15 Truths of Life in London with a Baby

By Clementine Wallop

  1.  You will come to despise whoever it is at TFL who is in charge of lift repairs. It simply cannot take that long. Especially you, Clapham Junction.

2. You are a world champion at juggling a baby, a flat white, rice cakes, your phone, a board book and a stick that may or may not be covered in dog pee. No, the coffee is not optional.

3. You will get used to people making funny faces at your baby on the Tube while they continue the traditional stony London gaze every time you catch their eye.

4.  You may not have eaten out in a year, but you have seen every single exhibition going at the Science and Natural History Museums. You now know more about space than Tim Peake.

5.  In moments of desperation, you send up a prayer to whoever it was who decided it should be possible to fit a pushchair into a black cab without collapsing it.

6.  You’re used to picking up cigarette butts in the playground to stop them becoming an afternoon snack.

7.  Your kid’s immune system is super-strength since that day he or she licked the wall of a Circle Line train. When non-Londoner friends ask, “But what about germs?” you give a nonchalant shrug.

8.  It doesn’t matter how cold, how wet or how grey it is: when you have no outside space and have been stuck in your flat for days, you ARE going to the swings.

9. You will spend wild amounts of time at Westfield. Because a) the family rooms, b) the food court where everyone else’s baby is also throwing chips around. However, you are in denial you’ll ever go to KidZania. John Lewis café is your happy place, John Lewis childrenswear department is your danger zone.

10. You know by heart which of your hangouts has the biggest loo cubicles (end of the row in the Ladies at the Royal Academy ftw).

11. You can leave the house with minimal kit because if you need snacks, you’re never more than six feet from a Tesco Express. Or a rat.

12. You become part of the only group in London that thinks it’s sensible to have a car.

13.  You will have impressive abs from using your baby carrier six months longer than anyone outside London just so you could avoid taking a pushchair around. After that, you will ignore any and all signs telling you not to take your buggy on the escalator. In some shops and the deeper Tube stops, this proves… challenging on your biceps.

14. You will, in the space of one momentous day, go from being someone who tuts at the number of babies in the pub at the weekend to being someone relieved at the army of Bugaboos in your local at Sunday lunchtime.

15. You will be endlessly surprised and delighted by the number of hard-as-nails Londoners who, it turns out, don’t mind kids as much as they say they do.