When you have kids, it is all too easy to lose yourself in the mix. When you’re constantly putting the necessities of your children at the forefront, other needs fall by the wayside. No longer are afternoons spent as just you and your significant other. A plus-one is added to the mix, one who demands the spotlight and attention above all else.
In the beginning of the journey and lifestyle change known as parenthood, it is all too easy to lose your identity between mountains of dirty diapers and midnight feedings. The hardest thing to find in the first years is balance. Focus is shifted, priorities are rearranged, and in that, sometimes the first thing lost in the shuffle is time devoted to your partner.
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to find the middle—the right balance between devoted parent and loving spouse. There is a line we cross into what could be called over-parenting, compensating for the things we see other parents do with their children and feel we should be giving our kids as well. We over-parent for things missed in our own childhood, fulfilling a need to make sure our children get the things we missed out on, all the while showering them with our utmost attention and affections.
And when we spend our time over-parenting, what suffers?
As a spouse, I am guilty.
I am guilty of giving my kids more kisses than I give my wife. In the day to day, I forget even she needs pecks to remind her of my love for her.
I am guilty of spending a little too long by my children’s cribs instead of closing the door and heading off to nuzzle my life partner. Too many minutes that I should have her in my arms are spent over resting toddlers while I wonder what the future might hold for children who are not yet old enough to grasp the concept of the future.
I am guilty of browsing the toy aisle instead of the floral section. Constantly, I look over toys for educational value when I should be picking out a bouquet of flowers for my wife.
It isn’t wrong necessarily, but again, at what expense does it come?
What snuggles should be allocated away from our children and saved for our significant others?
What is the cost of the never-ending quest to give our children everything we feel they deserve and need? Do we fuck up our our relationship with the person we chose to take this journey with in order to prevent fucking up our kids?
They will be fine with one less kiss.
I think I can save a snuggle for my love.
I know they will someday understand Daddy spent the toy money on a dozen roses Mommy needed to see on the counter after a long day of trying to survive this crazy little thing called parenting.
It doesn’t make you a bad parent if you portion time away from your kids to be with your spouse. In fact, if you are taking the time to maintain a relationship with your counterpart, you are teaching your children so much more about the properties of love. You are showing them the importance of healthy relationships. You are teaching them to continue building on a commitment to another person and taking time to reinforce and nurture the bonds that bind. Setting an example for your children in the household helps them for when they are ready to go off and build their own families.
Being a good spouse is being a good parent.