I’m not in love with my kids…


So, I’m the worst mom in the world. No, seriously. A lot of people will tell you so. Just ask the people who commented on the “Entertainment Tax” scenario.

All kidding aside, as parents, who among us hasn’t thought they were the worst parent ever? We all have. It’s kind of bad, though, when others are also telling you that you’re the worst parent ever. Anytime I have said what I am about to say, there is always outrage and unbelief by many.

I love my husband more than I love my kids. Yes, I love my kids immensely – but I love my husband more. Speaking in earthly terms only, I put him first in my life – before my kids. (In all terms, God is first – then my husband, then my kids.)

Because of a horrible break-up with someone, who’d had me fooled for a few years, and the bad and failed marriages I’d seen in my lifetime – I was pretty much done with relationships when I met Tom. For me, living the rest of my life as an old maid was a much better alternative than being treated like a servant, a second rate citizen or someone who couldn’t be trusted. I’d promised myself that I’d not allow anyone treat me the way I’d been treated up to that point. I was also one of those “see what I want and I go after it” people too. Which I applied to guys. If they didn’t ask me out, I’d ask them. Well, not anymore. I was done.

It took Tom 4 months to ask me out and I can’t tell you the number of times in those 4 months I almost broke my promise to myself and said “Hey, we should go to lunch…” But I didn’t. When he finally asked me out and I could tell we were headed for ‘marriage’ (because of a specific situation that arose) I began to pose hypothetical questions, based on things I’d seen or experienced in relationships, and ask him how he’d handle them. I knew what my answer was and I knew what was an acceptable answer from him. Acceptable to me, anyway.

There were some answers he gave that made me question the answer I originally thought I wanted to hear. Some that made me change my first thoughts on it – but none that I compromised my beliefs on. For instance, when I asked him who he’d put first in our relationship – me or the kids – and expecting “me” to be the answer, I realized I was wrong when his response was “Neither. God first – always – then you, then the kids.”

There were answers that sparked discussion and debate. Things he changed his first thoughts on. There were questions about our relationship, how he’d handle certain situations with possible children, situations with family, in-laws, etc. I covered it all. (Perhaps I’ll put some of those questions in another post)

Now that we’re married (almost 15 years) and two kids later – it’s clear that I made the right decision. Tom’s first thoughts, when doing things, are of me. Not to say he never does for himself, what I mean is he puts me first. I do the same with him.

Awhile back, I was having a conversation about relationships with a friend and was sort of shocked at what I was hearing. She, and/or many of our friends, didn’t share a bed with their husbands. Slept in different rooms. Some even shared a bed with their kids while their husband stayed in the guest room. There were those whose husbands were over seas for 6 months or more – voluntarily – when I thought they’d had no choice. Some were far unhappier than they seemed and there was even a situation where one couple didn’t consider it cheating if the other person they were with was not the opposite sex. I was baffled!

At one point in the conversation, she said “Wouldn’t it be great if the wife was in the marriage to make her husband happy and the husband was in the marriage to make the wife happy?”

My response? “Isn’t that the way all marriages are?” Apparently – not.

The problem for me is – I wonder if my kids will resent the closeness my husband and I share. We sleep in the same room, have NEVER allowed the children to sleep in our bed and by 10 o’clock at night (sometimes earlier) – whether the kids are still up or not – we go to our room and shut the door. We spend time alone – and no, I don’t mean in the physical way. Not always anyway. Sometimes we watch TV, talk, read, laugh and cut up – we’re just alone – together. The kids know they can knock on the door if they need something, but most of the time they’re already in bed anyway. There are tons of people I can call to go and do ‘something’ with, but Tom is the only person who I can do ‘nothing’ with.

We present a united front when it comes to disciplining the children and don’t question each other in front of the kids. After the discipline is over, we may pull one another to the side and say “I think that was a bit harsh…” or not harsh enough. Then we call the kid back and rectify it. Apologize to them, if necessary – but we never undermine each other. Never. If one of them asks if they can go somewhere or do something, we check with the other parent first. No way to go and ask Dad once Mom has said no… (They still try to get away with stuff though!)

So, see, because I put my husband first and he puts me first – it makes me feel very selfish. Perhaps I am. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Some will say yes. I’ve heard all sorts of comments on it.

Some say it’s bad because the relationship doesn’t include the kids. My response to that is “It’s not supposed to include the kids.” Believe me, we include the kids in our lives. Anyone who has read any of my posts on my Facebook page or Clean Funny Pics knows that, but include them in our relationship? Uh-uh. No way. Our relationship is ours. I put SO much of our relationship on the page and website, but there are still MANY things that are just ours. Not on the website, not for the kids – just us. Conversations, situations, events, etc.

Some say it’s bad because if you never fight then the kids don’t learn how to fight. To that I say “Ludicrous”. There is a HUGE difference in fighting and disagreeing. We disagree and we do so in front of the kids. We don’t scream (though I have been known to raise my voice) and we NEVER call names or insult each other. Ever. Not in front of the kids or otherwise. Believe me, we state – when necessary – things that frustrate us that the other is doing, but never mean and insulting.

Others say “How can you put your husband’s needs before your children? What if they’re hungry? Or need you and you’re doing something your husband wants you to do?” Again, ridiculous. Remember the part where he puts me first too? If he was demanding I do this or that for him, that wouldn’t be putting me first. Of course the children’s NEEDS come first to both of us, but their ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ are different things.

It boils down to this. I love my children. I am in love with my husband. I married him because I was in love with him. Once children enter the equation, why would the love I have for him decrease? It shouldn’t. It spread to my children. They are an extension of that love, but I am not ‘in love’ with them and I don’t just ‘love’ my husband.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this, but let me ask… If you put your child(ren), their wants and what you want for them, before your husband’s wants (and his needs), what will happen when the kids have left the nest and gone to college, married, or moved out? After 18+ years of treating your spouse as secondary, do you think it will just go back to what it was before you had kids? Many marriages suffer when their kids get to be teens and are on their own more and more. No, not all end in divorce (though many do – as I am a product of one of those), but it will be a far different experience. That’s why, in my opinion, people suffer ’empty nest’ to the degree they do. The kids will always be missed and it will take some adjustment, but when you’ve always leaned on your spouse to get your through, this will be easier to get through as well.

Thing is, the Bible says when you marry, the two become one. It says to cleave to your (spouse). It doesn’t say to cleave to your spouse – until you have kids…

Just my thoughts.
As always, feel free to share.

10 thoughts on “I’m not in love with my kids…”

  1. Love this post, and totally agree with you! My husband and I have been married 3 1/2 years and don’t have kids quite yet, but intend to do exactly this when we do have them. Like you and Tom, we discussed a LOT before marriage as well, and we definitely agree that our marriage needs to stay a priority and we need to be united in front of the kids. I come from a family where my parents slept apart since I was about 8 (started because my mom worked the night shift as a nurse, then continued…) and my brother and I heard arguments between them weekly. Not discussions or disagreements, but full-out arguments. We definitely had a house with 2 different sets of rules depending on the parent you asked. Not surprisingly, my parents are now divorced. I got some good lessons growing up on how to do marriage, as well as some really good lessons on how not to do it. Kids are much more secure when they see that their parents are united–no matter how much they may want a parent on their side in some situations, the rest of the time there is comfort and stability in knowing that parents are on the same side together, all the time, even if they do disagree about some details. And yes, having a diplomatic and polite discussion/disagreement in front of the kids is one thing, but even with that you have to be careful–an all-out fight in front of the kids (or ever, honestly) is never ideal. Parenting should be done as a team–how you can do that when you let your kids come between you, I don’t know. Anyway, all that is part of the reason we wanted to wait a few years before having kids–we wanted to build that team foundation first so that we have some experience to go on. Granted I know plenty of people who had kids right away and are still doing an admirable job of prioritizing, but we made the decision we felt was best for us.

    I’m sure that of the people who read my comment, many are laughing at my ideals considering we don’t have kids yet and are relative newlyweds…but I just wanted to thank you for being one of those couples/families that younger marrieds like my husband and I can look up to and model after!

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  2. Good on you, Shelley! You and Tom are demonstrating a Biblical marriage for your kids and when they are grown they will thank you for it. So will their wives. It is difficult for some to put their marriage and spouse first, but it is the way it should be. Thank you for being so transparent.

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  3. I agree wholeheartedly. But I’m a Christian as well, so that’s probably why. LOL. You guys seem like you have a healthy marriage and I pray God would continue to bless you guys :)! I follow you on FB as well and you guys are adorable.

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  4. Beautifully written and well said. That is how I hoped my marriage and family would be, what I think it should be. Unfortunately, it is not what I have. However, because of people like you (and few others that I know) that have good relationships (which is what you have described) I believe it is possible… just not for me. Thank you for being “proof” that it such relationships are real.

    As for fearing that your children will resent the closeness you have with your spouse, I think it is more likely that you have given a great example of what marriage should look like. Therefore, I think it is more likely they will thank you and not resent you.

    Just my two cents,
    ~L

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  5. The relationship you describe here is exactly what I want for myself and my future husband. Thanks so much for posting great posts like this as well as maintaining a site and Facebook page where I can laugh and not worry about whether I’ll come across dirty jokes. Have a marvelous day!!

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