Who was it that said that having a baby is like chucking a grenade into a partnership? Turns out they were onto something as having a baby throws a real spanner in the works when it comes to relationships. It can drive a real wedge between even the most loved up of couples. However together you are as a couple once a baby comes you’ll recognise these common things that parents argue about.
Who is the tiredest?
This is probably the number one that parents argue about. Often it doesn’t even play out in words. Each may yawn loudly, stretch out their arms in an exaggerated fashion and sigh audibly to announce how tired they are. Each evening a daily battle about who is the tiredest, and who deserves a bit of time off ensues.
You’re doing it all wrong
Neither of you are experts at parenting but both of you are convinced you’ve figured out the best ways to get it right. When your parenting styles clash then it’s gloves off. Whether it’s the right way to burp your baby or the best angle to hold a bottle, you silently seethe when you see your partner doing it ‘wrong’ and can’t resist telling them.
The biggest spats can occur when you undermine each other. When one of you disciplines your child but then the other lets them off the hook or when one of you says your child can do something and the other then puts their foot down and forbids it. If only there was a rule book so you could sing from the same hymn sheet.
As soon as the nights begin to draw in, couples up and down the land embark on the daily fight about what temperature to set the thermostat. When you walk past the little heating control gizmo you bump it up or down a couple of degrees. A study found that a third of all couples argue about the temperature. 4 in 10 women covertly turn up the thermostat behind their partner’s back. Mums – if you want a killer reason to win this argument then know that science has proved that women are more sensitive to the cold. Women are more comfortable at a temperature 2.5 degrees higher than men.
Whose turn it is for a lie in
One of the hottest topics that parents argue about. Lie ins are the most precious commodity for parents. Who deserves one the most can become a heated debate. Come Saturday morning it’s not unusual for all sorts of underhand tactics and excessive bribes to take place to secure a lie in.
Whose turn it is to get up when the kids won’t sleep at night
When it comes to things parents argue about this one takes the biscuit. Your child is not ill, but they wake in the middle of the night and don’t want to go back to sleep…again. So who will be the lucky one to spend anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours resettling your little one back to bed? Whoever pretends to be sleeping the deepest gets to stay in bed!
What to watch on telly
Mums want to watch The Crown, Dads want to watch The Walking Dead. You’ll both probably fall asleep after 20 minutes of either as you’re both completely knackered. So much for Netflix and chilling!
Directions when you’re driving
Ah. Family holidays. Such a lovely time to relax and unwind. Except you have to get there first and one of the things that are bound to get you bickering is the best route to take. The annoying Sat Nav or Google Maps voice drives you insane and you insist you don’t need it. One of you wants to take a short cut, the other insists that’s a recipe for disaster. One of you wants to ask for directions, the other refuses to ask for help. The kids want to stop for a wee and say they feel sick. You both wonder if you should have set off at all!
Letting the children climb into your bed
Unless you decided to co-sleep then the nightly game of musical beds is a thing of friction that parents argue about. Your child wants to climb into your bed but your partner complains they can’t sleep. You’re so knackered you think you should just let them so you can all go back to sleep. Your child then sleeps like a starfish and both of you hover precariously over the sides of the mattress. One of you heads to the spare room or attempts to shoehorn yourself into your toddler’s too small bed just to get some shut eye.
Leaving the loo seat up/down
Up, down, each of you is convinced that one is right. When the loo seat is left in the opposite position, you seethe and bang it back up or down in an exaggerated fashion to make your annoyance clear.
How to load the dishwasher
Domestic issues top the list when it comes to what parents argue about. You’re both convinced you know the best way to stack it. And if your partner gets it wrong then you find steam coming out of your ears. The plates go THERE, the sharp knives go pointy end down but other cutlery goes eating end up. How hard can it be to know the rules? Again, this argument is often played out not with words but with audible sighs and noisy rearranging of crockery in front of one another.
Whose turn it is to empty the bin
One of the most rubbish of all household tasks and you’ll both do anything to avoid it. If that means shoving down all the rubbish with your feet and then gingerly placing a bit more on top then so be it. You’re NOT going to give in. The other one will get the message soon enough won’t they?
Who gets to go out on a weekend night
There’s a family calendar hanging in the kitchen and the rule is if it’s NOT written on the calendar then it can’t happen. You both childishly rush to scribble on your nights out. If there’s a clash then you both put forward complex and convoluted arguments about why you deserve to go out more than your partner.
Not quite completing tasks
Your partner leaves wet towels on the floor instead of hanging them on the radiator to dry, they make a sandwich and leave a crumby knife on the draining board. You go to the loo and your partner has left a microscopic piece of loo paper on the roll instead of changing it for a new one. Cue the red mist.
Eating something that was earmarked for the kids
If your partner ever dares to eat something you’d left for the kids then it’s gloves off. And if they drink or eat a treat you’d earmarked to enjoy once the kids are in bed then it’s all out war.
‘You’re breathing too loudly’
When you’re both completely exhausted and you’ve both put in every ounce of energy into the day, then it’s no surprise that the slightest thing can be irritating. The smallest sounds become infuriating noises. By the witching hour even the way your partner breathes can get your nerves jangling.
Remember you’re on the same team
You’re both working hard whether that means going out to work or staying at home with the kids. Neither of you can remember when you last had a stretch of time to yourselves, let alone a wee without an audience. It’s understandable that you’ll bicker and drive each other to distraction from time to time. But when the sparks fly and you both huff and puff and consider divorce because your partner put a plate wonkily across the dishwasher dividers take a step back. Breathe. And remember you’re both on the same team. You’re both in this together. This tiring stage will not last forever. It will pass and things will get easier.
Hold onto the magic
Find bits of time when you’re not quite so tired and when your little angels are sleeping or being lovely, then both stop for a moment and look at the little family you have created. Suddenly all the trivial arguments will fade into the background. Notice these golden moments and give each other a little squeeze when you do. And then hope that feeling of calm comes back next time you notice that the bin is overflowing or the loo seat is left up.