Friday, October 9, 2009

Do I choose my kids or spouse first?

My response to this topic "who should come first, kids or spouse" is always a, "really?!" Like they can't believe that I feel the way I do.

When we were first married choosing each other as first priority was easy. It was just him and I! But after I had my first child my husband was enamored with him. His son engrossed his time when he was not at work... and I was jealous. I WAS! It was a very petty and selfish thing but it was how I felt. So I sat him down one night and told him how I felt. (Half of that was the baby blues, which happens to be 1 of 3 times I've ever been depressed) We had a great discussion and he said, "Shelle you are always and will always be my number one. I will try harder to show that by my actions, but YOU are the most important thing to me. It's you and me forever... sometimes that sucks huh?" and then he laughed. But I felt so much better knowing that is where I stood and it became kind of our motto.

So let me just say, I always choose my spouse first. He is priority over everything but my Father in Heaven, even dare I say, my kids. *Gasp*

I know. Sounds brutal right? My spouse is an adult, he doesn't need me to pamper him and take care of his needs before my kids and others, and he doesn't, he IS an adult. That is not necessarily what I mean.

I mean that anyone and everyone who knows me knows that my husband is priority. If I am on the phone with someone and he rings in, then I get off to answer his call. My kids know that we share everything. We have no secrets. They know that eventually, something they tell to me will be shared with their father. Not always right when they tell me, but at the proper time and place so that my kids still feel comfortable talking with me.

I make it a point to contact my husband somehow everyday just to see how his day is going, in return I also get IM or called or Google chatted with during my day.

That doesn't mean that my children are neglected or that I don't love my children. I love them, just differently then I love my husband.

You see someday my kids are going to grow up and find their own love, their own someone special, their own significant other. I don't want them to love me the same or more than that person... I will expect that person to be their number one, like my husband is my number one. If I am so wrapped up in my children's lives and always put them first... then that day when my kids leave and I turn around, take a deep breath and focus my attention on my husband, I'm afraid I will find a stranger instead.

Everyday your spouse is going through experiences. Everyday they become different, maybe slightly, maybe majorly, but they change. If he isn't my number one and I don't take the time to make him my number one he will be a different person by the time I make him a priority, and maybe it will be to late then.

Maybe he will have changed so much that we won't have anything in common anymore? I'm not willing to take that risk. He is the one I chose to be with forever. To share everything with. To be my number one. I don't think that has to change or should change because I have kids.

This doesn't mean that I don't give my kids their time. Obviously my kids run me ragged and I am driving them to this or that or I'm teaching them something at home or they just need a moment for me to hold them, joke with them, and show them that I love them. I am there for them and they mean the world to me. I mean, its not like there aren't exceptions, there are times, of course, where I have to attend to my children because of whatever and I smile, kiss my husband, and attend to what I have to attend to.

But if we are doing their homework and my guy walks through the front door, homework gets put on hold so that I can kiss, hug, and love my husband.

My husband shows me the same respect. I know I am his number one, I KNOW that he loves me, I know that the changes I am going through drive him crazy and make him laugh all at the same time.

We fight and we argue, but we are friends as well as lovers and parents. I choose him. He is my number one, then my kids.

If I'm honest, most of the people that can't wrap their minds around this concept are those that are single, because their kids mean and should mean EVERYTHING to them because they only have each other at the moment or time.

And also I can say that I am not perfect at this concept. I may not always show in my actions that he is my priority, maybe one day I forget, maybe something comes up and I neglect him. Life happens, things aren't perfect, but in general I try to live my life so that I am always that person that he wants as his priority and show him that HE IS my priority, nothing is worth losing him over. Period.

Okay, WOW, so let me have it. What do you think? Am I completely off? Let's discuss in comments.

Love,

36 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

Totally agree with you. My wife is #1. I love my kids, but she's #1.

Southern Sage said...

I don't get it for sure. I cant see it.

I would hate for my kids to think they were second to anyone or anything. Ever.

I do understand chicks seeing it that way tho!

Missty said...

I get it Shelle. And you made some great points.

And to Sage, I don't think our kids know or even think they are second to anyone. I think they know that our family is a team. And we are, my husband and I are co-captains, side by side together. And then them as team players.

And as kids get older, and they become onry teens, you better be careful that they don't pit parents against each other, knowing they are #1 in that parents eyes. kwim? They need to know your on the other parents side.

And Shelle, I want to make a comment on what you said about singles not getting it. Their kids should be number one... even if they get remarried. Just my opinion. I really think if your single with kids due to a divorce, or even death, those kids have already delt with a ton of crap. They need to be #1. Even if a new marriage starts.

Sorry I know I am off the subject a bit, but it might be a good one for another day?

I'll be back later to read everyone elses take. Good stuff.

Barbaloot said...

The only perspective I have to give is that of my parents---they are always CLEARY each other's #1. Our life was scheduled around my dad's on-call schedule, my dad is always willing to do anything for my mom, and even though I've never once felt neglected by my parents, I know they are each other's priority. I think that joint mind frame for them allows them to focus better on their kids together. So, I don't have that relationship yet, but I've seen it all my life and think you're definitely on to something:)

Southern Sage said...

Like I said I can surely see women seeing it that way.

I would hope that the bride would surely put the kids first. I don't need her, I can stand alone.

It's been my experience that kids re very very perceptive, they seem to know dang near everything!

I m though for the team theory Misssssssssty for sure.

Missty said...

Oh Sage, I just love how you say my name. ;o) lol

ZenMom said...

Interesting points, Shelle. And well stated. I see where you are coming from.

I tend to think of the ZenHusband and I as a unit - and, together, our first priority is our kids.

But, for the simple logistical reason that our kids *need* us so much - for everything from their very survival to learning how to get on in the world - their needs almost always come first, before our own.

I don't resent or lament that. It's just a statement of fact. To me, that's just part of the joy and love of parenting.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

SciFi--I love it when I can get a guy to agree with me! lol. I had an inkling that you would though :)

Southern Sage--I don't think that they will ever THINK they are second. In fact, I think they will appreciate it. It is how my parents were. Like someone said I would hate for the kids to use us against each other... OR for one of us to use them as a crutch for not having to deal with our spouse! I've seen that in action, and it isn't pretty!

Missty--Exactly, and that is probably a better way of putting it. We are Co-Captains of our team. We work together as one in the parenting department, like if I say, "No" then the kiddos automatically know it's pointless to as Dad because we always will ask, "what did your Mom/Dad say" our answers match. Now if I happen to disagree with his NO, then I still tell my child NO, but then we discuss behind close doors and I hit upside the head and say, "Dude, don't be ridiculous, they should be able to do that" or whatever :)

Sure single parents should put their children first... that is what I said. But at some point, when they meet somebody new. I feel, at some point, the kids should appreciate, and find out, that they are NOW "co-captains" with their new partner. Again, someday those kids, even of single parents, are going to grow and find their own special someone...it's only fair to that single parent that they have their own relationship--and one they feel important in... kwim?

Barb--I should have asked you to help me write this! Perfectly stated and it's such a great view of what I'm talking about. The kids WON'T feel neglected... the kids ARE taken care of.

In FACT, if I am going to be absolutely honest with you all... my kids probably even SPOILED... something I need to nip in the BUTT!!! lol.

Sage--see that is weird to me... you don't need her you can stand alone. Of course, so can I! But... I don't WANT to stand alone... I want my spouse to know that I DO, in a way, NEED him! I think it is only human nature to want to feel needed--goes along with feeling loved if you ask me.

BUt then again--do you and I EVER REALLY understand what each other is saying??? LOL!

ZenMom--Like I said before...The kids needs are taken care of. And I said in the post, of course there are times when, for the moment, I have to pay attention just TO the kids to help them with whatever they NEED help with or need me to get done for them. But overall, first him--but I like how you and Missty state it. Co-parenting or ONE unit.

I LOVE all of your responses.

I told my guy about what I had written about and he asked, "If you were giving birth and they asked me to choose YOU or the Baby...what would you want me to choose"

I immediately said, "My baby"

He said, "But I would choose you."

I said, "WHY?"

He said, "because I wouldn't want to raise that baby on my own nor would I want to be without you. It would be hard, and we would have to work through it, and maybe you would resent me for making that decision. We can have another child together...there isn't another you. But it also would be REALLY REALLY REALLY hard for me to choose either way. It would suck. But I've thought about it and that is what I would most likely do."

What do you think about that? Have you guys EVER even thought about stuff like that?

I'll be honest... it really has never even crossed my mind... because I tend to live in my own little world where I exclude horrible things like that!

Keep discussing... I LOVE hearing what you guys have to say :)

Southern Sage said...

Hmmmm
Nah I'm not in for the need, I don't do need very good. I don't want her to need me either! Sheeesh.

See the reason I kept saying I figured chicks would see it differently is cause of the love and pie in the sky stuff. as a practical matter for folks who deal in such things, your guy is right, I would choose her over unborn kid, because she can tend the ones we already have hence putting them FIRST.
;-)

Anyway when folks speak of love and such I gotta back out, I cant make decisions based on emotion, those usually turn out poorly. So just gotta stick with the facts, like in everything else, just the facts.

the love thing was why I kept saying chicks could see it differently.
I don't want/need to be needed or loved by my spouse, just wanted. Wanted first, needed/loved etc etc way down the list somewhere.

The Blonde Duck said...

I agree with you. I don't have kids yet, but Ben and I already agree that it's harmful to both them and a couple's relationship to make them #1.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Okay... well wanted is really a better word for what I meant. Need is right, I don't NEED my husband... but I definitely want him. So I get that. Thanks for correcting me ;)

Well who would you choose Sage if you didn't already HAVE kids? Who would come first? I would think it would be your wife still because you would have to raise the unborn child up by yourself right? But I'm curious. Who would you pick if you didn't have children already?

See my guy didn't make his decision on need either. He just said he didn't WANT to raise the unborn child on his own and he didn't WANT to BE with out me.

Isn't want an emotion though?

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

See that is so cool Blonde Duck that you guys have already discussed it and have come to that.

But you guys have a fabulous relationship! At least from what I read :)

Southern Sage said...

I would defer to her. Whatever she wanted. If I was forced to choose and we didn't have kids I would prolly choose her.

I seriously threw up in my mouth with the didn't want to be without you bs.

Gag me with a pitch fork! Was that followed by a good cry together? Did either of you wet your britches in joyful glee?

BD- we also discussed it, them first or don't have em. But I can see chicks seeing it different.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

You did NOT throw up in your mouth!

I can tell that you are just jealous. Don't hate Sage :)

Words are like an aphrodisiac... you should try it sometime. :)

Southern Sage said...

I zint hztin!

try words?
You tell the master scribe and thespian to try words?

PJ - Our life said...

I think spouses should come first. When kids come into the picture you do tend to want to only care for them, but you also have to remember your spouse. I believe dating throught your marriage is necessary. Kids do grow-up, find their own special someone and they leave the nest. When they do leave if you haven't kept "the flame alive" with your special someone what's left? I think that putting the kids above the spouse is what has led to a lot of divorces later in life.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

PJ--agree agree! Dating and traveling together are Great ways to keep the flame alive.

Sage--You are a master Thespian??? REally??? and you are a scribe? I would have thought you would be more the role of an author... hmmmm

wendy said...

If you are going to put numbers on things, then I would say put your spouse #1. Why-----It doesn't mean you love your kids less or that they will be neglected , it just means things have to be delicatly balanced. You see .....with my first husband I had 5 children. They totally filled the space of a marriage that was "void" in many areas for me. They (the kids) were my filler......then as they started to grow older and move out of the house I decideed I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE....there is nothing between spouse and myself. The children are gone (all of them now) and will build lives for themselves, just leaving me and HIM.
So you see, your relationship with your spouse is PARAMOUNT.
Doesn't mean you neglect the kids. Of course they will be loved, nourished and taken care of, and I think it is impportant for them to see that MOM and DAD have a relationship, that is very important and sacred.
Don't ever forget you and your spouse.

wendy said...

If you are going to put numbers on things, then I would say put your spouse #1. Why-----It doesn't mean you love your kids less or that they will be neglected , it just means things have to be delicatly balanced. You see .....with my first husband I had 5 children. They totally filled the space of a marriage that was "void" in many areas for me. They (the kids) were my filler......then as they started to grow older and move out of the house I decideed I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE....there is nothing between spouse and myself. The children are gone (all of them now) and will build lives for themselves, just leaving me and HIM.
So you see, your relationship with your spouse is PARAMOUNT.
Doesn't mean you neglect the kids. Of course they will be loved, nourished and taken care of, and I think it is impportant for them to see that MOM and DAD have a relationship, that is very important and sacred.
Don't ever forget you and your spouse.

wendy said...

If you are going to put numbers on things, then I would say put your spouse #1. Why-----It doesn't mean you love your kids less or that they will be neglected , it just means things have to be delicatly balanced. You see .....with my first husband I had 5 children. They totally filled the space of a marriage that was "void" in many areas for me. They (the kids) were my filler......then as they started to grow older and move out of the house I decideed I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE....there is nothing between spouse and myself. The children are gone (all of them now) and will build lives for themselves, just leaving me and HIM.
So you see, your relationship with your spouse is PARAMOUNT.
Doesn't mean you neglect the kids. Of course they will be loved, nourished and taken care of, and I think it is impportant for them to see that MOM and DAD have a relationship, that is very important and sacred.
Don't ever forget you and your spouse.

Just Jules said...

whoa now... goodness I decide to hold off on my comments and look at you guys!

So I waited to ask my kids and hubby when they got home who they thought I put first.

No surprise to me - they all said them. My kids think I put them first, my hubby thinks I put him first. Heck, my best friend when asked said- her. (maybe this is why I feel so depleted daily ;) ) giving so much of my self - gosh!

Seriously though. The kids don't know, they just know that they have a set of parents who are there for them standing as a united force. They can't play us against each other and they can't use us.

Yet, when the kids are in bed and it is just my spouse and I it is pivotal that we don't go our separate ways because we have nothing outside of the bedroom. It is uncomfortable and if that is what I wanted out of a relationship I would have had kids on my own and found a room mate that is easier to live with than my husband! When the kids leave and are grown adults, when they find their own spouse and start their own family it will be he and I and we will have to be good.

I am sure Sage has amazing kids who know respect, love, and are just good kids, I am sure they understand the role of their parents and the love (oops insert word - need, seems to be easier to swallow) that they have for each other and their kids... don't let him fool you.

Anjeny said...

LOL Wendy. See, Sage, you've made Wendy post that 3 times to show you she agrees with Shelle.

Shelle and Sage, love this bantering back and forth..I can always count on you two make things interesting in here.

Shelle...let me just say that I totally love this post and that you hit it right on the spot. Sage seems to be having a very hard time understanding why anyone would put their spouse before their kids. You've pointed that out beautifully in your post.

Southern Sage said...

Hmmm well actually I can't understand why anyone would want to put above their kids or why anyone would think their spouse would want to be put above their kids.

H.K. said...

I totally agree with you shelle! I'll even go a little farther to say that I have to take care of myself first. I don't mean that I put my needs before my spouse or son, but when I don't care for myself, I'm not a great wife or mom.

Big Blue House said...

Well, take it from someone who has already lived through those times. I don't really know. I thought my spouse was at times and other times, like when my children were sick and needed to be held, my spouse was put on the back burner for a while. I liked what Just Jules said. Her children and her spouse thought they each were the most important. If you can achieve that place in your family, you are succeeding. I don't know if I would have asked my children individually that question of who they thought was most important in my life, they probably would each have a different answer. Children tend to think another sibling is more important to you than them. If anyone knows how to change that, let me know. Sometimes I still think my grown children think I favor one over the other. I LOVE all of them. You can't love them equally as they are all so different but you CAN love them each with all your heart and I guess that would be my answer.

Cherie said...

I think your spouse always has to come first. It is you and him always and forever. I have always felt this way and my husband feels this way too which is why we are even more in love with each other than we were when we married 25 years ago.
I think it is healthy for kids to observe that so they can also find meaningful relationships.
It doesn't mean you do not love your kids but they move on. I have 3 kids out of the house now - I love them, they love us but they are moving on with their own lives.
Put your spouse first and I did want to disagree with one thing.
Spouses are needy and DO need pampering :DD

Southern Sage said...

I'll never get the need thing. I just ain't built right I don't reckon. I will never, barring some illness or tragedy need anyone.

But 1 more time, I get chicks seeing it that way.

vailian said...

Great and passionate post, Shelle!
Someone-- I think it was one of the Russian writers-- said, "The children of a great love are orphans." You seem to be the exception to this rule!

Jessica Stier said...

I try to put my husband first but that doesn't always happen. Thanks for this great post. It was great reminder.

April said...

We all have priorities in our life. These priorities fluctuate with the age of our children. When we have an infant, we have to physically tend to the need of the infant first and foremost. They cannot tend to themselves. When I say I put my spouse first, it is not in ALL cases. Sometimes he slips down to the second spot as a crisis may arise, but ideally he is in that number 1 spot. This is especially true when handling family issues.

I think the spirit of the article is that putting our spouse first is to stand as a unit as husband and wife in front of your family and others.

To stand as a united front in the family it sometimes seems that the kids come second. Of course they don't. Each member of the family is important. But the children need to understand growing up that the parents are as one unit and cannot be played off each other.

The relationship between husband and wife needs to be nourished just as much as the relationship between each child.

April said...

forgot to follow :)

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

H. K.--You are right. Totally. We have to make sure we are taken care of to take care of others. But it's a fine line, because we can become selfish. I know from experience :)

Big Blue House--good point. Just because our children are sick and we have to take care of them doesn't mean that our spouses aren't our number one...does it? Take care of the kids is another way to show how committed you are to your role in the relationship... I think. I love how you stated that we don't love our children equally because they are all so different, but we can and should love them with our whole hearts.

Sage--it's not that I NEED my husband it's that I choose him and I choose to make him a priority which makes OUR relationship a priority. Know what I mean? We could probably go our seperate way and survive and live good lives without each other... but I choose to make him important in my life... I choose for that to be his role in my life.

Vailian--HI!!! So good to hear from you! Are you still going to write for team mars??? :) Anyway. Thanks, I honestly am very blessed. I hope I raise my kids so that they feel the same way :)

Jessica--I know... it's really really hard. It's a daily thing, something that is forever worked on. Because we are humans and have to be continually reminded :)

April--Totally agree with the theme being "we work as a unit or co parent" I just honestly think that just because I have to tend to a child or take care of them making them my every breathing moment while they recover... doesn't mean that I am necessarily putting my husband second in line? I mean does it? Help me out with that.

My husband even when I am taking care of my kids can be in the forefront of my mind.

i'm not saying I'm perfect at this... I'm just saying that is my goal or what I try to do... he should be my number one in my life depending on the situation.

I love the last part that you said because it is SOOOO true, "To stand as a united front in the family it sometimes seems that the kids come second. Of course they don't. Each member of the family is important. But the children need to understand growing up that the parents are as one unit and cannot be played off each other.

The relationship between husband and wife needs to be nourished just as much as the relationship between each child."

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

April-- I mean he should be number one in my life REGARDLESS of the situation... not DEPENDING on the situation...

BLEH...

April said...

I think that as long as a husband and wife are acting as a unit then they are putting each other first. I wanted to challenge your thinking that your husband always comes first. I think that we as women guilt ourselves a lot. It's ok for our kids to need us more than our husband in a given day, they should. They are kids. We are there to guide them and teach them. We also are there as an example to them. An example of balance. My point in the last comment was to challenge your thinking. By tending to a child in need, or an infant who demands much of our time, does not mean that we have put our spouse second. We must always make time for our spouse. We must always nourish mutual respect. This is the greatest gift we can give our children.

Karolyn said...

Hi Shelle,
You are 100% correct in putting your husband first not only because I know him and no how lucky you are to have him but i was raised that way my mom and dad loved each other so much for the 57 years they had together and by showing that to me by thier daily actions towards each other it taught me to do the same and I knew they loved me and it gave me the basis to be a loving wife and mother. Thank you for sharing that with everyone =) Karolyn

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