What’s that they say about best laid plans? Something about them not quite working out if my memory serves me right. After just over a year of hard slog on my studies, suddenly my whole life is on the verge of changing forever and I am suddenly confronted with the notion that my studies are going to become a heck of a lot more, er, ‘problematic’. I (well, that should really be ‘we’) have recently discovered that my wife is pregnant and is due to give birth in April next year. Despite the impression you may have received from the opening few lines, we are both ecstatic about the future addition to our household. We had both decided that, after a couple of years of travelling around and enjoying a lack of serious responsibility (well, if you discount the mortgage anyway), now was the time to start a family. Whether we are ready for it yet or not is an entirely separate matter (is anyone really ready?).
Of course, working in the ‘information industry’ I have already picked up several books from work (public libraries – they really are ‘da bomb’). It’s amazing how much information is out there, well for the female of the species anyway. For the men……not so much. I hunted and hunted and most of the books I found were on the blokey end of the spectrum (note to self – an opportunity to finally write that book??). The kind where the man sees his partner’s ‘bump’ as a handy place to rest his pint. Not for me. Thankfully I picked up a rather interesting title that avoids all the blokey cliches, whilst also providing a definitively male perspective on proceedings. Should you or your wife fall pregnant, I would certainly recommend it as a valuable guide.
I also picked up a valuable book that strips out all of the marketing spiel about the things you ‘must have’ for your future addition. The Which? Guide to Baby and Toddler Essentials advises you on what you really need and identifies the unnecessary tat that parents are told they must have (usually by the people that make them funnily enough). Although we are not intending to purchase any ‘essentials’ just yet, it will certainly assist us in the minefield that is ‘Mothercare’.
Anyway, aside from the sudden ‘oh lordy, responsibility’ reaction, I have been slowly realising the massive impact that this will have on my studies. Gone will be the peaceful evenings reading journal articles about ‘user-interface frameworks’ and ‘folksonomies’ (although peaceful is probably stretching it a little). In their place evenings spent cleaning bottoms and dealing with various bodily fluids. Things are definitely going to get more difficult.
But it is not just the sudden impact on the studying, it is the social aspect of it. The course itself has enabled me to relive my undergraduate days via the annual study school. Ostensibly it was an opportunity to attend lectures and air any grievances with the course. In reality it was just an excuse to experience the pubs in Aberystwyth and ‘blow the cobwebs away’. As a result of these study days I have met a number of people that I would consider to be good friends (whether they would think so is a different matter…) who have also helped to keep me motivated at times when I thought I was out of my depth or losing my marbles (meanwhile, they were losing the will to live with my continual calls for help). Interestingly, my two closest friends on the course are also in various stages of fatherhood. One has recently become a father and the other is also due to become a dad shortly before I am. There must have been something in the water at Aber. Helpfully, the new dad has also set up a blog on his experiences during the pregnancy and fatherhood in general so I should get a good idea of the impact this happy event will have on my attempts to study.
Sadly, I will be unable to attend the study school set for April 2009 so it looks like I will no longer experience lectures whilst suffering an epic hangover. Shame really as I think I will probably need it. Yep, life is certainly going to change. Although I will, of course, still find time to write a blog I’m sure. As for the studying, I guess I’ll just have to be focused, dedicated, determined……oh bugger.