Is putting your husband’s needs before your children’s really such a controversial idea?
Before I had my own babies, I envisioned the kind of mother I would be: some Carol Brady mixed with Claire from Modern Family and a pinch of Married with Children’s Peg Bundy just for fun. I could never pull off June Cleaver; it’s just not in my DNA to make dinner from scratch every night.
And I knew I wouldn’t be the crafty mum, fashioning homemade Halloween costumes from cardboard and felt and a little glitter. So I set realistic expectations for myself, because what’s the point in having goals if they’re not attainable? What never occurred to me, however, were the expectations that society, particularly other women, had set – for me and all other mums.
Challenging stale notions of who mothers are supposed to be was the theme of an article by Amber Doty titled, “Putting Your Husband First.” In it, the authour boldly states that her husband is her number-one priority:
“While I understand Patricia’s point on the possible impermanence of marriage versus the indissoluble bond between a mother and child, I view my investment in my relationship with my spouse as one that is beneficial to our family as a whole. Prioritising my husband’s needs decreases the likelihood of divorce and increases the probability that our children will remain in a two-parent home.”
When I read that passage, I silently nodded, recalling the times I had put my husband’s needs before our kids’ and – are you sitting down? – the days, though rare, I have put my own before them all.
The authour’s rationale, one with which I agree, is that she and her husband are a team, and winning teams practice together and exercise open communication. The latter, granted, is not easy to do with children constantly interrupting conversation (and sexy time), so a date night now and then is important. And I’m sorry kids, but sometimes Mummy would rather cuddle on the couch with Daddy than play Candyland for the eleventeenth time.
Does that make us bad mothers?
Yes. At least according to the venomous comments left by several “anonymous” (shocking!) readers.
Many were upset at the idea that a mother would so “selfishly ignore her children” by “catering to her spouse". Others just couldn’t wrap their brains around why a woman would have kids if she wasn’t going to make them the centre of her universe.