Your kids shouldn’t come first.
I remember the first time I heard these words–sitting in the marriage counselor’s office…all those years ago–as my therapist rattled off such a suggestion.
At first I thought it was a joke. You know–some sort of ice breaker to get our session underway or maybe one of those teaser statements counselors use to get a reaction from their patients. But as I broke into an uncomfortable giggle, it was apparent she wasn’t kidding. As I squirmed in my chair, frustrated by what this woman was saying (all while attempting to process such an idea), I couldn’t help but grow angry, confused, and yes, even dumbfounded. If I remember correctly, I think I even rolled my eyes. Because let’s face it: I’m a mom and from the moment my children entered this world, they became my everything….my top priority…my existence, really. Despite all of the ups and downs, trials, and mishaps on this mothering journey, my kids had my whole heart.
And apparently, that was the problem.
See, the woman in front of me–the one I was paying good money to help fix my marriage–was telling me I had gotten it all wrong. That my kids shouldn’t hold the top spot on my priority list.
So I did what most semi-rational adults do when they hear something they don’t like– I shook my head in protest. I got angry. I said things I probably shouldn’t have in response to such a claim. And I Immediately began thinking of how I needed to find another counselor–you know, someone a little more like-minded who sided with me and what I believed to be right. Know what else? I was dead-set on proving this woman wrong. Because everything I had ever known to be true (as far as my role as a mother) screamed the opposite of her recent revelation.
I left that office slightly traumatized, but as I went home that evening to cook dinner, draw baths, and start the laundry, her words began to sink in. What if she was right? What if everything I thought to be true, wasn’t? What if I had been doing it wrong all these years? I struggled with the reality of it all. With the idea of putting my kiddos second–or even third for that matter. Of re-prioritizing.
But I had to.
Because the man I fell in love with, married, and brought children into the world with–the man who worked hard to provide for his family? Our relationship had taken a backseat…not for days or months–but years. And when it came to the God who created us, who brought us together, and blessed us too many times to count? He wasn’t even on the radar. He wasn’t at the center of our union like I was learning He needed to be..and my marriage and our family was suffering because of it. Big time.
Heres’ the thing: as a mom I had to learn to that my kids could no longer monopolize all of my time (hard, right?). That my focus shouldn’t entirely be on them. Rather, it would have to be shared, divided even.That they would no longer take first place on my list of priorities. Rather, God would claim the top spot, my husband second, and my children third.
Now for you, my friend who might be processing these words for the first time, angered by what I’m suggesting, let me just say I understand where you’re at. And before you click that big “X” in the top left corner, or scroll down to leave a not-so-nice comment, allow me to say this: our children need to know that a connection with God is first and foremost. They need to be fully aware that their daddy and the relationship you have with him is unbelievably important, just as they must realize that tending to your needs as a couple will only make your family stronger…better. So how do you do this? How do make less time for your kids?
- Put God first. I firmly believe that our children need to see us spending time with the Lord. That our relationship with God is of top priority in our lives. So, do so each day. Pray often. Commit to Him. Get immersed in His Word. Love Him and follow HIm with your whole heart. And then teach your kids to do the same.
- Carve Out Time for the Hubs. That man in your life needs to know he’s respected by you. He needs to know that the way you first felt about him years ago (while you were dating), has morphed into a much stronger and deeper love today. And? He needs to know he’s appreciated for all that he does. So think about it. Think about what you can do to spend time as a couple–connecting (or reconnecting). Go on outings, get adventurous, and have fun together…again…and on a regular basis.
- Get Centered. As I mentioned in this article, God needs to be at the center of our marriages. He is the glue–the foundation–that holds our families together, afterall. If we’re grounded in Him, connected and unified, our marriages will be solid and our families will be blessed.
- Balance. One of the trickiest things about motherhood is learning to balance it all–especially when it comes to our time. Be intentional in figuring out how to do just that–how to love on our kiddos, glorify our Creator, and honor the needs of our husband (not in that order of course). Difficult? Yes. Possible? Totally.
What say you? Have you struggled with this?