When you become a parent, you unearth a love like no other and you discover that your heart can live outside of your body. A mother’s love is protective, brave, fiery, animalistic, and I take my role as a mother bear seriously. But, I disagree with everyone who says you must put your children first.
My husband and I have spoken often about our parents’ relationships and how it’s influenced us and our own lives, it made me wonder what our own children will say about our marriage when they are older.
The experiences we had with our parents brought me to the realization that partners get wound up in caring for their kids, their jobs, their homes, and everything else, that they neglect themselves and their marriage. I want a different relationship with my husband and I’m cultivating it with each passing day.
I brought this topic up with friends, co-workers, and other mothers, they all believe I’m insane for putting my husband before my children. My response is “thats why majority of relationships fail, because you aren’t putting your relationships first,” your kids are a gift that stemmed from your relationship, you need to care for and nourish that foundation. If you and your husband are unhappy, your children will be too.
I put my husband before our kids because their happiness depends on ours. Date nights are a priority in our relationship, we venture out without our kids (mainly our toddler because I breastfeed), when we’re together we put our phones away and have conversations, and if we have problems we carve out time to discuss our issues and tackle them before they get out of hand. Furthermore, we both understand the need for physical intimacy so we make time for sex, no matter how tired we are or how busy our days were, we need that time to connect.
“Don’t you have mom guilt? I couldn’t imagine putting someone else before my kids!” Of course I do! Anyone who knows me well, knows that being a mother is important to me and I cherish my daughters, I devote all of my time and love to them. Needless to say, it’s the love my husband and I share for each other that brought these two beautiful humans into the world and I am beyond grateful and thankful for my girls. On the contrary, having babies doesn’t mean I should neglect the person I created them with. Children follow the “monkey see, monkey do” motto rather than “do what I say,” and they will make decisions based on what they learn from their parents, and the way they lead their lives will be based off their upbringing and how their parents treated them and one another. When you take all of this into consideration, what kind of example do you want to set for your children?
Let’s put this into perspective: If you and your spouse are constantly tired, annoyed, frustrated, or depressed from fighting with one another, and you’re drained and feeling unappreciated by them, how do you work out all of those feelings? In return, your kids get caught in the crossfire because your mind is muddied with the emotional stress and trauma of what’s going on in your relationship. Your kids will get the shit end of the stick which is the irritable, short-tempered, not so patient, emotionally absent parent. They will witness your bickering, the fighting, the hurt, and the pain, and those feelings and moments stick with your children.
I want my daughters to evolve into wholesome, kind, and enlightened humans, I will abstain from poisoning their minds with memories of their father and I arguing, slamming doors, abandoning each other, or even separating, I want them to witness a strong and loving relationship between their parents because I know it sets the tone for their future relationships.
I put my husband before our kids because their happiness depends on ours.
Are you aware that an individual is more likely to date and marry someone that shares characteristics similar to those of their parents? As human beings we constantly seek out familiarity and we’re drawn to people who resemble those who raised us. The women in my family, my extended family, close friends, the individuals I graduated high school with, they all ended up in a marital situation like that of their parents, they all sought out the familiar.
Jay and I love our daughters unconditionally and we wouldn’t trade them or the lives we lead for the world. However, we understand that in order for us to care for our girls and raise them with flourishing minds and gentle hearts, we must tend to ourselves and our marriage because you can’t pour from an empty cup.
We took a week long honeymoon in December of 2018, my mom guilt was eating away at me terribly because it was the first time I was spending more than one night away from my child, and I was going to be extremely far away from her, but during that vacation together I realized that’s exactly what we needed. Jay and I were engulfed in parenting, working, preparing for our second daughter, and finding an apartment, that we were losing ourselves and each other. Eight days and seven nights away kid-free, uninterrupted meals, spontaneous sex, naps, waking up and going to sleep when we wanted to, it was exactly what the doctor ordered and reminded us both how much we love one another.
I’m putting my husband first, I’m putting our marriage and our love for each other first and foremost because I want to grow old with him, we promised in sickness and in health, till death do us part; Jay and I need to be glowing and thriving in order for our children to be.
What kind of example do you want to set for your children?
If you feel stretched thin, are short-tempered or irritable, you want to be catered to and need attention, you and your spouse have been arguing, or haven’t had sex recently, then you need to drop your kids off with someone you trust and tend to yourself and your marriage. Your children need healthy, lively, and cheerful parents to care for them, not grumpy adults with empty cups.
Wives, husbands, put your spouse before your children because in order for them to thrive your relationship needs to. You can’t build unless you have a stable foundation and I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in everyday life, but you need to nourish the relationship and the person that you chose to spend the rest of your life with.
When your children grow older, go off to college and start lives of their own, you don’t want to find yourself married to a stranger or counting the days until the divorce is finalized. Can you imagine living in a house day after day with someone you hate just for the sake of your kids and now that your kids are gone you’re bitter and alone? All it takes is a conversation, time away, and some respect to keep loving the person you married and made those children with. I understand that sometimes shit gets real and you can’t do it anymore, but in the majority of those situations the problem is lack of communication and affection.
Did you know infidelity is the top reason for divorces? This may be an unpopular opinion but I believe you drive someone to committing adultery. Honestly, I had a problem with monogamy until I met my husband, but that’s a topic for another day. Nonetheless, if you’re not supporting your partner, or being affectionate, if you’re constantly bickering, lost your passion and aren’t having sex, if you let yourself go, and stop taking care of your mind and your body and put your children first, you’re asking to be cheated on. Why would I say such a terrible thing? Because it’s true and you may be in denial. I know we all change after having kids and getting married, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself. I can’t stress it enough that you need to keep nourishing and taking care of your family’s foundation and that is your marriage.
“Aren’t you supposed to put your children first?” Yes, in a way. You are their protectors, you are responsible for their health, their well-being, and their overall happiness. But, you can’t ignore the person you made those children with. Can you imagine how that feels? Always being pushed to the back burner because of the kids? We are all more than capable of making time for ourselves, our spouses, and our families. I don’t believe in the whole concept of “I’m too busy” you make time for your priorities in life.
I know Anaís and Katya love their dad and I, I know they will understand why we want time away, and I know they would rather we go away for date nights, or lock our door at night once-in-a-while rather than us fighting, abusing, neglecting, or hating each other. I want my daughters to have their own healthy romantic relationships when they are older, I want them to choose someone they will be joyous spending the rest of their lives with. I don’t want them to settle or be conditioned into believing toxic behaviors are acceptable, I want more for them and I’m setting the example now.
I put my husband before our kids, because I know their happiness depends on ours.
A happy wife and mama