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Marriage or kids #1 priority? - Page 2

post #21 of 116
I reject the idea that either has to be a priority over the other. Also, my mom used to say this stuff to me when I was a kid. "You have to understand, your dad is my first priority. If I had to choose between him and you, I'd have to choose him. He'll be here after you leave. I have to tend my marriage and that has to be my priority." Frankly, it made me feel like complete crap.
post #22 of 116
Ouch.
I love my DH so much, but I have to tell you, my kid is my #1 priority right now because she CANT care for herself. Maybe things will be different when they are older. I dont feel like the kids (well, one is in utero) take emotional priority over DH, but they do in other ways. For example, if DD is upset and grumpy and wants me to hold her and cuddle her and nurse, I will call DH and tell him he should pick something up for dinner because I wont be able to make it tonight. If I had to "choose" between my kids and my husband, of course I would choose my kids- DH is capable of surviving with out me (sort of, he at a lot of ramen noodles when we were broken up once). I am responsible for my children because I created them. I didnt create DH, I just made a promise to him. While I have no intentions of breaking that promise, I would never say I would choose him over our kids. That statement makes me uneasy because I know that is how a lot of women think while they stand by and allow their husbands to beat or molest their children. (Im not saying that is your situation, its just what it makes me think of) We are here to nurture, love, and protect our children. A husband should be a part of that, but if he cant be, the kids come first everytime.

Family is the #1 priority in my life.
post #23 of 116
Yeah I guess if it came to it, my kids would be my first priority, and my husband wouldn't have it any other way. I mean let's say CPS came and said, "Either your husband moves out or we take your kids." Which they'd have to reason to, but still I'm positive he'd go without question and I'd stay with the kids, because they need me in a way he doesn't.
post #24 of 116

Kids are #1, without doubt or hesitation.

post #25 of 116

Ideally, marriage and kids should be pretty evenly balanced. I know that, in my situation, the kids ended up coming first for me, since my (then) husband was out of town a lot (like, 50% of the time) and very fixated on his career. He actually seemed okay with that, but I had trouble always coming in third. It was a significant factor in our divorce.

 

Your spouse should be able to handle more flexibility, but that relationship needs to be nurtured as much as the one(s) with your children. Make real time for your spouse - it's important.

post #26 of 116

My marriage will always come first in some way. I need to nurture that relationship at all costs, however there are points where the kids will come first. Like now DD is more of a priority because she is not able to take care of herself. As they get older priorities will shift. I am me first, wife second, mom third. However at this moment I am mom first and everything else just kinda falls where it needs to be. For me its all about balance between them all. And at different points they each have a higher priority then the others at that moment. I can't be a good mom or wife if I can't take care of myself. Just as I can't be a good mom if I have having a emotional breakdown in my marriage for whatever reason. So they all have to balance each other. I will always be there for my kids but they do grow up and leave. If I don't tend to my marriage I may end up with nothing when that happens. 

 

Its important for me that DD goes to bed every night around the same time so I can get time with DH. Just as its important for me to get up when he does before DD wakes up so I can get some me time. Thats where I enjoy my coffee and get the most of my internet time in. And even though I was exhausted and could easily sleep when DH gets up for work, for me that was one area that if I could continue in doing was getting up making his coffee and talking to him. I can always go back to sleep if need be. But it was one way to keep my marriage a priority. 

Date night actually out of the house yeah not happening yet. Not because we don't want to but because we seriously don't have the time. So one way we do things is after DD goes down we plan something special whether it be a late night meal, with a movie or game or sitting outside by a fire and talking. Supper time. Well I will feed DD first then wait to eat with DH once he gets home. I will always make supper unless he tells me otherwise like he won't be home till 10 at night. The rule is if he isn't home by 730 then I go ahead and eat without him because well at this point in my pregnancy I just can't hold out much longer..lol 

post #27 of 116

I've been told this, too, and it made perfect sense to me until I read the responses on this thread. I think there is some value in treating your marriage as #1, but of course not to the detriment of your kids' well-being. It is true that the marriage will be there long after the kids are grown and out of the house, so it needs to be nurtured in order to stay strong, and so that you and DH have SOMETHING there after the kids are gone. But I don't think that necessarily means you have to have a sitter lined up every weekend and set times of day that are kid-free zones, etc. DH and I spend time together after DS is asleep. We don't banish him from the house til we're done with our together time, but we do make time for each other. AFTER DS is asleep.

 

DS's needs are nearly always my first priority. That means some days I don't get to shower. I certainly don't usually get to shower ALONE and have "me" time. Sometimes I think that can get to be extreme and not so good for me. Mamas come on here all the time, overwhelmed and are told to find time for themselves. I'm working on that, too, especially now that DS is older, and I can say, "Later" or have him come with me to the gym and wait in the babysitting room while I exercise. But I would never say to DS, "No, I'm not going to play with you right now b/c Daddy wants to talk about his day." Let Daddy wait til DS is asleep. THEN he can bitch at me about his boss and coworkers. Likewise, I would never say to DH, "Oh, sorry. You'll have to finish your story later, b/c DS just decided this moment that he wants to play." DH will finish up the big picture and then we play. This way, the marriage IS coming first, b/c DH knows that I am making time for him. But DS's needs for attention also are getting met.

 

The thing is, DH's parents got divorced when DH was in college. If my marriage isn't a priority now, that is where we'll end up. How is that good for DS? I'm not demonizing divorce in all cases, and especially if there's abuse or something, of course it has to happen. But parents who simply drift apart and choose not to get along anymore .... That doesn't seem like it's good for the kids. At least it wasn't for DH and his siblings. So in that respect, making your marriage the priority IS making your kids the priority, b/c you're showing them not only how to be a good spouse, but you're providing them with a united family that will be there to support them when they need it, even when they're adults. It's definitely less stressful for the kids even in adulthood to have parents who are happily together.

post #28 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I reject the idea that either has to be a priority over the other. Also, my mom used to say this stuff to me when I was a kid. "You have to understand, your dad is my first priority. If I had to choose between him and you, I'd have to choose him. He'll be here after you leave. I have to tend my marriage and that has to be my priority." Frankly, it made me feel like complete crap.


Wow, that's awful.  I don't agree with that sentiment at all.  Yes, I think that partnerships need to be tended to, but I'm not raising my husband.  We're raising our kids, together, and we only get one chance at that.  Our kids didn't ask to be here.  They are OUR priority, together.

 

I'm fortunate that my husband shares my feelings, though we've never discussed it to my recollection.  There has never been a need to, as our parenting and marriage has evolved as our family has grown and aged.  We were married for 7 years before we had kids, so we had plenty of time to enjoy our pre-child, dual income lives.  Now we have 2 kids, one income, and our priorities have changed and we wouldn't have it any other way.

 

Our marriage is important.  But if our marriage was struggling, we would deal with it without putting the kids second.  

post #29 of 116

I seem to be joining the chorus on this one, but I think it's fairly nonsensical idea, in most ways.

 

When I have a 3 week old nursling, the baby is most important, pretty much 24/7. I have an 18 year old...is he really important? Definitely. Is he more important than my marriage? I don't even know how I could quantify that. My job with him (and my other kids) is basically to teach them to survive and thrive without me. That's not what I'm doing with dh. Barring any unforeseen mishaps, dh will be my closest companion for the rest of my life. That's really, really important! But, our kids need me and dh in ways that we don't need each other.

 

I just can't see ranking this kind of thing. If dd2 wakes up in the middle of the night (as she does every night), then any snuggling, conversation, sex, whatever that dh and I were going (or had started) to enjoy gets dumped for a while...but we also haven't arranged our lives so that those things never have a chance to start at all, yk? Setting priorities involves a lot of sorting out the urgent from the less urgent, and it's a very fluid process, imo. Right at this particular moment, I'm chilling for a few minutes before I take dd1 to ballet. DH will be home dealing with ds2 and dd2. We won't even be in the same place for much of the afternoon, so the needs of the kids are in ascendance...but we carved out some "us" time while the younger kids were downstairs with ds1 this morning.

 

I think priority number one is balancing everyone's needs.

post #30 of 116

Apples and oranges. Or apples and calcium chloride. All are important, for different reasons, and all are interconnected. It's not possible to have a totally fabulous relationship with your kids and put your spouse in 3rd place all the time without said spouse feeling sad, rejected or hurt, which would then affect his/her relationship with you and with the kids, so it wouldn't be so fabulous.

 

It all works, quite smoothly normally, because we have an unlimited supply of love, so we can balance and juggle multiple tasks in life. And if it is occasionally tight, then we can do a juggling act. And sometimes one person, be that parent or child, will loose out. And it makes no difference. That is life. It is only constant, long-term loosing out that causes problems, imo. And the needs and priorities change. A newborn needs a clean diaper - NOW, and now, and now.... so he/she will get an inordinate share at this point in time. A toddler has different needs. A young child, a teen, an adult... all different needs, and at different times. Maybe the newborn needs a clean diaper, but your spouse has just lost his/her job and needs a hug first. Life is not a rock, it's a rubber band.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I reject the idea that either has to be a priority over the other. Also, my mom used to say this stuff to me when I was a kid. "You have to understand, your dad is my first priority. If I had to choose between him and you, I'd have to choose him. He'll be here after you leave. I have to tend my marriage and that has to be my priority." Frankly, it made me feel like complete crap.


OT but had to reply to this. This is totally warped of your mom to say. No wonder you felt like crap, any child would hearing those words. If she felt that way, fine, but she should have had the sense to keep her comments to herself.

post #31 of 116



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I reject the idea that either has to be a priority over the other. 



Me too! To me, love is the priority, and love should be our guide in determining which need is most immediate.

 

I probably carry too much garbage from my own memories regarding who I've heard the "husbands trump children" line from. As another poster said, I know I can't generalize about everyone who adheres to this philosophy -- but I tend to see at as a "men first" philosophy, although for some, it may be more partner or marriage-focused than male-focused. However, in my own experience, the people touting the line about putting marriage first have seemed to be doing so to justify not listening to children -- AND to imply that the needs of adult males are primary.

 

To me, it's just ridiculous to imply that a mature adult male would divorce his wife and abandon his children over things like full term breastfeeding or co-sleeping. I have to wonder where people's heads are when they create scenarios like, "If you had to choose between your relationship with your husband and your breastfeeding relationship with your child, which would you choose?"

 

I can't imagine ever asking my husband, "Do you love me enough to cut your penis off if I say that's the only way I'll stay with you?" -- and, to me, saying I'd have to kick my little one out of bed or dry up to keep dh by my side seems just as ridiculous. Thankfully he agrees with me!

 


Edited by mammal_mama - 6/4/11 at 4:27pm
post #32 of 116
Quote:

 

as others said - balance is key. 



This.

 

I've seen Parents go into deep debt to buy things for their kids.  I've seen Moms who put all their emotions into their kids at the expense of the marriage.  Then, the kids suffer when the parents divorce.  

 

I think kids benefit most from happy healthy loving parents.  If they don't get to go to the expensive summer camp, but the whole family spends a few weekends together camping, the kids are better off in the long run.

 

That doesn't mean that If Daddy if out of Beer, that it takes priority over the kids who don't have lunch money.  

post #33 of 116

Here's a little chart:

 

 

urgent and important urgent but not important
important, but not urgent not important, and not urgent


 

I think that children, esp. babies and toddler, often fall into the "urgent and important" category. Marriages tend to fall into the "important but not urgent" category. The question isn't which is a higher priority, but how do we tend to both. Tending to our marriages while caring for the urgent needs of a young child is quite tricky. I never figured it out, and my marriage paid the price.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
So in that respect, making your marriage the priority IS making your kids the priority, b/c you're showing them not only how to be a good spouse, but you're providing them with a united family that will be there to support them when they need it, even when they're adults. It's definitely less stressful for the kids even in adulthood to have parents who are happily together.


 

agreed.  My DH and I learned this the hard way. We neglected our relationship for years while the kids were young, ended up with huge marriage problems, and felt not only tremendous pain ourselves but watched our children hurt as well.

 

I wonder if someone IRL telling you that you need to make your marriage a higher priority means that they are seeing tiny little problems in your marriage that you can't see yet. Problems that would be easy to solve right now with a little time and care to your primary relationship, but that if allowed to grow for years could end up quite difficult to deal with.

 

My DH and I now take time very day to connect with each other, even if its just a few minutes to really listen to the other one. We take a longer stretch of time most weeks, usually a meal out with just the two of us.

 

Our kids are our priority. We make decisions around what is best for them, play vacations around what will be most fun for them, and our lives and schedules revolve around them.

 

 

post #34 of 116

"... in that respect, making your marriage the priority IS making your kids the priority, b/c you're showing them not only how to be a good spouse, but you're providing them with a united family that will be there to support them when they need it, even when they're adults. It's definitely less stressful for the kids even in adulthood to have parents who are happily together."

 

yeahthat.gif

post #35 of 116

I have known several families who had this outlook on their marriage/children. And what I've seen from those families are unhappy children and parents who feel life is all about them and going out and leaving the kids with sitters/grandparents as much as possible. A father whose son had two surgeries in one summer and a wife in college pouted and threatened to split up because his wife wasn't putting him first. Hello- you're the adult, your CHILD needed to be first while going through surgeries and needing his PARENTS. My own parents used to leave us several times a year and go on vacations, I was so miserable and felt so unloved. I have not seen one family with this marriage 1st rule where they were actually what I'd consider functional and with happy children. I had a child already when my husband and I got together so we both knew kids come first. Most families we interact with do have their kids come first. We're adults and should be able to deal with that. My husband and I both have to deal 100% with the kids and do without each other during family issues(taking care of a sick family member, or helping take care of someone after surgery, ...) As the kids get older you can focus more on each other but this leaving the baby at 2 weeks post-partum for the weekend so you can go out with your spouse is disgusting IMO. And that's been my experience with marriage 1st families.

post #36 of 116

My dad said the most important gift a father can give to his children is to love their mother (the thought was, I suppose, that a loving marriage will be a foundation for the children).  I think it was a good sentiment.  He sure didn't live up to that in any way, but I thought it was a good tenet. 

 

I will say that once my parents divorced, I was much better off than how things were with them together.  Children do typically have a pretty good idea of what parents are often trying to hide.

 

Great families can exist in or out of a marriage and in or out of a partnership/relationship.  It's about the love, I think, not about the numbers of adults who reside in the home.

post #37 of 116
It's all about balance. DH and I are doing great in our marriage and our baby is thriving.

I do want to say that I think it's interesting that most people put this "choice" to women. Should the woman choose children over their husband? Does that automatically mean that men put marriage before children? Or is it saying that men don't have to worry about either as long as they provide the money to keep the household running? It's interesting that people think that men shouldn't have to choose or don't care.

DH and I both understand it's about balance, and it changes depending on the age of the children and what they need. When DS was a newborn, DH and I had to go without a lot of time alone because DS needed us with him. Now that DS is able and happy to play on his own, DH and I can talk, cuddle and connect while he plays. But, if DS poops and needs a change, we don't make him sit in a poopy diaper because we're working on our marriage! When DS is older and at a friend's house for a sleepover, I can say that DH and I will be enjoying our time alone immensely. But, if DS freaks out and needs to come home, we aren't going to tell him to suck it up because Daddy and Mommy are having a good time. No, DH and I will both meet our child's need first.
post #38 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by prone_to_wander View Post

Why does it have to be, one is more important than the other? Humans are complex beings with the ability to hold different priorities at different times. Love your husband, make sure you are showing it. Love your kid, make sure you're showing it. Love yourself, make sure you have time for this.
We all have the ability to love and care for multiple people at the same time.
 

truedat.gif
 

 

post #39 of 116

Marriage is my priority. I can't be an effective happy mother if I am not happy in my partnership. I do not want to be a single mom either. I was raised by one. she did the best she could but I do not want this for my kids.

 

But obviously, it all depend on the context. If kids are sick etc date are cancels.  We both adjusted our careers and moved to a location with good schools. On the other hand, we never any qualms about taking a few trips a year on our own. We also made it clear to kids that they have bedtimes earlier than us so we can have time alone. I cringe when I hear "We do not go out because my child does not like it".

 

As the classic "Who would you save form the fire", well, my youngest son, of course. He weighs the least.

post #40 of 116

We don't have a list for priorities really.
Instead we center our entire lives around God.
That means that we can't back out of our responsibilities in any area.
It is important for our children that we have a healthy marriage, but it is also important to our marriage that our children are properly cared for.
Sometimes one or another may seem to take a "backseat", like getting a sitter to celebrate your anniversary.

We're not perfect at this intertwining, where all relationships depend on the others, but we try very hard.
We just feel that if you list it instead that you could really harm other things on that list.

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