wide awake bastards

On a Sunday night, I have just about enough energy to reach for the remote control from my permanent base on the sofa and put Antiques Roadshow on. After all, the weekend is (quite rightly) my turn to get up with the baby first thing and parent the shit out of life (well, if parenting means putting on BabyTV while I doze, making sure my daughter doesn’t hit her head on any sharp objects). And on the rare occasion that I’m (a) not ill and (b) can muster the energy to actually leave the house and meet an erstwhile friend, then I have to ask myself the following questions:

  1. Do I have any money (the answer will be “no”)
  2. Is it a special occasion? (by that I mean funeral or wedding)
  3. Is the pub less than 10 minutes away?
  4. Will my wife hate me if I go out for a few beers? (quite rightly, the answer will be ‘yes’)
  5. Do I like these people enough? (the answer will be “yeah, but…”)

And if I happen to be at home alone with Martha then you can definitely forget it, whatever the time of day. Any pub outing needs to happen in the daytime, and will hopefully involve other people with children, so I can offload my daughter onto them.

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Bemused man with child – we’ve all been there

So, to all my dear friends without kids who invite me down the pub; if I give you my baby to hold and you adopt the persona of Hugh Grant in About a Boy then I’m afraid you’re of no use to me…