Becoming a parent for the first time can be as challenging as it is rewarding. But are the challenges and rewards any different for millennial couples in Ireland than they were for previous generations?

For those approaching the stage in their lives where starting a family is near the top of their ‘to-do’ list, the practicalities of raising and being responsible for an actual human child can be quite daunting. How can one be expected to take on that kind of responsibility when they often struggle to finish a sandwich without accidentally biting the inside of their own mouth?

Photo Credit: Vivien Chen – Flickr

Millennial angst does not lend well to the mental preparation required of a prospective parent. But according to these millennial parents that spoke with The Circular, mental preparation quickly goes out the window when the reality of parenting lands on your doorstep.

Circular: What are the most challenging aspects of becoming a parent for the first time?

Charlotte (32) & Conor (33), parents to Imogen (18 months):

(Charlotte) “Nothing can completely prepare you for a baby coming home…at all. No matter what people tell you. You get home, and I remember we just put her in the car seat on the floor and looked at each other and went “Oh my God, what are we gonna do now? (laughs).”

Catherine (32) & Ricky (32), parents to Sadie (9 months):

(Ricky) “The love you have for your own child…you don’t think you can love someone that much, as you do. But how hard it is, it was eye-opening for me.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Swinford – Flickr

Caroline (36) & Allan (35), parents to Fionn (15 months):

(Allan) “Well my friend said to me, his advice to me was to get a decent pair of slippers and a dressing gown because you’ll be up most nights. I’d say that was pretty true. There were plenty of sleepless nights at the start anyway (laughs).”

Clare (36) & Ross (36), parents to Jamie (14 months):

(Ross) “I remember one of the first nights at home with him, I was in the living room at about four in the morning, sitting on a blue medicine ball with him bouncing up and down trying to get him to go to stop crying. And I remember being really paranoid the neighbours would think something terrible is going on here with all the crying (laughs).”

Charlotte (32) & Conor (33), parents to Imogen (18 months):

(Conor): “I always find it funny when one of us says ‘I’m tired’ and then the other person goes ‘oh…YOU’RE tired’ as if it was a shared energy, like we’re in competition for who is the most tired. If I get more sleep you get less sleep. They’re not actually related (laughs).”

Photo Credit: Rune Johansen – Flickr

Clare (36) & Ross (36), parents to Jamie (14 months):

(Ross) “Socially it’s changed a hell of a lot.” (Clare) “But when you go out you still enjoy yourself.” (Ross) “Yeah but we’re never out now, that’s the difference.” (Clare) “Yeah that’s true (both laugh).”

Catherine (32) & Ricky (32), parents to Sadie (9 months):

(Catherine) “You feel like everything is going to last forever. But my new motto for parenting is ‘everything is temporary.’

Photo Credit: Bernardo Aldana – Flickr

Circular: What are the most fun aspects of being a parent?

Charlotte (32) & Conor (33), parents to Imogen (18 months):

(Charlotte) “I think the most fun aspect is seeing her growing up and doing things she enjoys. You never get tired of seeing her develop and learn new things.

Caroline (36) & Allan (35), parents to Fionn (15 months):

(Caroline) “Like I’ve laughed more this morning than I would ever have in the morning time before I had him. He brightens up every day, like normal boring things.

Clare (36) & Ross (36), parents to Jamie (14 months):

(Clare) “The cuddles, the hugs. Every little milestone is so exciting and new.”

Photo Credit: S Butcher – Flickr

Catherine (32) & Ricky (32), parents to Sadie (9 months):

(Ricky) “Firsts of anything are always great. So like, she started saying ‘Dada’ a couple of weeks ago and it was a great buzz. Saying things like ‘Who’s your favourite?’ and she’d say ‘Dada!’ (laughs). Then a day later she started saying ‘Mama’ so that didn’t last long. You’re just ridiculously proud of them for doing the most mundane things.”

Caroline (36) & Allan (35), parents to Fionn (15 months):

(Allan) “He cracks me up. Yesterday he was making jokes with me. He was pretending to give me my phone, but then take it back off me, then pretend to give it to me and take it back off me again. That’s what I do to him with his soother, so obviously it was my own fault. I taught him how to do that (laughs).”

Photo Credit: Dave Smith – Flickr

Circular: What advice would you give to others who are about to become parents for the first time?

Catherine (32) & Ricky (32), parents to Sadie (9 months):

(Catherine) “Don’t do it! (laughs) I’m joking. I’m not sure really, I don’t think you really can prepare for it. It’s something you just learn to cope with when it happens.

Caroline (36) & Allan (35), parents to Fionn (15 months):

(Caroline) “People told me things. Everyone told me and they were so definite, ‘this is the way it is’ and ‘this is how babies are.’ And it wasn’t like that for me because its different for everyone. I know that’s the cliche but I think it’s true.

Clare (36) & Ross (36), parents to Jamie (14 months):

(Ross) “You lose your life a bit but then you gain so much through him. He has to be in your first thought for everything you do.”

Photo Credit: Rune Johansen – Flickr

Charlotte (32) & Conor (33), parents to Imogen (18 months):

(Charlotte) “You can’t just suddenly say let’s go out for a meal at 8 o’clock because she’s in bed (Imogen starts crying in the background) and someone needs to be here (laughs). So there’s no spontanaeity in the evening anyway.”

Caroline (36) & Allan (35), parents to Fionn (15 months):

(Caroline) “It is hard work and everything, but like, we’ve said it ourselves, our life is so different now. Not all in a good way. But we would never go back. We always say we couldn’t have gotten a cooler baby, and the work is so worth it.” (Allan) “It really is, it’s so worth it. As hard as it is, its brilliant.”

Clare (36) & Ross (36), parents to Jamie (14 months):

(Clare) “Someone said it to me once, ‘it’s the hardest and best thing you can ever do.’ And that’s so true.”

About The Author

Grandson of Carrie. Adult who likes pro-wrestling.

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