There are some things I can relate to in the recent Huffington Post article titled “Why my husband will always come before my kids.” And I want to acknowledge that it’s their relationship, not mine, and from the little bit of information provided it doesn’t sound as though their children aren’t loved and cared for, so this isn’t a criticism on how they’re raising their children, or on their relationship, it just prompted reflection on my own.
My initial gut reaction is to say – of course I love my children more. But I don’t think that’s entirely accurate for me either.
I remember when I was pregnant with our first I said I’d always love my partner equally to our baby, I couldn’t imagine loving someone more. I said this to a mutual friend, a mother of three, who smiled knowingly and said something to the effect of – “Just you wait.”
And in a way I do understand that. Once I felt that first kick I knew I was never going to ever care for someone like I did for him (well, until we had another baby).
It was the first time I ever loved someone enough that I would die for them. And not a fanciful promise, I mean I told my partner in absolute earnest if anything happens and if there’s ever a decision to be made during my pregnancy between me or our baby – save our baby. End of discussion. I’d never felt more sure of anything in my life.
Would I die for my partner?
But does that mean I love our children more than I love him?
I feel like they’re not even in the same race; our relationship with each other is not in competition with the relationship we have with our children. Obviously the love I feel for my partner is VERY different to the love I feel for our children. I love him as a lover, as the father of my children, and I love him as my life partner.
While I love them as their mother, as a protector, as their security. And they’re my (our) responsibility.
I’m simply not responsible for my partner. Not in that way. He’s someone who I’ve chosen to share my life, my bed and my heart with. I’ve chose to raise a family with him, but his needs are not my responsibility. Nor are mine his. We support each other, and help each other, we’re there for each other, but we are both adults.
Whereas we are responsible for our children, and their needs. Both of us, together. It’s not me putting their needs above his, but us putting their needs above our own- most of the time. Sometimes we do have to make ourselves a priority, because we can’t do and be everything they need from us without giving ourselves a break as well.
And we do play musical beds in our house. They sleep in ours, we sleep in theirs, because in scheme of things, our children are temporary. They are visitors in our relationship. They will continue to be a part of our lives, hopefully for the rest of our lives, but they won’t needs us like they need us now.
If all goes as planned my partner and I will be together for maybe another 60 years, health and relationship stability permitting.
While our children will be moving out of home in about a decade and a half.
I feel like the commitment I’ve made to him is a much longer term commitment than the one I’ve made to them. Though I’m much more bound to them. If things don’t work out, my partner and I could leave each other – then we’d no longer we partners. But I will always – always – be their mother. Nothing; not time, not disagreements, not anything in this world can ever change that.
So, we still have date nights, and time to ourselves, we work on our relationship and maintain communication – and we are not a perfect couple, nor are we perfect parents. We don’t always get it right. We make mistakes. And it can be a challenging balance. But right now, just these few short years, we’re not just a couple; we’re a family. And there is no competition, because we’re in this together.
What are your thoughts? Do you put your children or your partner first?