Arguing After Kids

"Oh, I'm just so mad, Jumbo. I can't...I can't even look at you right now!"

Before I had kids, I was a skilled and logical debate opponent. There wasn’t a position that I couldn’t successfully support – my husband didn’t stand a chance. My side of the argument would include impressive, whip-smart moves like:

1. Thoroughly disagree with point spouse made about President Bush’s speech on blah blah blah! (Remember this was before we had kids).

2. Make brilliant point about Bush’s equivocation on the word “policy,” or some such fancy wordy thing.

3. Refer to article by well-known and respected so-and-so in some appropriately opaque publication like The Economist or The Wall Street Journal.

4. Conclude with incisive and little known fact pulling whole argument together.

5. Be quite graceful in victory as spouse gasps at size of my intellect.

Now, post kids, my marital arguments go something like this…

1. Disagree with spouse about X.

2. Immediately become distracted from X by child that needs to poop.

3. Return to feeling irritated with spouse while trying to remember what X was.

4. Find something else to argue about that has nothing to do with X – preferably something that begins with “You always…”

5. Figure out midway through that new argument is completely unreasonable.

6. Continue to argue on principle. After all, spouse is wrong about something.

7. Interrupt self to tell spouse something adorable that child did earlier – like when asked what month it is declaring that it is “Maypril.”

8. Laugh together and then remember that one is supposed to be mad at spouse.

9. Agree to move on as long as spouse acknowledges that he was completely wrong about everything.

10. Be grateful that one has quite a reasonable spouse.

How do the arguments go down in your house? Have you maintained your fine sense of logic and diplomacy?

Photo Credit:  rogiro.

About Peryl Manning

Peryl Manning is somewhat (and pleasantly) surprised to find herself the mother of two almost freakishly dimpled little boys. She isn’t sure she should be the one in charge though; at thirty-something she still manages to somehow end up sitting in her own gum, and last week she found her credit card in the fridge with the leftover pizza. She loves mellow moms and Ayelet Waldman; she hates judgy moms and truffle oil. She juggles kids, contributing to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Momtastic and Mamazina Magazines, and other parenting publications, with whatever grace she can summon.


  1. Cassie says:

    Technically – you still win… just without the finesse of pre-children arguments…

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  2. Dusty says:

    So funny, Peryl. The post-spawn arguments may not be quite as satisfying, but they are kinder and gentler.

  3. Ms. A says:

    As long as I win, I care nothing about logic and diplomacy!

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