Okay, think fast:
Who comes first in your life?
Your spouse? Or your kids?
I know that date night can make you a better parent, and I’ve even dreamed up 12 fabulous once-a-month dates that I vowed to take with my husband. (Um, yeah, about that…) But when it comes down to placing or ranking the importance of my kids vs. my husband in my life, I have to be honest with you:
I put my kids first.
Heather Morgan Shott over at YourTango would totally disagree with me; she recently wrote an article called “Why I Always Put My Husband Before My Child,” citing examples like taking kid-free vacays together, supporting each others’ careers, and keeping the baby out of the bed. Ultimately, Heather chose to make her marriage a priority before her kid, because in all honesty, maintaining a secure and healthy relationship is an essential part of parenting, which is great and something I definitely agree with.
But here’s the thing:
Heather has one kid. I have three.
Gone are the days when my husband and I could ask an adoring grandma to watch our sole child so we could jet off on a vacation (although, sidenote: the hubs and I are taking our first vacay ever alone together soon!! There’s hope for us yet!).
When I read Heather’s strict no-kids-in-the-bed policy, I just chuckled softly, thinking about the upcoming winter = germs everywhere season that will mean frequent nighttime visitors to our marital bed.
She talked a lot about sex in her piece, too, and while I commend her on her enthusiasm, I also know that I’m not the first tired-out mama who has shared her body with three kids and three years of breastfeeding to struggle with keeping the flame going in the bedroom.
The truth is, I honestly can’t remember the last time my husband and I went on a date. We actually lined up a sitter a few weeks ago, and then hours before we were supposed to go out, we both admitted that we were beyond exhausted and cancelled in lieu of Chinese takeout and RedBox.
The truth is, my primary focus each and every day is set on our children. I work from home, meaning I am the primary caretaker for our kids. My husband is an amazing dad, of course, but when it comes to the day-to-day shuffle of school pick-ups and doctor’s appointments and checking temperatures, it’s me.
The truth is, I know this season of our lives isn’t going to last forever.
Our children are young — we have one that just started kindergarten last month, a three-year-old, and a one-year-old. As I found out, all the old ladies at the store are right — it really does all go by so fast. I’m okay with this season of our lives being more focused on the children, because we are simply in an intensive stage of childrearing with them. It’s not going to last forever, and there will come a time when I have an entire day to spend totally alone with my husband, as much as that thought seems bizarre to me now.
I’m not saying that my husband and I totally ignore each other or that it’s okay to just pretend I’m living with a helpful roommate who can lift sleeping children from car seats or change lightbulbs on the ceiling for me; I’m just saying that I’m simply not going to stress myself out by wondering if I’m messing up our marriage by not putting my husband above all things.
See, the thing is, I didn’t marry my husband so he would be at the center of my life.
I married him so we could create a life together, no matter what.
And right now?
That life involves skipping date night, wrestling to get three surprisingly strong kiddos in pajamas every night, and the occasional (okay, more than occasional) rushed kiss on the cheek as we run out the door. It won’t be like this forever.
And I’m okay with that.