It’s so darn easy to put my kids first.
As a mom, it feels like my life revolves around these little people and their big needs. And it probably feels that way because, realistically, it does. They are, without a doubt, the main focus of my attention.
Because they demand it, really. They need me—my time, my energy, my help, my guidance, my presence, my mad making-three-different-meals-they-refuse-to-eat skills—far more than anyone else has ever needed me.
But, I’ll be completely honest: I believe, in the depths of my heart, that it’s a mistake to put them first.
Whoa. I know, I know. Just hear me out, though.
Because before I’d even thought seriously about “starting a family,” beyond those idyllic teenage dreams of what my very own fairy tale of a life might look like one day, I started a family. And I’m not quite sure why we don’t see it that way.
When we talk about “starting a family,” we’re always referring to welcoming little ones, to the crazy, beautiful, messy journey of parenthood.
But on that picturesque August afternoon, with brilliant sunbeams dancing across the lake and the majestic mountains encircling us in their embrace, our family began.
We read our vows.
We cut the cake.
He danced with his mom, and I with my dad.
And we became a family. Just the two of us.
That’s how it all began—where this whole thing started—with the two of us.
I lose sight of that, though, quite often. Too often.
Because my husband plain and simply doesn’t need me as much as my kids do. So I give and give and give of myself, day in and day out, for my children.
It’s natural, really, to give them my all and him only what’s left over.
But at the end of the day, he deserves so much more than my leftovers. And that doesn’t mean I can’t be exhausted.
That doesn’t mean I can’t have hard days.
That doesn’t mean I can’t focus on the kids when they need me.
That doesn’t mean I can’t jump in the shower once bedtime routines are complete.
That doesn’t mean I can’t tell him I need a little alone time.
It just means that I am more aware.
It means that I consider him.
It means that I recognize his needs.
It means that I listen—really listen—when he tells me about his hopes and dreams and fears.
It means that I know what makes him feel most loved.
It means that I get away with him—just him—when we can.
It means that I pray for him and with him.
It means that I love him well, and I give my kids the unparalleled gift of witnessing that love.
A love that’s far from perfect, yet never gives up. A love that isn’t always easy, yet is always worth fighting for. A love that puts another before yourself, yet accepts the same in return. A love that is difficult to prioritize, yet you do it anyway.
So I don’t put my husband first because I’m a terrible mom.
I put him first because I’m a great one.