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When you become a parent, so many people say that your children are the most important people in your life. And I totally get that, I really do. After all, they are proof that your heart can still exist outside of your body. You never know a love quite like it, so fierce and animalistic. But I do have to disagree with those who always say to put your kids first. I won’t do that. I will always put my husband first, and I have good reasons to.
Children Model What They See
My husband and I have been married before, we have both been in relationships where the environment was more toxic than loving and we know how draining that can be to ourselves and those around us. We have always spoken honestly and openly about what we want our marriage to look like through our children’s eyes and we want to teach our children what a healthy marriage looks like.
We have also spoken often about our parent’s marriages and how much that has influenced us. There are elements of each of our parents relationships that we love and spoke fondly of, and we wondered what our children would say about our marriage when they were adults (to this day my dad still gives my mum’s bum a cheeky squeeze and it makes me so happy to see them so in love still…).
We want our children to see what it is like to have someone who values you, someone who puts you first and that marriage and parenting is a team effort. We present a united front and we show affection towards each other in front of them too.
Our Children Will Grow and One Day Leave Home
It’s easy, when children come along, to forget what is important in your relationship. Conversations turn to when the last feed was, nappy changes and extreme sleep deprivation means there’s fewer words spoken and conversations become grunts and head nods. It’s amazing how such a small being can shift the barometer of a marriage by so much.
And then some couples keep that trend going, they put their children first instead of each other, they are always doing everything for their kids, rarely anything for themselves and their marriage becomes something that’s just ‘there’.
But one day, those kids are going to leave home, and even before then, they are going to start being more social and spending less time as a ‘family’ (because that’s so uncool…). And where is that going to leave you and your husband? Will you be total strangers? Roommates for the last decade and unsure of who you really are anymore?
By putting my husband first, I am consistent in our relationship, we are consistent together. I’m not doing this alone and neither is he. We aren’t just two people heading in the same direction, we’re in the same dang car and we take turns in driving it (let it be known though, for the record… I am a better driver). We take time out to just be together. Sure, we don’t get to go on dates anymore and I don’t remember the last time we went out for dinner alone (probably our honeymoon) but we find value in what we do have.
We love our evenings together once the kids have gone to bed, we talk to each other throughout the day, a text message or a phone call to just check in and see how each other’s day is going, we get wild some nights and stay up past midnight just talking. He knows exactly what’s going on in my head (well… mostly) and I know what’s going on in his. We are always on the same page and it makes everything so, much, easier. Seriously.
I Don’t Have To Put Myself First
As someone who is all for empowering yourself, I am a massive advocate of putting yourself first. After all, without your own needs being met, you cannot possibly take care of others and be of help to others.
However, this amazing thing happened when my husband and I started seeing each other, I slowly stopped having to put myself first. I didn’t have to make an effort to ensure my needs were being met, physically, emotionally and mentally. I didn’t have to consciously ensure I was happy. Because he was doing it all for me.
I know not everyone has this in their marriage and that’s okay too – some marriages work differently and there’s no one size fits all kind of deal when it comes to a happy and successful marriage.
But for us, I know I don’t have to put myself first because I know my husband always does. Just as I always do for him.
He recognises when I need time out and need to take a break. He is there to support me and encourage me in all of my wild endeavours (even if he looks at me strange and wonders how on earth I’m going to achieve my goals). He encourages me to sleep in when I need it, sends me out to coffee with my friends (alone) to ensure I’m getting enough ‘me’ time. And I do the same for him too. It’s pretty darn amazing.
I’m not saying we are perfect at this whole marriage/parenting thing. I don’t actually think anyone is. But if anyone ever asks I will always be happy to explain that while my children are the loves of my life, I will still always put my husband first.