By Amber Doty
Less than one month after my husband and I were married—before I even had a chance to mail thank you notes for our wedding gifts—I found myself holding what appeared to be, to my surprise, a positive pregnancy test. Weeks later, in a room lit only by the glow of an ultrasound screen, we learned that our baby’s due date was exactly nine months from our wedding. As it turned out, our new life together wasn’t the only one that began on that spring day.
Eight and a half months into our marriage, while we were still getting comfortable in our roles as husband and wife, we became mom and dad. We were newlyweds and parents. I won’t say that our son was poorly planned—we were both anxious to start our family—but I will say that in hindsight becoming a mother in the same year that you become a wife is not for the weak. The first year of our son’s life was the most difficult of our marriage to date and it is also the year I learned a very important lesson: My husband must always come before our children and, according to a survey of counseling professionals from Your Tango, the lesson is a good one. Half of the experts polled believe that wives should prioritize their husband over their kids.
It is an admission often met with outrage when shared with my mom friends, and as novelist Ayelet Waldman knows all too well, with the general public. The wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon published avowing her love for her husband first before her children, making clear the distinction that while she loves her kids she is not in love with them as she is her with husband. A media firestorm followed, with condemnations from mommy bloggers across the country and an invitation to the Oprah show in order to “explain herself.”
After all, this goes against the golden rule of motherhood, the one that tells us being a good parent means sacrificing all for the happiness and well-being of our children. Putting aside our own needs for theirs is practically a requirement, but, I’m sorry, I’m just not buying it.
Neither are many of the husbands who have commented on the article releasing YourTango’s recent survey results. YourTango member Tanstaafl2 wrote that his wife’s decision to prioritize their children over him has affected his emotional and physical health.