Congrats, You're A Parent - Bring On The Comedy Bickering!

Heard the one about the harassed mum frantically preparing food for a three-year-old's birthday party while her husband runs an 'urgent' errand...

Which is apparently the correct label for getting your fantasy football league's trophy engraved literally minutes before a hoard of marauding toddlers in search of a sugar high descends on the local village hall.

No, not a scene from a bad family sitcom, just one of the weekly triggers in our house that can descend into comedy bickering.

Others that never fail include unwanted 'health and safety' tips from the other half.

"Sar, I probably shouldn't ask but you haven't ever dried Immy's hair while she's in the bath have you?"

And playing what my husband and I like to call the 'my life is harder' game.


Don't tell me your commute is a daily nightmare. You get to read the newspaper and send work emails without a whinging toddler clinging to your leg demanding biscuits!


Anyone with kids will tell you that bringing them home from the hospital is just the start of a major shock to the system that lasts for at least the next 18 years.

Whilst raising a family is probably the single most fulfilling and joyful thing many of us will ever do it's also bloody knackering, occasionally tedious and often frustrating.

So little wonder then that those exhausting and bewildering early days of having children are also often some of the toughest on the relationships closest to you – primarily with your other half.

Love for little people is like none you've ever known before, but it also causes a shift in priorities and less time to focus on your partner and his or her needs. And that can mean ridiculous rows over the smallest things become the order of the day – or in fact the year.

Hubby and I have been known to share humdingers over gems such as dribble bibs – to put them down to sleep in, or not?, who emptied the dreaded nappy bin last, his obsessive gardening, my obsessive tidying and whether one of us is in fact a chewing gum thief.

And bickering anecdotes from friends reveal we're far from alone.

Take Linda who once in a blind rage ripped a couple of tortillas to pieces in front of her husband – because he let them get a 'bit too crispy.'

Or Shell who spent far too long heatedly debating with her other half whose side of the bed the baby nest should be attached to.


Or my personal favourite, Tara, who has been known to have blazing rows with her husband - while he's sound asleep, and to become even more enraged when he wakes up and sleepily enquires why she's so disgruntled.


Let's face it sometimes you have to let it out or go mad – whether or not the other half is conscious or not.

Even the rich and famous aren't immune. Actors Jamie Bell and Rachel Evan Wood split up recently with reports saying their troubles started after having their 11-month-old son.

Who knows, maybe even Gwyneth and Chris' 'conscious uncoupling' was partly caused by a stand-off over who stacked the dishwasher last.

Sandra Wheatley, a social psychologist with a special interest in families, says it's hardly surprising that having children often goes hand in hand with a rise in rowing.

"Becoming a parent is really difficult," she explains. "You're constantly learning on the job, under all kinds of pressure to perform and juggling a host of new responsibilities.

"We put pressure on ourselves to try and do everything perfectly and of course real life isn't like that. It's hard to be kind in that scenario when you feel like you're floundering.


When you feel your grip on things slipping and you're trying to 'enjoy' being mum or dad when you're absolutely knackered it's no wonder you take things out on those closest to you.


"It's hard to give your other half the benefit of the doubt when you're mind-numbingly exhausted and your emotional and physical resources are running on empty."

The good news is that the bickering, comedy or otherwise, does tend to ease over time – perhaps as your confidence grows in your own parenting abilities or maybe simply because you just don't have the energy any more.

'"With every year that passes as a mum or dad there's a sense of: 'Yes, they're still alive!" Sandra says. "You must be doing something right so as time goes by you relax into the role.

"You start to see the bigger picture more clearly and it becomes too tiring to pick a fight over every tiny thing. Plus you don't have the head space to not let things go any more!"

After all who really wants to go 10 rounds over sterilising bottles? Life's too short.

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