Less than one month after my husband and I got married — before I even mailed thank you notes for our wedding gifts — I found myself holding a positive pregnancy test.
Eight and a half months into our marriage, while we were still getting comfortable in our roles as husband and wife, we suddenly became mom and dad.
I won’t say that our son was poorly planned — we were both anxious to start our family — but I will say that in hindsight becoming a mother in the same year that you become a wife is not easy.
The first year of our son’s life was the most difficult of our marriage to date, and it is also the year I learned a very important lesson: My husband must always come before our children.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids and would do anything for them.
But I put husband before my kids.
When I share this with my mom friends, it’s usually met with outrage and total shock. After all, this goes against the golden rule of motherhood, the one that tells us being a good parent means sacrificing all for the happiness and well-being of our children.
Putting aside our own needs for theirs is practically a requirement but, I’m sorry, I’m just not buying it.
But, to some, the concept that kids would ever come second seems ludicrous. In a survey conducted by YourTango, half of the experts polled believed that wives should prioritize their husbands over their kids. As you can imagine, the commenters were less than enthused.
And I get it. There’s no question that the bond between a mother and child is unbreakable. But I view my investment in my relationship with my spouse as one that is beneficial to our family as a whole.
Prioritizing my husband’s needs decreases our chances of getting divorced; it also increases the probability that our children will remain in a two-parent home.
I strongly believe that modeling a healthy relationship for our children sets the foundation for how they form bonds when they get older.
In my opinion, my husband and I are the first examples of what being in a happy marriage is like. Our kids learn how they should treat their future significant others (and what they should expect in return) by watching us.
Raising them in a home with parents who clearly love and value one another is key to their growth. For me, this means putting my husband first.
With very few exceptions, you will not find our kids in our bed at night. If we can only afford to take one vacation a year, we take it alone, and I feel no guilt about soliciting the help of family so that we can have a date night where we talk about anything but our children.
In a few years, our son and daughter will leave our home, and when they do, I want to celebrate a job well done with my lover — not sit in a quiet house with a person who has become a stranger as a result of years of quietly drifting apart.
About the author: Amber Doty is a scientific researcher turned writer. She blogs regularly about depression, motherhood, and the unfortunate things that befall the hopelessly socially awkward.