It's true, when we are not finding ways to blend nano-magic into our range of clever baby and toddler clothes, the team at Parental Instinct takes their rugby pretty seriously, as you can see from the photo of Chris "Big Daddy" Baff's daughter Annabelle when she was just 2 months old.
And now as the frenzy of Super Rugby 2017 kicks off and we enter the last two games of the 6 Nations and the excitement of the British and Irish Lions, we realise that being a parent is not too different from playing rugby. Here are, 10 ways in which the two are so similar.
It's all about survival Everyone starts the season intending to play attractive running rugby, keeping the ball in hand and scoring in multiples of 7, but when a few games go against you, suddenly you're looking for the much more pragmatic approach in order to get a result. It’s exactly the same with parenting, you come in with all these great ideas about how you're going to be the best parent ever, but eventually it comes down to survival and the realisation that not everyone can play for the All Blacks.
No one understands the judiciary That’s right, your baby is the equivalent of the SANZAAR judiciary panel, and there is no rhyme or reason to their decisions. A player gets three weeks for a strong tackle one week, then someone takes another bloke's head off a week later and he gets off Scott free! Same with your baby, although instead of weeks you get hours, and instead of game time it’s taken off your sleep time. You can do everything the same one day to the next, and the first day you get 8 blissful hours of unbroken sleep, but the next you're in the sin bin every 45 minutes….
Set moves come apart and you have to play what's in front of you You don’t always score from first phase ball, and when it breaks down you need to play what's in front of you, making the best decision you can. So, dinner is at 6pm every night. What happens when you're at a braai and your mate only lights the fire at 6? You just need to make the best of a bad situation and hope the coach and the journos don’t scream at you too much after the match!
There's never a guarantee you'll score Games are tough and tiring, played at frenetic pace, but no matter how much you try, sometimes you just won't score. The flashy bloke on the wing will regale you with his scoring exploits, but you know only two blokes on the team actually got in.
The administrators don’t have a clue Sure they have been around rugby for a long time, but they haven’t actually played for 30 years, and the game has moved on since then. But they will manage to confront you in the change room after the game, when you're at your most tired. They will also let you know what you should have done, when all you really want is to hit the showers and get to bed.
Hangover? Um, not an option... No matter what the coach says, he really does mind if you turn up to recovery with a hangover.
Sometimes you have to take contact You might consider yourself a master distributor, or find ways to swan around on the wing, but sometimes the ball comes your way and there is nothing to do but put your head down, roll with the shoulder and change that nappy.
Injuries can throw the best teams into disarray Maybe one of the players is out for a few days with a niggle (or work commitments) and it means that the other senior players need to step up and take on more. But as much as they think they can handle it, it’s a sure fire way to burn out and loose form. Trust the substitutes around you to do their job so you can keep doing yours at the highest level: it’s what you do best.
It's OK to blow off some steam Yes, you can throw some harsh words at the opposition, but if it ever goes beyond handbags, you're going to get sent off!
Learn from your mistakes If you don’t have a great season this year, learn from it, look at what other teams are doing well and make changes for the next season. Don’t worry, you have about 18 seasons left as a professional and you’re not going to make the play offs every year….