Stop making your children the centre of your universe. There, I’ve said it. Before you begin throwing stones, let me just say that I love my children to death. I’m not one of those women whose ultimate goal in life is to be in a relationship, or those unattached ones who will readily up and leave their brood for the next man that smiles their way.
I remember a few years ago, long before I began this parenting business, hearing an older woman say how, when she got home, she always kissed her husband before her children and I couldn’t understand it. What do you mean? Your children come out of you; of course you love them above all else, I thought to myself. Now I get it. Your children exist because your relationship is thriving or it once thrived. It is not the other way around.
I know, throughout your whole adulthood, especially for women, it has been drummed into your heads that you should put your offspring before anyone and anything else. That this is what makes a woman a good mother.
I agree. A good mother is one who is attentive to the needs of her children. Do we, however, stop to think about what these needs may be? The top emotional needs for any child would be to feel loved and protected, emotions that are hard to come by in a house where the adults barely speak to each other.
Love your children. Spoil them if you want to. Tend to their needs. But also make your relationship a top priority. Working on your relationship, being thoughtful with your partner and intentionally spending time together regularly is actually a way of watching out for your little ones.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t cater for your children’s emotional welfare when you are an emotional wreck. If your primary relationship is working, naturally, you will give out positivity to your little ones. Children are more intuitive than we give them credit for. They can feel your unhappiness and it unsettles them.
Two happy, thriving parents under different roofs are better than two out of synch ones under the same roof. Plus where do you expect your children to learn what a healthy relationship or a happy, well-adjusted adult looks like? Or that marriage can be a fun place to be?
Then there’s also the little fact that your children will leave the nest and if you’re not careful, you will be left with a stranger. Put the health of your relationship first.