New mum’s outrage: “I heard my husband swear at our baby”

Posted in Relationships.

Let’s not beat around the bush.

Life with a newborn baby can be a touch trying at times and when things are stressful we’re not our best selves ALL the time.

But how would you feel if you walked into the nursery only to find your partner swearing at your baby?

That’s what happened to this mum who posted the following scenario on Mumsnet:

“I heard my husband swearing at our nine week old baby because she had a bit of reflux, AIBU [Am I being unreasonable] to be revolted by this?”

“He said to her ‘oh for f* sake (then her name)’ he had only been looking after her for a few minutes and we get plenty of sleep so no exhausted sleep deprived parents here.”

Did reading that make you uncomfortable?

I gotta say, as someone partial to the odd swear word, I feel really torn about this story. 

I mean, the ‘F’ word is pretty strong language so perhaps it’s not right to be said around a child, even if it is a nine-week-old baby? But then I also have sympathy with the guy. We had two reflux-y babies and really, it’s SO tough. All the crying that you can’t do anything about and the pacing up and down, burping the baby, sitting with the baby, standing with the baby. I get it. 

But … maybe there was a better word to use? 

There was an almost even split for the readers on the Mumsnet thread, too – with slightly more who felt the mum was “overreacting” and should be more understanding of her partner’s frustration. 

One person wrote: “Sounds like you need to cut him some slack. Everyone swears at their children at that age. It’s very stressful but hopefully should get better. Be nice to each other.”

Another said: “I agree that context is everything. Harsh tone and shouting at a baby are far worse than swearing about something.”

And then there was the straight-up response: “I think you are massively overreacting.”

Read more on newborns: 

Apparently babies ‘understand’ words at 6 months old 

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that babies develop an understanding of language from six months old.

They also found that the more a word was used around a child, the greater chance their eventual understanding of that word will become.

Apply that theory to the Mumsnet family and it gives some weight to the concerns. Of course, we don’t know much more about the family dynamic than what we’ve been told.

Maybe the dad was really just having a bad day. Nobody can be perfect all the time.

“Oh, knickers!”

If you’re inclined to be a bit potty-mouthed at times, you might also enjoy this suggestion from Berkley Parents Network. Apparently this couple’s son overheard the robot on a Wallace and Grommit episode using, “Oh, knickers!” as an expletive.

Needless to say that filled the little one with glee, and now the whole family use this phrase as their go-to for expressing frustration.

It might be a good alternative for those times where you really can’t hold onto the angry stuff!

The most obvious lesson in this story is to be considerate of the environment we’re creating for our growing children.

No matter what their age or stage, how we treat ourselves and each other becomes their foundation for understanding the world around them.


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