Yet another article has been written about the dangers of putting your kids before your partner. I’m left wondering what planet all of these parents who can put their partners first live on, because I would like to move there.
In his book, I Love You But You Always Put Me Last, Andrew G. Marshall puts into print the groundbreaking idea that we should all put our child’s needs after our partner’s. The Guardian interviewed him to attempt to get to the root of the advice.
“At the centre of my work is an idea so radical I will be surprised if you buy it: you should put your children second. Of course, there will be times when the children need you â€“ perhaps they are ill or it’s their first day at school. But on an everyday basis your husband or your wife should be your number one priority.”
That’s so weird. My children are rarely ill, and both of them are not school-aged yet, but strangely they need me daily, almost incessantly; one is 3-months-old and one is almost 3-years-old. Oddly, they can’t prepare their own meals, leave the house alone, and since I don’t want to live in a padded child-proofed cell, they really can’t be completely out of sight, at any time. Oh, also, they both literally need me to wipe their asses every couple of hours.Â My husband canÂ remarkably feed himself, navigate a house full of knick-knacks without choking on anything and wipe his own ass. He doesn’t need me as much as my kids do, hence, he’s second. Sorry.
At this point, I should introduce the idea that sits alongside “Put your children second”, and that is “Be a good enough parent”. Look out for your children but do not micromanage them. If you put all your energy into raising the next generation, you risk identifying so closely with your children that their success is your success and their failure is yours, and this will put them under unnecessary pressure.
Parenting an infant equals micromanaging. Sorry, but it does. She’s just become able to hold her head up on her own. I understand your point, though. Helicopter parents are bad. But you do understand that there is a huge range of parenting in between total neglect and helicopter parenting, most of us fall into that range, and it takes a lot of time, effort and energy?
“I’m not telling people how to bring up their children. What I’m interested in is helping people not ruin their marriage in the process. My expertise is in your relationship with each other.”
This is where I will mention that this man has no kids and has absolutely no idea what kind of strain maintaining a family puts on a relationship.Â Being in charge of keeping other humans alive is not easy work. Do I sound bitter? I am. I’m sick of being told how important it is to put your partner first when you have kids – especially by someone who has no kids.
Look, I’m not a sanctimonious asshole who thinks that if you don’t worship the ground your kids walk on, you are a terrible parent.Â I’m just exhausted, have no free time, and can’t even imaging being able to put mine our my partner’s need first right now.
It would be great, though.