'If you don't laugh, your head might implode' – Karen Koster admits children can put pressure on a marriage

Virgin Media One presenter Karen Koster has admitted that having three children under the age of four can be quite a challenge – and a test for any marriage.

The bubbly presenter is currently on maternity leave following the birth of her daughter Eve in June, and is soon to return to presenting Xposé.

Karen, who made a documentary Mammy Guilt with Virgin Media One last year, this week told VIP magazine that she has to stop herself playing “the martyr card” to her husband John when she’s tired.

Life in the Koster/ Maguire household is busy with Eve (seven months), JJ (3), and Finn (4) all at their own life stages.

“Some people say the first year of marriage is really tough but I think the pressure children can put on a marriage is immense.”

“So yes, I think you have to make each other laugh; you have to get through it together as a team and you have to stop keeping a score card.”

“It’s like that saying: Man decides he’s tired and gets up and goes to bed. Woman decides she’s tired and gets up and starts cleaning the kitchen, hovering the house, decluttering the wardrobe!”

She added: “If you don’t laugh, your head might implode. We definitely make each other laugh and I don’t think there’s ever been a fight with John where I don’t end up slagging him, or likewise he me. We had a few words about me wanting to go out for lunch on a Saturday afternoon recently because it clashed with his football, by the end of it it all worked out and we got a babysitter, but you can really play the martyr card.”

Eve, who was born just days after Karen and John’s five-year wedding anniversary, is a model baby, she says, but the lack of sleep can be “hard”.

“I remember the first two weeks after she was born, John would come home from work, and he’d be like, ‘How is Eve?’ And I was like, ‘She is my model baby’. She did exactly what she was supposed to in terms of feeding and sleeping, and she has kind of continued like that. Obviously I am biased and think she is fabulous, but I have to say she is a pleasure to be around. She’s a total dote.”

“But the lack of sleep is very hard and your coping mechanisms are depleted. One thing I did after having JJ is, if John said, ‘Is there no milk?’, I tried not to take it personally.”

“Before I’d be like, ‘I can’t believe you asked me that, do you know what I did for the whole day?’” 

“Whereas now I’ll say, ‘No, there’s none, would you go to the shops?’ Or I’d say, ‘John apparently it was on the news that men are now allowed to go to the supermarket!’ I’ve had to literally re-wire my brain.”

Karen says she has found a sense of calm and “rewired her brain” as she emerges from what she calls “the fog of motherhood”.

“I used to stand at the kitchen sink when all was getting too much and say, ‘This too shall pass’. But I’ve noticed that I don’t say it as much anymore. I think I’m getting better at tuning it all out.”

Karen, who hopes to pitch more documentaries to Virgin Media One, said she didn’t ever consider having children until she met John.

“Having kids was not on my radar at all. I wasn’t the first to run over in the office and squeeze the new baby when a mum came in. I wanted to work in TV, that was my goal in my 20s.”

“And then I met someone lovely and I saw how great he was with his nieces and nephews and then I was like, hmmm, a baby would be great with him.”

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