Monday, May 5, 2014

Philosophy: Kids as a Part – Not the Whole

So many parents get completely consumed with their kids. I get this. It is a very natural reaction to having a baby enter your life and “take over” your entire world. Before we had Hadley, we were on vacation in Asia. Actually, the timing for this trip was pretty incredible. We found out about being pregnant the night before we got on the plane to Beijing. Pretty mind blowing. During that trip, we consciously decided not have our kids be the entire center of our life.

Obvious: Great Wall of China. 
We still wanted to live as a couple, and as individuals. We made a similar commitment to one another when we were getting married. In order for us to be a happy couple, we had to be happy individuals first. This commitment is part of the reason I write this blog today.

In my opinion, the same goes for introducing kids into a marriage. The kids need to be incorporated into your life as a couple, not your marriage into the baby’s world. Yes, at first that is a little crazy. But after just a couple weeks, we started bringing Hadley with us to dinner at least once a week. Now yes, this “date night” wasn't the same as it was before Hadley but she was becoming a part of us, extending our family. Over time, Hadley would stay home with Gammy or a sitter so Mike and I could have a true date night… to really connect with each other. Then when she was 6 months, we took a big leap. Most of our friends, and most parents would think we were nuts. We left our baby, our adorable baby, and went to Argentina for 10 days.  

Mikey and me making a wish for our family's future. 
 We applied the same approach when Harrison came and overall it kept working. We did date nights and trips abroad. We are trying to keep it alive now that we have three kids under five. A new challenge! So far no big trips without our "posse" in toe, but soon enough I know it will happen. 

Now this philosophy really isn't about travel at all. It is about kids being a HUGE part of our day and the biggest focus of our time but not everything. I think there is a big difference here. Here is why…. I want to be a mom, but I don’t want to be a single mom. I want my kids to have a dad in their daily life. I want their dad to be my husband. I also want to be happy… so the marriage has to be healthy. So here is my order of priority.
  1. Me (I know this sounds selfish, but without this, how can I be a good wife and mom?)
  2. Mikey
  3. Kids
All three, are webbed into a family circle, always connected. But each person has their own sphere of influence on the circle, contributing or depleting from the whole.

Disagree?  I would love to hear why. Please post your thoughts on if kids should be first on the priority list? Or if the marriage/spouse should come first? 

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree Lisa! We made the same decision before kids that we wouldn't lose ourselves or our marriage when we had kids. It is tough sometimes and we constantly have to re-align our priorities (for us it's #1-God, #2-Marriage, #3-kids). I think it is so important to have a strong marriage and strong parents as individuals. It creates a stable home for the kids to grow up in and good examples for them to watch of a mom and dad who take time for themselves and for their marriage!