The first two years following childbirth are the most stressful years of our lives – that’s the verdict of a new study which suggests that the first 24 months following a first born witness more bickering and marital strife than at any other time across the course of a lifetime.
The survey of 2000 British parents implies that the arguments start even before the little one is born, with 39% of parents arguing over the choice of name, 17% disagreeing on having their own parents or in-laws involved in making child-rearing decisions and 15% of parents struggled to agree on which baby equipment to buy.
Furthermore, 6% quarreled about the length of maternity leave to take and 10% disagreed on having their partner attend antenatal classes.
The study suggests that once the little bundle of joy arrives couples don’t have long to wait until niggles over the new baby responsibilities kick in! New parents claimed that agreeing on who gets up in the middle of the night to tend a screaming/hungry baby (38%) and deciding on how to spend the family finances (24%) were the areas most likely to give rise to disputes.
A lack of intimacy can also cause friction (23%) however it is often the more mundane chores such as Nappy changing (and share of) that provide the trickiest challenges for squeamish new parents with 22% of respondents admitting to this being a big bug bear in the early stages.
The top 10 key flashpoints for new parents were defined as follows:
- Night-time Baby Duties (38%)
- Finances – How to spend money (24%)
- Lack of Intimacy (23%)
- Changing nappies (22%)
- Household chores (19%)
- Lack of social life (17%)
- In Laws (too much parental involvement) (14%)
- Child rearing methods (12%)
- Partners being less attentive (lack of compliments etc) (11%)
- Education (7%)