I don't remember the specifics, but it was an Oprah show.
I was newly married and without children (you know, the days when I still went to movies and slept on a regular basis?) and I was visiting with my mom.
The show was about marriage and kids.
Keep in mind, I did NOT have children...yet.
There were women on the show talking to Oprah how hard it was to be a mom - working moms, stay at home moms, just moms in general.
And then, as a special guest (I think it was just some random woman) there was a lady who, get this, loved her husband MORE than her children! I know, shocking.
All the other women berated her, "How can you possibly love your husband more than the precious children you mother?"
As I watched this episode, I sided with the special guest. Of course you should love your husband more...otherwise your kids will be the center of the universe and what happens when your kids grow up?
My mom on the other hand, who had three children, sided with the mob. "Of course you love your children more than your husband...how could you not?"
If I recall, we had quite the discussion that day...and I believe I left that day agreeing to disagree.
Now, 7 years or so later and 4 children later, I agree with...the special guest. Still.
But she made it seem so easy.
I try to love my hubby with all my heart. I try to not let him slip to the back burner. I try to value his conversation and pay total attention to him. I try to give him one hundred percent of me all the time. I try to be understanding of his role as provider. I try, I try, I try.
But I think I fail...often.
I don't know how much of my failure is really me intentionally choosing my kids over Dave and how much of it is pure survival at this stage in life.
When he is trying to tell me about his day, and I quickly run away to save the house from burning down due to a candle that has been intercepted by a toddler (no, really, I do take precautions in my deodorizing my house...but seriously people, don't underestimate the power of an acrobatic toddler)...or when I am trying to make him dinner because I know he skipped lunch to save us money and I completely space it due to my four year olds deciding to "cook" themselves with all my spices (ya, my kids like to cook...possibly a little too much) - I know he feels like he comes last, but really, would he like if I ignored them in these situations and continued tending solely to him? I think not.
But here's my dilemma - and this was brought to the forefront of my attention yesterday...
If when he is talking to me, and the kids are about to, let's say dump an entire container of orange juice all over the floor, and I divert my attention to the soon to be catastrophe - he gets frustrated at me for (once again) putting him last. If I, however, pay attention to him and let the catastrophe happen, then he gets frustrated at the kids and at me for allowing it to happen. And then I, in my wonderfully mature and rational way, get frustrated at him for being so (what I feel at the time) ridiculous...and then we don't talk for a couple of hours.
I understand that he wants to feel important.
Poor guy went from being the center of my universe (that may be overstating it a bit, but you understand my point) to feeling lost in a crowd of kids overnight. Two babies right away, three babies shortly after that, four babies soon after - and I know he feels like screaming, "HELLO!!!! I'M STILL HERE!!!! DON'T FORGET ME!!!!!!!!!!"
Yet I, multi-tasking phenom that I am, somehow cannot figure out how to juggle my four small children and my husband and make them all feel valued and love ALL AT THE SAME TIME. But I need to. I want to. I want my husband to leave each day feeling like he is the most important human being in the world to me, and come home feeling like the love of my life and my hero for providing for us. Yet, I know that in reality, when he leaves in the morning he feels just like a paycheck needing to happen and when he comes home at night he feels like he is my hired hand.
I am sure it will get easier as they get older and less demanding and prone to doing things that include flooding, fire, destruction and danger - but the baby is one...and I can't continue feeling like I am constantly letting him down, and I know he can't continue feeling like he is forgotten until the baby is old enough to wipe his own bottom (sorry about another poop reference, but seriously - that's a huge cause of interrupted conversation!)
And beyond all that, if it doesn't change soon, I can envision us when they are all busy with their own lives and we are alone, not knowing how to carry on a conversation without having to be busy all the time...dividing my attention.
How do you handle this? Or do you?
Do you side with the women in the mob who feel that there is no possible way you can love your husband more than your children, or do you side with the special guest who believed it was imperative that you do?