Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Love: How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn

First off, I have to clarify that I do not hate my husband.  Not at all.  BUT I was immediately intrigued by this book because, as most parents know, it can be all too easy to let the co-parenting part of your relationship overshadow the actual couple who loves each other part.  I mean, it's pretty easy when the baby comes and is ~7 pounds of adorableness, who also needs a lot of attention and love and time and...can quickly be very consuming.

You don't need to be a marriage expert to know you also need to be pouring love into (usually) the first relationship in your family - your spouse.  They may not be quite as cute as that squishy smiling baby but there is a reason you fell in love with them in the first place.

This book is part memoir, in that "let's focus on something new every month for 9-12 months and see how it improves my life" genre.  Which makes it more real and doesn't distract from the lessons and research.  I don't just want to read about how to improve my marriage but also how they steps you are suggesting actually helped you improve yours.  It's much more compelling to have a personal aspect as well.

We start with the author, Jancee, and her husband, their story and then how they had a kid.  They live in New York (which is always going to be compelling to me but doesn't really impact the story much so don't let that deter you if you aren't the I ♥ NY t-shirt type).  (I own the t-shirt.)  She goes over some of their issues and consults a variety of experts and friends with how they can improve, why they have these problems.

And it's typical: How do we split chores? How do we make our weekends not suck when we are no longer sleeping in and doing fun "we don't have a kid or have to worry about childcare" things?  How do we solve our disagreements?  How do we deal with money with kids - both allowance type and how much to spend on them.  And yes, sex, of course, is covered (which I am not talking about because...I'm not.  But there is a non-graphic chapter on it.)

It was so refreshing to see so many of the arguments we've had spelled out on the page and know it's not just us being crazy (or maybe it is) but that they are common, things many/most parents might fight about.  Healthy ways to resolve and address those issues so we can move past and live happier lives.  There were many times I was nodding along while reading, thinking "Yep...we've had that conversation."  ("Conversation" sometimes being the polite way of putting it.)

It was both reassuring but also a little scary, seeing how things might get a little more complicated when school and all those activities are thrown in.  But mostly reassuring (I'm also hyper-aware right now to any ways school will be changing up our routines.  And really relishing these last months of it not.)  Their daughter was 7-8ish when this was written so it's not about how to deal with teenagers (hold me) and they do only have one kid.  But, hey!  So do we!  So a lot of what I read was applicable to our lives.

There was even a whole chapter dedicated to clearing up clutter which happens to be one of my favorite topics.  I love when books tell me what to get rid of, how to organize.  They even consulted with the author of Secrets of an Organized Mom which I talked about way back here! (And is now on my "to reread list").

You don't have to hate your husband to read this book.  Not even dislike him.  If you have young kids and even consider your marriage to be pretty good...I'd recommend this.  It gave me a lot to think about in terms of how we handle disagreements and what kind of relationship and marriage I hope we are modeling for our son.  It was definitely worth the time.  Who doesn't want to improve their marriage?

Goodreads | Amazon

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