Why a baby makes you hate your husband

You will never, ever hate your husband as much as you will at some points after you’ve had kids.

Boiling, screaming, white-hot fury. You will go insane. You will stand in your kitchen throwing things at him, screaming at the top of your lungs, shaking and red. You won’t even cry, you’re that angry. If you had a knife in your hand …

It won’t be every day.

I’ve gone totally mad, absolutely screaming my head off about three times in three and a half years.

Not even once a month, but you will do this at least once after you’ve had children, even if you are saintly and patient.

I’ve gone totally mad, absolutely screaming my head off about three times in three and a half years. And my husband, my insane, shouty, mental husband, has looked at me in genuine fright and backed away.

At times, and this is the scary bit, your husband will hate you, too.

Although he might be better at swallowing it all down than you are. But he will. Sometimes he will look at you and not be able to remember what he saw in you. There will be times when both of you will think seriously about divorce – though, with any luck, not at the same time.

Those are just facts. I don’t know what you will fight about, or what your husband will say that will tip you over the edge and turn you into a Bertha Mason free-wheeling, knife-toting throttle-machine.

Maybe it’s the way that he leaves his dirty pants lying around for you to pick up. Or going out with his friends for an impromptu massive piss-up while you stay at home washing bottles and soothing a teething baby.

Esther Walker
Esther with Kitty and Sam

Or questioning the perfect and precise routine that you have for your children that makes his life easier, whining about not being able to go out for lunch because the baby sleeps in its own bed at lunchtime, or saying things like ‘Is he supposed to be asleep now, or awake?’ or walking into his own kitchen and wondering aloud where the knives, forks, salt, pepper, plates and so on are kept.

Or there might be darker things there, lurking. He might lose perspective and get personal, making judgements about weight, hair, looks – comparing you with other mothers who seem, to him, to manage their lives better (other people always do seem to).

He might put pressure on you to go out and have ‘fun’, when all you want to do is sit in your house and make sure the sky doesn’t fall in.

He might put pressure on you to go out and have ‘fun’, when all you want to do is sit in your house and make sure the sky doesn’t fall in.

He might demand to go on long-haul holidays with small children but refuse to manage the devastating effect the time difference has on their sleep.

He might be mean with money once you are no longer working, question every expenditure on coffees out with the baby or new jeans.

What I am getting at is that your husband will turn into a massive, awful cunt in any number of unfathomable ways, which you simply cannot foresee when you get married, or even when you get pregnant.

Babies will send you crazy, yes, but they will also send your husband crazy.

Babies will send you crazy, yes, but they will also send your husband crazy.

Why babies seek to drive their parents apart so comprehensively, so totally and finally at the most critical and fragile stage of their own lives (when you’d think they’d want everyone to stay right where they are and just be happy), is beyond me.

This is even if you manage your babies at arm’s length, make them sleep on their own in their own beds with a bedtime of 7pm sharp, so that you can go out for dinner occasionally and have the marital bed mostly to yourselves.

Silhouette of family with moon

If you do not do that, if you have the baby with you all the time, if you breastfeed for a long time, if you co-sleep, I cannot imagine what sort of wedge that drives between a couple, unless you are one of those one-in-a-thousand couples who agree totally and completely on how your children ought to be raised.

Because, however much you talk about what you will do once you have children, how you will be as parents, how you will be as a couple, when you have no real experience of babies, as most of us don’t, you cannot possibly anticipate the thing about kids that will rock your marriage.

There is always something. Always.

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This extract is taken from Esther Walker’s new book Bad Mother. If you can’t wait for the next instalment, buy and download the whole book here

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