Monday, June 16, 2008

Children: #1 or #2?

Let me give you some background. You all know I have my general and specific thoughts on marriage and infidelity and those conversations sparked conversations about another hot topic: the role of kids in the family. I have yet to form a strong opinion on this one, but I'll present both sides.

Preface: I'm talking about married people with kids.

Kids=Priority #1 POV
On the one hand parents feel like children didn't ask to be in this world, so they need to give them what they need to survive. Which usually includes the basics: food, clothing, shelter and the not-so-basics: gaming systems, $200 shoes, $6,000 pre-school educations AND ALL of the parents time and energy.

These parents feel it is their duty to do whatever it takes to give their children every opportunity at life. And if it means arguing with, divorcing, spending less time with or any other thing to their spouse, they'll do it because the kids are the top priority.

Kids=Priority #2 POV
On the other hand, some spouses feel like the marriage is priority # 1 and everything else (including the kids) is secondary. So if it comes to the husband/wife being happy or the kids being happy, these people are going to pick the spouse more times than not. Now, so we're clear, I'm not talking about ANY sort of abuse to the kids. I'm just saying that the spouses are not willing to sacrifice time (or energy) with each other because jr. has soccer practice. They're not going to sacrifice their love life, nor quality time because of the kids.

These people feel that if making kids happy is breaking up the marriage, they'd rather pay more attention to the marriage. They feel why not have unhappy kids for a season [who will eventually get over it] and keep your marriage in tact, than to end up alone when the kids leave. (Because hopefully, the kids will leave someday).

As you know I don't have a spouse, nor any kids and though usually EXTREMELY opinionated, I've yet to form an opinion on this one. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, but am curious to hears others' thoughts.

If you have an opinion, let me know:

Are you going to go to work, run behind kids all evening, then commit to spending a set amount of quality time with a spouse?

Are you going to have the kids be less involved (skipping piano, ballet, football and VBS) so you and your spouse can have more time to be together?

Are you going to sacrifice love, sex and all that other ish to make sure the kids go to the best schools and are well-rounded educated individuals who have the best chance of success at life? (Be for real, raising geniuses can be tough on one's schedule).

Are you willing to leave a spouse because you all don't see eye to eye on how the kids are raised? (For example: S/he wants to move to another country and you don't think it'd be good to uproot the kids)

All of that to say what's the #1 priority: the kids or the marriage?


Brown Girl Gumbo said...


I'm not sure about this one. It's a tough topic. I would assume that putting your marriage first would ultimately be beneficial to your children. If everything is ok with mom and dad, the kiddies will be just fine. Children thrive when their parents are doing well and communicating with one another.

I guess I'll find out what I'll really do once I have children of my own.

Again, great topic!

Btw, very cute pic!! As you can see, I changed mine since I had it since I first started blogging last year. :-)

T said...

Thanks bgg, your new pic is fab as well!

Question: How do I get the pic to show up on my comments. Right now, it's just on my page.

antithesis said...

that's difficult. i think my kids would come first though. i dont plan to have a dissolution of marriage simply because we cant agree on how we will raise the kids because i hope that issue is discussed prior to walking down the isle. however, some unforseeable differences may arise and i would need to put my kids first. it's been my belief that you shouldnt have kids right away after getting married to spend that time enjoying each other. if at all possible, i want to do a little planning for kids. but i also know there is never a RIGHT time to have kids.

Brown Girl Gumbo said...

@T - Go to your dashboard and edit your profile photo. Mine did it automatically so that's strange that yours didn't. Try it again and see if it works when you go to the edit profile page. Good luck!

ThummyB said...

Hmmm - I think that I am leaning more towards thought process #2.

I have to say that I think that the marriage/husband & wife are the core of the family, so if that isn't right, then I think that the rest would start to fall apart. However, in practical application what I really mean is the following:

- It's ok carve out time just for mom & dad. The two of us can celebrate Valentine's Day/Anniversaries/Other special dates alone w/o the kids. It isn't wrong or neglectful to not include the kiddies in everything that you do.

- It's ok to limit the kids activities to an amount that will keep us all sane and happy. Yes, I believe in sacrificing to give the children important opportunities, but that doesn't necessarily mean taking out a ridiculous loan to send them to space camp or never having time to exercise b/c you are shuttling them btwn activities from 7am - 9pm.

- I think that it's ok for your spouse to be your favorite/#1. Maybe it is naive, but I'd like to think that my husband and I will be each other's best friend. Some parents transfer all of their affection/attention/hopes/dreams onto their children, and sort of forget about their mate. I would hope to be in a situation where my husband and I saw ourselves as a team trying to navigate and survive the jungle that is marriage and raising children.

I think that it is natural for a parent to want the best for and want to give the best to their kids. However, I don't think that life stops and then starts revolving around children once they come into the pic.

Que.P said...

First comes the love, then comes the marriage, and then by the time the baby carriage comes along, the love should be strong enough to hold the marriage together in light of the challenges presenting by parenting, but if things are not together with the marriage, child-bearing shouldn't even be on the agenda. If things are done decently and in order, by the time children come into the picture, the priority will be FAMILY - husband, wife, and children - not one over the other, not one separate from the other.