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"Everybody told me parenting would be hard. Nobody told me it would be fun."

When I told friends and colleagues I was pregnant, the parents among them responded with a tumble of well-meaning advice.

“Sleep now!” they said, cautioning that soon I’d be so exhausted, even my bones would feel tired. New parenthood was described as deeply frustrating and often, maddeningly mundane. Life with a newborn sounded more like going into battle than nurturing a new life.

“It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do,” warned one mother. “But also the most rewarding,” reassured another.

Of course, the advice I received wasn’t all negative. The mums and dads who’d gone before me also made promises of overwhelming, all-consuming love; a love unlike anything I’d ever felt before.

And they were right. I’m not able to adequately put words around how I feel about my little boy.

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“I’m not able to adequately put words around how I feel about my little boy.”

But there was one thing that everyone failed to mention. And for me, it has been the defining aspect of parenthood.

It’s fun.

That’s it. Everyone forgot to tell me that parenting is really good fun.

It’s fun and it’s funny. Parenting is smile-so-hard-it-hurts, laugh-out-loud, roll-on-the-floor, stitch-in-the-side funny. Since passing the hurdle of those achingly difficult first few weeks, I now smile and laugh more often than I have at any other time in my life.

Six months into being a mum, I’d argue that you can have more fun hanging out with a baby than doing just about anything else (besides, perhaps, the act that created them).

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The fun began five weeks into my son’s life, when he smiled at me for the first time. My husband argues it was just a poo-satisfaction smile but I maintain it was more. Because in that moment all those hellish, sleepless nights became slightly less painful. That smile belonged to me. I did that. I made him happy.

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A tiny twitch at the corners of my newborn’s lips and I was utterly elated.

By 12 weeks, my son had transformed from a little blob to a little baby and the fun times were bubbling over. There was the first explosive poo, which showered my arms, chest and t-shirt. The kind of event that would have had Pre Motherhood Me in tears but ended with my husband rushing to grab his camera phone to record my embarrassment.

We were both in hysterics, as I handed him the baby and stepped straight into the shower fully clothed.

Once my son reached 16 weeks, my favourite time of the day officially became first thing in the morning. Our baby wakes up with the sun and after a feed is full of gurgles and silliness, ready for a day jam-packed full of playing.

He lies in bed between my husband and I making grand gestures with his arms, like a politician at the despatch box. He sucks on his dad’s nose, grabs at the grown-up ears and gently (well, sometimes gently) strokes the stubble of an unshaven chin.

It’s strange that it took another person to remind me of the simple pleasure that is my husband’s handsome face.

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Watch Jamila talk about returning to work for the first time as a new mum:

Today, my son is six-months-old and he is a constantly moving blur. If he were a cartoon character the artist wouldn’t need to draw his form, just the wiggly speed lines of his always-in-motion limbs. He blows raspberries when he meets new people. He mysteriously manages to steal spoons from cafes by stashing them in his pram. He’s the first person in the world to actually enjoy my singing. He giggles with delight when his dad comes home from work.

Our family’s Saturday and Sunday mornings now begin with crazy loud music and silly dancing.

I wish they always had.

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“Having a front row seat as a new human being discovers the world for the first time, is a privilege.” (Image supplied.)

Having a front row seat to watch a new human being discover the world for the first time is a privilege. It has made the ordinary, joyful. Through my son’s eyes, the simplest things are exciting; the sound of paper being scrunched up, the feel of a woollen blanket, the taste of strawberries. His eyes widen with wonderment, as each month brings more new things to discover.

So to all the soon-to-be, planning-to-be, or hoping-to-be parents out there, I have this to say: Yes, it is hard. Yes, you will be tired. And yes, the love is large. But don’t let anyone scare you into thinking parenting means that life stops being fun. The opposite is true.

Do you have children? What are the times parenting has been fun for you?

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