Jancee Dunn’s ‘How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids‘ was simply brilliant. She has an eloquent way with words, and her edgy sense of humor makes her seem relatable, a quality I deem necessary for this type of book. I laughed, cringed and reflected on a lot of my own situations while reading her stories. I also absorbed all of the delicious facts, there’s A LOT of studies shared in this book *swoon*. In conclusion, it’s not just nonsense, it’s science. Here are 5 lessons I’ve learned from the book
1. Kids change us
I love my husband, and if I saw this book title before we had kids I would have laughed and put it down naïvely thinking “I feel bad for other people that aren’t as in love as me”. Welp younger me, wrong again (surprise surprise). This book has taught me that absolutely everything changes with kids, including us in so many more ways than just physically. Kids rewire our brains and take our hormones on an adventure. It’s no wonder we all make similar mistakes such as: keeping score “I changed the last diaper, it’s your turn“, counting breaks “what were you doing in the bathroom for so long?” and my personal favorite the “you’re doing it wrong! … here, I’ll do it myself!” Jancee does a great job reassuring us though, that despite how hopeless your situation may feel, it can improve with work. The book follows her and her husband on their path back to the marriage ‘good place’. Frankly, if their dysfunctional, passive aggressive relationship can be fixed, so can yours.
2. What year is it?
Not only do we lose track of the time after kids in our sleep-deprived stupor, often, we somehow slide into traditional gender roles from back in the day as well. It’s as if the fact that women have uteruses means we’re more suited to menial work such as the cooking, most of the cleaning and of course, the kids. Studies show that this was true even when both parents worked full-time jobs. Culturally, we’ve all accepted a few things to be true, ‘mothers intuition’ being one of them. Despite the fact that there are two new parents in the equation, men often feel like their wives simply ‘know what to do‘, which is nonsense. Though men are doing a lot more chores than their male ancestors, women are still doing the vast majority… which in the words of Jancee Dunn, is absolute bullshit! ‘How Not to Hate your Husband After Kids‘ provides countless note-worthy solutions to get more help with everything. You deserve to relax mama, you do too much.
3. Dad Guilt isn’t a thing.
Men generally don’t make other men feel guilty about things, women on the other hand, seem to do this for a living. The reason for the judging? The physical appearance of themselves and their kidS and house cleanliness, breastfed instead of formula fed, vaccinated vs unvaccinated, the list is infinite! Moms seem to feel all the guilt when it comes to making time for themselves, or taking time away from the family to relax. Jancee shares countless studies that prove time and time again that women typically feel more stressed when the home is unkept, because they are much more likely to be judged over it than men. The numbers were eye-opening for me. They make me want to start a #StopMomShaming movement, let’s be better.
4. Go ahead, fight… but consider some ground rules.
Don’t avoid them! Consistent low-level tension is palpable in a household and studies show that it may even hinder a child’s development from as early as 6-months old. Sometimes the hard conversations sound a lot like fighting. Nonetheless, in order to promote peace and harmony within a relationship you both have to be willing to get real, and talk about the hard stuff in a way where both of you feel listened to and respected. Learn to fight fairly without insulting, patronizing, screaming and getting physical. Do it for the kids! Conflict isn’t bad for children, you’re teaching them how to hash things out and negotiate resolutions which are invaluable life skills. Language is everything, changed your language, save your marriage.
5. You married the love of your life
For some reason people, including the author of this book, find themselves in a place where they don’t remember the last time they’ve gone on a child-free date with their spouses. As tacky and commercial as they’ve been made to be, date nights away from your kids are absolutely necessary for a happy marriage. Resentment has a way of intensifying and small annoyances are magnified when you don’t get any *clears throat* alone time with your partner. Make this a priority, hire a sitter if you have to, but leave the house and enjoy each others’ company at least once a month. Studies show that couples that have a scheduled date nights were more likely to describe their marriage as “very happy”. The kids will be fine! A child exposed to a diverse amount of caretakers, thrives! Too much of the same old thing, meaning you, could be detrimental. Let them grow, let them go.
I cannot stress this enough, if you have children, read this book. I haven’t even scratched the surface here! Do yourself the service of improving your relationship for the better (even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with it).
Thank you Jancee Dunn, this book was a game-changer for me.