A few years ago I read an article that really disturbed me. To be completely honest a good friend reposted it, and it caused a bit of controversy on our what’s app chat! The notion alone filled me with total outrage. It goes against the golden rule of motherhood. Love my man more than my kids? Absolutely NOT, that’s absurd! I had just become a mom and personally, my kids are first before anything even my parents. “There is nothing, and there will never be anything that will come before them”. I obviously had very strong opinions on it.
But 2 years later, older and perceivably wiser, there is actually something to be said about this hard to accept theory. There is a legitimacy to the concept of nurturing and investing in the relationship with your life partner, often more times than that of your children.
My husband and I have have been married almost 8 years. We got married 9 months after meeting. The beginning of our marriage was actually the discovery of our relationship. We got married before knowing how to be a couple. If you’ve read my prior posts, you’ve read that we’ve had our fair share of obstacles. Being a blended family and trying to conceive all at once clouded the opportunity to be a healthy well-founded couple that is so important to a relationship’s success. I didn’t grow up in a 2 parent home with blissfully married parents. I have an amazing family unit now, with my parents, but the truth is, they’re not together. They co-grandparent and they do an amazing job, but my biological dad remarried and so did my mom. Divorce was a reality in my childhood, and if I don’t want that to be a reality in my children’s lives I had to reconsider my approach to marriage and our relationship in general.
It seems fundamental. You build a great healthy relationship with your partner, that in turn provides a solid image of relationships for your children and “simply” if you and your spouse are happy, you can make the little humans happy too! Your relationship with your partner is the first example of what being in a happy marriage is like. Your goal is to raise your children in a home with parents who clearly love and value each other, and that may mean putting your significant other first.
However, close to 90% of the “Mother” population I know, instinctively don’t feel its natural to put their relationship ahead of their offspring. Strong independent women who later become moms were more than likely raised by a mom that did everything to put them first, and naturally model that behavior. Those that were raised by a single mom ( me 🙋🏽) this seems to be even more evident. Single moms make decisions every day to put their children first to ensure their kids don’t suffer the same struggles they endured and sometimes to get over the loss of a partner. Then naturally when they start a new relationship, they carry forward that behavior, and in the process modeling that behavior for their children, especially girls. I know the role well, my mom along with other Latina women around me are strong believers of “hay que ser Madre, antes de Una Mujer“ (be a mother before a woman) or the phrase “Ella es mas Mujer Que madre” (she’s thinking as a woman before a mom).
Let’s think about that for one second.. I was a woman before a mom. I had a whole life before becoming the nurturer, protector, cook, server, and chauffeur. I had plans all the time, I also had wants and different needs.
I get it. I chose to bring them into this world, so a priority they must be. But are they my ONLY priority?
People in relationships say things like this all the time, “my husband feels like he’s second fiddle to the kids” or ” I don’t have time to cater to his needs, my kids need me.” Well, I recently came to the notion that so does “he”. He needs me. He needs to feel loved and attended to. I don’t only mean intimately either, I mean the fundamental, date kind of stuff. Movies, dinners, Netflix and Chill.. The things that made you fall in love. Vacations and getaways are also a must. They don’t have to be exotic or expensive, they can be one-night getaways every few months that just reinvigorate your love and put your passion for each other first.
I share my thoughts on this because I struggle with it in my own marriage. I’m now starting to realize the importance of taking care of him and “I’ll be damned“.. we argue much less and when we do have a disagreement it’s managed in a more respectful manner. Our kids are still young, but when we were going at it in the past, they noticed and they felt the tension. When your 2 yr old is wiping your face and asks “why you sad Mama” ( when really you’re crying from anger over an argument) it brings it all into perspective. They shouldn’t witness and feel that aniexty and stress. That’s definitely not a happy place for them.
We’re raising young sons, I need them to know how to treat a woman, how to love her, and what actions and reactions are not ok. I want them to understand what real communication looks like. It starts with us..it starts with me loving him, so they understand how they’re supposed to be loved.
It goes both ways
I know it should go without saying, but your partner should be feeding your relationship too. They also need to preserve the passion, love, and loyalty. They need to invest in the feelings that keep you fulfilled. They should make you a priority too. All the work should not come from you.
Net, Net.. nurture your relationship, invest in it as you would in your children. Your little humans are an absolute priority, but so is the partner beside you. Your kids will grow up and leave the nest one day, and you want to celebrate a job well done with your partner, not look over at a stranger as a result of years you quietly drifted apart.