Can you guess what this book is about based on its title alone? It’s probably the most straightforward (and hilarious) title I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m guessing it’s caught your eye the same it way it did mine a few months ago. When I saw this book in a publishers catalogue, I had to have it! And not because I hate my husband (which I don’t, for the record).
How to Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn is a book that tells you how to do exactly that, and even better; how to return to that loving feeling you felt for each other before two expanded to three (or beyond). I started with the title of this book because it is a great example of what you’re going to get throughout: practical, simple and easy to read advice on how to improve your marriage after kids. Obviously this is a book that’s going to speak directly to me, being a young mother myself, but I know that this is a huge issue for most people my age right now. It’s inevitable that your relationship is going to change when you have children, and this book gives you easy to understand tips on how to move your marriage into that next phase without so much bloodshed. And the problems Dunn and her husband have are fairly typical; she doesn’t feel as though her husband does enough around the house to help with their kid, even though they both work the same amount of hours. So she’s built up enough resentment that she yells at her husband on a pretty regular basis, and he just retreats to his cellphone. And before they had children, they rarely fought, their marriage was rock solid. Sound familiar? Some people may think I’m exaggerating when I talk about how drastically your life changes after kids-I guarantee those people are childless.
Now I’m not saying that every couple wants to get divorced after they pop out a kid. Of course not! In fact, I think having our daughter has improved my marriage, it has brought myself and my husband even closer together. But there’s no denying the fact that there are more arguments than there used to be, especially when kids are young and need endless attention. In fact, there is a statistic mentioned in this book that the average preschooler makes around three demands a minute on their parent. I’m not trying to scare you, but with this in mind, isn’t it obvious we need to make changes to our relationships to accommodate such an all-encompassing demand on your time?
Dunn uses her own marriage as the test-case for all the advice she seeks out; marriage counsellors, life organizers, parenting experts, even FBI hostage negotiators give her tips on how to: better relate to her husband, split up their time so they are still feeling personally fulfilled, and manage their expectations around parenthood to create the harmonious household everyone yearns for. But the best part about this book is the humour. Jancee Dunn is hilarious, this is one of the funniest books I’ve read in years, so it makes an awkward subject palatable, even fun! She also draws upon the experiences of her sister who has multiple children (Dunn and her husband have one six-year old) so you can see the practical application of her learnings on more than just one family. This gave me the hope that she wasn’t just a unique one-off; this work can really pay off for most people in the long run.
You don’t have to hate your husband (or partner) to find this book a worthwhile read, in fact, you can just be mildly annoyed by their lack of initiative and still come away with some extremely useful tips. So pass by those crocheted baby booties, and pick up this book for your next baby shower gift, it will be the best present the mom-to-be ever receives.