“It’s a rite of passage for new fathers to arrive at work with milky sick down the back of their jumper. It starts to smell like Parmesan by approximately 11am, which is nice.”
Like all expectant fathers, the Prince of Wales will currently be experiencing a rich brew of emotions. Concern for his hospital-ridden wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. Relief that everything’s in good working order “down there”. No little excitement. A short, sharp dose of blind panic. And, of course, overwhelming joy. So, with a sense of patriotic duty, we asked AskMen’s Michael Hogan — proud father of Charlie, 3 and Kitty, 1 — to make sense of it all for our future King. These are the top 10 things they won’t be telling William about becoming a father, but he absolutely needs to know.
1. Get A Headstart
For William, fatherhood starts now. OK, after Christmas, then — everyone deserves a fortnight chain-eating Quality Street while slumped in front of the telly. Come January, William should start reading up (What To Expect When You’re Expecting is the textbook, er, textbook) and enrol on an ante-natal course. These are not only instructive but help when you meet potential smug parenty friends. Imagine the look on the class’s faces when the future King and Queen stroll in. Also start browsing prams, cots, miniscule clothes… I’m guessing they won’t have to save up or buy second-hand.
2. Birth Is Amazing
In six months, the Duke Of Dadbridge will witness something truly awesome. Somebody you’re about to love will emerge, blinky, pinky and tiny, out of somebody else you love — now that’s miraculous. Amid all the blood-curdling screams and blind panic, it might not feel that way, but it is. Just remember to bring a packed lunch (labour can last a looooong time) and stay down the head end. Just to be clear: Kate’s head end, not the baby’s head end. It’s like ‘Nam down there.
3. You’re Just The Hired Help (Unpaid)
For the next year, K-Middy will do most of the work. She does the hard yards with a bump, gives birth, breastfeeds… Even the most enlightened, equal couple can’t change all that. So William’s main job is support. Make her feel good when she feels tired, blobby and unglamorous. Take over infant-wrangling so she can sleep. Cook meals. Ferry them about. Do the unglamorous stuff. Then steal precious time with both the baby and its mum when you can.
4. Babies Are Messy
It doesn’t matter if they’re third in line to the throne, babies are still formidable bodily fluid machines. They poo a lot, sometimes very audibly, frequently in weird textures and colours. Then, when you’re changing their foul-smelling nappy full of green alien slime, they’ll arc a jet of pee onto you, just for gummy LOLZ. They also vomit a lot and after a while, you might not notice. It’s a rite of passage for new fathers to arrive at work with milky sick down the back of their jumper. It starts to smell like Parmesan by approximately 11am, which is nice. Pasta for lunch, yeah?
“Everyone thinks their baby is best. Even the parents of the ugly ones that look like a tiny alien Winston Churchill.”
5. It Makes You Boring
Every new parent tells themselves they won’t get boring, they’ll keep up their other interests, they’ll see friends, their culturally-rich life will go on. Three months later, you’ll be bending everyone’s ear about that cute thing your kid did, showing photos to strangers and going to bed by 9pm. Wearing socks, in case you have to get up in the small hours. Rock n’ roll, eh?
6. It’s Not A Competition (Except It Completely Is)
How long was labour? Was it a natural birth? How much did it weigh? Is it sleeping through the night? Can it turn over or crawl? Is it walking/talking/playing classical piano yet? Such questions will soon obsess everyone you meet. All children develop at different rates so there’s no point comparing yours to other people’s. However, no-one can help it. And everyone thinks theirs is best. Even the parents of the ugly ones that look like a tiny alien Winston Churchill.
7. You Get To Be A Kid Again Too
You can watch cartoons, play in the park, draw monsters, hide in dens, build train sets, do stupid voices… And everyone approves. Everyone loves it. Especially you. And once the kid’s in bed, you can totally play with their toys too. In your face, adulthood.
8. Oh Look, It’s Granny. Again
Wills and Kate will suddenly start seeing a LOT more of their female relatives. Great-granny Queen Liz and Carole Middleton won’t be able to stay away. Especially Cazza, as it’s her first grandchild. So they should use it to their advantage — behold, free babysitting and someone to help out while you two hit Boujis with Harry or want a lie-in. Auntie Pippa will pop round a lot too, which is always a bum-based bonus.
9. It’s Not Rocket Science. But It’s A Bit Like It
Folding and unfolding hi-tech buggies. Putting in state-of-the-art car seats. Building new flatpack furniture. Assembling and fixing toys… You need a degree in engineering to be a dad these days (sadly William’s 2:1 is in geography). Worst of all, you’re not allowed to swear while you’re doing these tasks, in case their little ears prick and they copy you. Torture.
10. It’s The Best Thing In The World
More importantly than any of the above, being a dad will make William the proudest and happiest he’s ever been. It’ll make him a man. And a lucky one at that. Hang on, I’ve got something in my eye. OK, both eyes.
(If I was allowed a point 11, this would be it: fatherhood makes you VERY soppy.)