So, you’ve found yourself in the cross-hairs of an age old dilemma. In front of you there are two seemingly impossible choices: the clanging voices of your children, and the faint, sometimes silent, hints your wife drops when she needs your attention. Make the wrong move and you could pay with your life!
Alright, this may be a little dramatic, but the decision is real nonetheless. The life of a husband and father is one that requires a delicate balance. There are a lot of things that compete for our time but none more pressing than the family. The question is not “who do you love more,” but rather, “where should your priorities lie?”
The Un-Natural Order Of Things
In talking with other dads there seems to be a common theme in what we view to be the norm. We gravitate towards the group whose voices are the loudest. If you have kids, it means you probably have a laser focus on fixing whatever is making them scream. The wife on the other hand, is usually much more subtle. You won’t normally find her competing for your attention. I mean seriously, she is probably outrunning you to tend to the kids any way.
Kids just have a way of becoming the focal point of the family. Beyond the obvious reality that your children have a lot of immediate needs, their lives often become your world. This seems like the appropriate way to go right? Think about it…if you are truly a good parent, won’t you spend the bulk of your time pouring yourself in to raising them the right way?
Bucking The System
First, let me preface what I am about to say with me admitting that there are few things in this world that I love more than my daughters. If you are a parent, then I am sure you’re nodding in agreement. I also admit that raising kids is an undertaking that cannot be rivaled. It is the most exhausting and rewarding thing that a man will ever do. You undoubtedly need an unshakable resolve to be there for them.
However, I think we have gotten off course a bit. There was a certain “somebody” that existed before the kids came along and one you hope will be there when they have gone. In fact, your family was complete when you said “I do.” It’s shocking isn’t it! Could there actually be life outside of your children?
I would even go as far as to say that you are raising your kids with some serious deficiencies if they are the center of your universe. If you don’t show them what a healthy marriage looks like, where will they learn it? If dad doesn’t make it a priority to spend time with mom, then why would your kids do anything different? Our kids need to see that our marriages carry the weight of the family. If that fails, then the family fails.
Don’t Be A Poser
If you are serious about being a dad then do yourself a favor and don’t fake it! Your kids won’t be ignorant forever. Eventually they will recognize that mom and dad are just pretending.
The idea is to make sure that your kids see that mom (or dad, for you ladies out there) is a priority. So plan dates (I suck at this one). Make some “kid free” time at home to talk about each other’s day. You may even want to get really crazy and spend an entire night away!
Whatever it is, be purposeful….and make sure your kids know the reason why.