To think that your children should be your priority?

(125 Posts)
Readallaboutit1 Mon 15-Jul-13 17:13:45

'Your father will always be my priority, over you, your sibling, over everyone'.

I have a DS and I am due to have DC2 very soon, there is no way that anyone including my husband would be of priority over my children.

I am stunned by this statement from my 'D'M.


Yanbu. I agree dc before all else

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Mon 15-Jul-13 17:17:18

No. But then neither do I subscribe to the 'my children are my priority in all things' school of thought. Different people are the priority at different times and depending on their needs (and mine) at the time. For example, if DH and I had planned a lovely evening for our anniversary together, would I prioritise that over DD not wanting a babysitter, yes. Would I prioritise it over her being ill and vomiting, no.

If you and your siblings are grown up and (for example) you husband is in poor health, you might be at a point in your life where your husband is your absolute priority. It's the always bit that I don't agree with.

squeakytoy Mon 15-Jul-13 17:17:40

It depends. You are now an adult. So yes, I agree with your mother.

Eyesunderarock Mon 15-Jul-13 17:18:33

My parents' marriage has always been a love affair between the two of them, no doubt as to their priorities. We were loved, and cared for but we knew the pecking order.
My marriage is not like that, my children are first and although I love my OH, he is not my priority.
Make your family what you want it to be. She is a different person, entitled to make her choices.
You are stunned? So you didn't realise it up until now?
We always knew.
Perhaps she is meaning now you and your sibling are adults?

CHJR Mon 15-Jul-13 17:19:05

There is a saying, "The children of lovers are orphans." I grew up feeling that.

CoolStoryBro Mon 15-Jul-13 17:19:08

Well, I think you have to bear in mind that your children will grow up and leave home in 18 years and that then, it's just you and your DH, if you're lucky still together. So, although I wouldn't say he's always my priority, there are definitely times I put him over and above the kids. It's pretty healthy, I think because I don't want to wake up in (for us) 9 years and think, "Crap! What now?!!!"

RevoltingPeasant Mon 15-Jul-13 17:22:24

Depends on context.

I don't really hierarchize family relationships like that, but I have to admit my DH would probably come up about equal with my mum in any list. I wouldn't have a massive problem with my mum putting her DP over me. She is a grown up with her own life.

I'd find it a bit sad if my mum were so massively invested in me that no one else mattered. I love her very much, but we see each other 3-4 times a year (live in different parts of the country) and I am an independent adult. She sees her partner every day and they share a house.

Non-issue really <shrug>

Readallaboutit1 Mon 15-Jul-13 17:22:24

I have known this to be the case since I was little and thought that this was normal however now I have had children there is no chance that anyone would come above them.

It was made very clear that this has always been the case, not just when we turned into adults.

Eyesunderarock Mon 15-Jul-13 17:22:53

'The children of lovers are orphans'
The children of lovers have a lot more independence and autonomy in my experience, without mummy and daddy breathing down their necks, organising every minute of the day and pouring insane expectations on their heads. grin

squoosh Mon 15-Jul-13 17:23:06

I don't really get why anyone would need to vocalise the love pecking order. I don't see the point in telling someone you love them...............just not as much as you love someone else.

Tailtwister Mon 15-Jul-13 17:23:31

I suppose it depends on the relationship. For me my DC always come first before anything. I'm sure it's the same for DH.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 15-Jul-13 17:23:33

So your mum actually said to you as a child, 'Your father is more important to me than you are.' In what situation did that come up?

Fakebook Mon 15-Jul-13 17:24:53

I think when your children are younger, ofcourse they're your priority, but not when they're adults! When my children grow up and start having their own children, I'd hope that I would be dh's priority and DH will be my priority.

EldritchCleavage Mon 15-Jul-13 17:25:30

What squoosh said. Even if I felt like this, my children would not be told.

smugmumofboys Mon 15-Jul-13 17:29:37

My French colleague says that she is a wife before she is a mother and her children are made aware of this. She doesn't understand the British way of putting children first.

littlemisswise Mon 15-Jul-13 17:29:54

My mum always said that to us. I said to her once that my DC are more of a priority than DH, she told me I was being ridiculous.

I had not heard that saying about the children of lovers being orphans, but that is a good way to describe how we felt when we were DC. And the strange thing is, both of my siblings and I have made our DC priority.

livinginwonderland Mon 15-Jul-13 17:30:29

When your kids are young, they should be your priority, of course, but once they're up and grown, your priorities naturally shift, surely?

OrangeLily Mon 15-Jul-13 17:30:54

It's difficult to comment because we are only TTC but I guess I can see the logic. You will live with your DH/DW/DP for the rest of your life, hopefully. Whereas your children, whilst young, have to be priority this cannot be the case for the rest of their life. Parents who make their adult children their priority would be rather suffocating I would think. My DPs and my inlaws, in particular, put each other first and a unit and we are healthy and respect this but at the same time our marriage is respected back IFYSWIM!

Pootles2010 Mon 15-Jul-13 17:31:40

I think its a more old-fashioned way of looking at things. Its how things used to be - before, you could always have more children, but your husband was your husband, now, its you can have another husband, but your children are your children.

I'd probably prioritise ds over dp, in the main because he's a child and so more vulnerable, but wouldn't really have a chat with anyone about where they came in the pecking order anyway?

Quite mean of your mum to say this to you. Is she normally so hurtful?

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 17:32:24

not always, no. Children do not automatically get priority in all things. DH and I are people too, and we will have a life together long after the children have left home.
It doesn't do your children any favours to neglect your relationship with your partner either.

I find the above quote rather sad. You begrudge your parents a good relationship and their own happiness?

CHJR Mon 15-Jul-13 17:32:26

This is an excellent example of how mothers can feel guilty the whole time, don't you think? I always feel guilty if I put my kids first, guilty if I put DH first (depending as others have said on ages, context). Let's not go into what happens if I put myself first!

magimedi Mon 15-Jul-13 17:34:11

When my DS was a baby he was my priority - he needed me for sustenance & safety. As he's grown older that has shifted.

Now hes married & my DH is getting older my DH is my priority, our time together could be limited. I am sure my DIL appreciates this.

TVTonight Mon 15-Jul-13 17:37:40

It doesn't sound very nice: I'm reading it as "I would support your father in an unreasonable request, even if it was at your expense", which in my view makes her a shit human being lacking integrity. YANBU.

coffeewineandchocolate Mon 15-Jul-13 17:39:28

I don't think it's a question of more or less love- I love ds and dh differently. my love for ds is unconditional whereas there are conditions and expectations in respect of the love I have for dh.

At present ds is a child and I'm responsible for living and protecting him, as is dh. therefore I would expect ds's needs and safety to take priority.

However part of our responsibility is to show ds how functional and healthy relationships work so there are times when dh and myself need to prioritise our relationship to ensure we remain strong and emotionally connected.

Fillybuster Mon 15-Jul-13 17:40:41

My dm used to say something similar to me, when I was a difficult teenager locking horns with my father over almost everything

I swore I would never feel that way about my own dcs.

Now, many many years on, I'm not so sure. My relationship with my dcs is non-negotiable and (for me, as long as I don't cock it up) a given. My relationship with my dh is one of choice and a lifelong commitment to making it work. When my dcs leave home one day (ok, we have a long way to go....dc3 is only just 3....) it will just be me and dh left behind. So we really need to continually work on and (in some ways) 'prioritise' our relationship, to nurture and sustain each other, and not subsume everything to the children.

TheFallenNinja Mon 15-Jul-13 17:40:43

I think that the whole family is the priority and as a unit there is enough love to go round.

Attention is slightly different, it may not be immediate but it will be there for everyone in the family.

It's plate spinning at best and there are no magic routines or practical measures or divisions of "priority" but so long as everyone has an eye out for everyone in the family each should get what they need.

timidviper Mon 15-Jul-13 17:42:21

I agree that it depends on the children's age and on the situation.

DH and I have had several sets of friends divorce since the DCs all went to university so you do have to maintain that relationship even if DCs "rate higher" when younger. Purely subjective I know but I do think that, looking at friends with younger children now, their DCs have the world revolve around them, often to the detriment of the adults and their relationships, than used to happen when mine were small.

My parents were very much for each other than for us and the lovers/orphans phrase does hit a nerve as I have always felt a bit "abandoned".

coffeewineandchocolate Mon 15-Jul-13 17:43:51

posted too soon...

If there ever became a time when dh and my relationship became detrimentalto ds then I would hope we would both be adult enough to prioritise his needs.

I think one of the military important things I want to teach ds ids to live and respect himself. To prioritise his integrity and be honest about who he is...

LilacPeony Mon 15-Jul-13 17:45:12

The children of lovers have a lot more independence and autonomy in my experience, without mummy and daddy breathing down their necks, organising every minute of the day and pouring insane expectations on their heads Well my parents fought like cat and dog and my mum was massively interfering to the point of listening to my phone conversations by picking up the other line and listening in, reading my diaries and letters, going up to the infant school and telling off children i had argued with through the bars. (We just argued, no bullying involved.) When i was 30 she and my dad once knocked on the door of my new neighbours to ask questions about the house we were going to buy (with our own money.) Has enquired about jobs for me when i was job hunting and got job app packs without my knowledge. etc etc. God i wish i had been the child of lovers!! grin

CoolStoryBro Mon 15-Jul-13 17:47:19

Children of Lovers are Orphans?!!!! No they're not. They're the children of two people that love each other. It doesn't mean that they don't then love their children too.

tittytittyhanghang Mon 15-Jul-13 17:50:14

YANBU, my children wills always be at he top of my list. I think it goes hand in hand wit lovin my children unconditionally, and it wouldn't matter what they did i'd still always love them. I cant think of anything they could do to make me not love them. DP, definitely not, he has a list of things he cant do :D

Eyesunderarock Mon 15-Jul-13 17:52:25

Oh Lilac! grin
That's exactly the sort of father mine would have been if his entire focus was on his children.
Mum would hae been the fussy, worrying individual on MN all the time with ' DD's second-best friend has told her cousin's mum that she thinks DD has too many freckles...should I blast her out of existence with my ray gun or just insist school expels her?'
We were pleased that they were so wrapped up in each other that we had a life and more independence.

alemci Mon 15-Jul-13 17:53:23

yes you need a balance. I think when they get older you have to back off and let them do get on with it but being caring. you need your own interests.

my dps were like that but in laws were a bit much. dhs mum needed to get a
life but she is really nice.

Trills Mon 15-Jul-13 17:54:58

I think it's sensible and healthy to have multiple priorities.

Trills Mon 15-Jul-13 17:57:05

TVTonight you say you hear "I would support your father in an unreasonable request, even if it was at your expense"

Does that mean that if someone says that their children are their priority you hear I would support my child in an unreasonable request, even if it was at my partner's expense?

If someone being a "your priority" means that you would support them when they were being unreasonable, to the detriment of others, then maybe nobody should be your priority.

ImNotBloody14 Mon 15-Jul-13 17:59:06

" Different people are the priority at different times and depending on their needs (and mine) at the time."

^ this

quesadilla Mon 15-Jul-13 17:59:45

That "children of lovers are orphans" saying is very depressing... I hadn't heard that. It has a very austere, self-sacrificing tone to it.

I agree with those who say its all about context. I think the idea that any member of the family is permanently set higher or lower in the pecking order than any other is just fundamentally wrong.

People who devolve all decision making to the needs of their children are just storing up trouble, more or less inviting the children to become spoiled tyrants. It does children no harm at all to learn that others needs in the family are as important as theirs.

And yet, I actually do sympathise with you a little OP: my mum took a similar tack to you: not that she loved us any less than our dad but because she took quite a submissive position in the family his needs were basicaly given primacy over ours -- not on really major things like food or health, but in terms of conversation, decisions over leisure time etc. And I think they took this too far, as I still feel resentful over it.

For example, "family" holidays were basically exercises in indulging my dad's bizarre interests (most of which involved traipsing around ancient ruins or obscure museums) to the near exclusion of ours. I'm a big believer in children being encouraged to enjoy adult culture as appropriate and to think about more grown-up things when the time is right but there's a limit to the amount of time two pre-teenage children will want to spend looking at Graeco-Roman relics in museums.

Its all about balance.

pianodoodle Mon 15-Jul-13 18:04:41

Completely depends on the scenario I suppose. I can't think of many situations where I'd have to actively make the choice about priority but I'd still go for children if pressed.

If I had the chance to only push either DH or DD out of the way of a speeding train I wouldn't hesitate to save DD. DH would do the same! If he saved me over DD I'd never forgive him.

For me that would apply no matter if DD was a child or an adult...

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 18:04:47

Well if dh died, I'd be devastated but at some point I'd probably remarry.

We could very well one day divorce and again I'd probably meet someone new.

I'm not going to ever replace one of my kids am I? So YANBU even from a purely practical point it makes sense to prioritize your children

spacegoat Mon 15-Jul-13 18:05:14

Well, I can see how as a child that remark would hurt. As a child, you expect and need to feel centre of the world.

My dh occasionally grumbled about feeling lower in priority than my dc's when they were very young. It wasn't often and he was either ignored by me or given a little more attention as I assessed the situation.

However, as my dc's are teens now occasionally we show them that they are not always the priority, our relationship is. They don't seem to mind.

Ultimately I think that the family unit is the priority. Individuals within the family will need a bit extra time, love etc at different times.

dontgowadingin Mon 15-Jul-13 18:09:12

coolstory I agree with you!
My DM and DF and then there new spouses all argued like cat and dog, where as my DGM and DGF adored each other and it shown me that healthy loving relationships do exist and work.

I think children get de-prioritized the older they get unless you are my MIL.

My nine week old DD2 is the queen of my house at the moment and DH, myself and DD1 are her adoring subjects grin but will change as she gets older.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 18:10:57

I never see the need that some people have to quantify love, as if it is rationed and love for one takes away from another.
I would say that DCs of lovers are blessed to have a loving family and can't see a problem, unless the parents are unstable with it.
It depends a lot on context - sometimes adult needs will come first.
Age also comes into it- a teenager with a mother who always puts them first becomes a burden.
You have DCs for a very short time- gone in a flash when you look back - your DH is around for decades after they have gone. Troublesome parents/PIL are the ones who haven't let go and got their own lives.
Give them roots and give them wings. Sometimes they will get priority and sometimes they won't.

I see it as the family are equal but need different attention. My child needs more attention than a partner, often, so he gets more attention. A partner who was severely ill would need more attention than a healthy adult child. All about how to make your family happier, not who to prioritise.

IneedAyoniNickname Mon 15-Jul-13 18:20:40

Mostly my dc come first, I have minimal social life, and no idea how I'll ever meet someone as a result!

However, sometimes sonething happens which means.the dc can't come first.
Last year my db had an emergency within his wifes family, he needed me. I left the dc with my mum for a week and went to help him out. Because at that time he needed me more. The dc were still clean, fed and at school, and they knew where I was and why. it, and ds1 (8.11) has said he is proud of me for helping out in an emergency smile
Of course, had the dc not 'coped' with the situation,.or if my mum wasn't able to have them, then I wouldnt have gone/come back. So I guess they were my priority in a way.

PlainOldVanilla Mon 15-Jul-13 18:23:23

My DP is very important to me but my DC will always come first. That doesn't mean that we have a bad relationship and we will split up or that when DC are grown and left home then we will fall apart. We still have our relationship too were not just parents

LastTangoInDevonshire Mon 15-Jul-13 18:24:05

OP, surely what you are saying just reduces your DH to sperm donor status?

OnFoot Mon 15-Jul-13 18:24:12

Given that you're grown-up I'd interpret that statement as meaning that she assumes you can look after yourself and that you have many things going on in your life independent of her and that therefore her main relationship is now firmly with her husband. Which would be fine.

If someone said the same thing when their children when very young, I would be pretty bemused.

My MIL happily tells anyone who'll listen that she didn't feel that she (SAHM mum from the day she married and never returned to work) didn't have enough time to give to both her husband and her children and felt she had to choose which to focus on and therefore the children went to boarding school. I find that pretty appalling and I'm not someone who is entirely opposed to boarding schools.

She often "wonders" aloud why her children have all moved so far away from her and why none of them want to pursue a closer relationship with her now that she's widowed.

Love isn't finite and I don't see the need to create a ranking list. Relationships with and responsibilities to spouses and children are entirely different and also change over time.

Did your DM make the remark as part of an argument?

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 18:26:09

If you really believe you should always prioritise your children because you might get divorced and it's easy enough to find someone else...I'd say you definitely will be getting divorced, sinceyou can't care that much about your DH. What a thing to say!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 15-Jul-13 18:27:47

If this was said to a grown up and not a child then YABU.
When my dc are grown up, I will be putting both dh and myself before them. Once you are a grown up the idea is to be responsible for yourself and your new family, not having mum still needing to be the centre of your universe that is so sad

Samu2 Mon 15-Jul-13 18:30:48

I have no priority list. My priorities change depending on the situation. I assume most peoples actually do as well.

If there was only enough food for either us or the kids then the kids would get the food.

However, if little Johnny decides he wants me to play with his trains at the same time as my husband really needed to talk something through then little Johnny can wait a while.

I don't constantly put anyone first, that is just silly imo.

Of course if I ever had to choose between my kids and husband then the kids would come first but I can't think of a situation where I would have to make that choice but in my every day life no one has priority over the other.

CHJR Mon 15-Jul-13 18:42:19

As you're an adult, OP, wouldn't you (rightly) say YOU put DH and DC before DM? Just wondering. (Not same BTW as saying you don't still LOVE DM, but...just wondering?)

TotallyBursar Mon 15-Jul-13 19:06:35

But it's not that it was said to the op as an adult but said and demonstrated as a child.

Op's opinions on it now I'm sure would be different had she not felt that, as it seems to come across, the dc were very much second place to the df.
Priority is the wrong word for a person to use if they are actually referring to importance. I personally will never be able to imagine saying that my children are less important to me than DH even though the normal dynamics of family life mean priorities change.

I think it speaks loudly about the person and relationship op's mother perceives herself to have - she's just like the mothers people are accusing of having no life, except she has her husband at the centre of that bubble, not her children. If she's ever a widow she'll be in exactly the same position.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 19:08:20

how ridiculous to assume you know anything about anyone's relationship from a single post on mn, kobashi. I have no plans to end things with dh, and after a decade we're d
doing quite well thank you very much.

I'm just not going to pretend that if all that were to change in going to sit around pining for him in my old wedding dress.

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 19:11:12

I'm not the one who said my DH was easily replaceable, so look to yourself.

Dilidali Mon 15-Jul-13 19:17:16

I don't know. My attitude is slightly French (continental?). I did find it a bit strange that once one has children, the focus shifts solely on the child. The conversation between husband and wife is often resumed to handovers/reports about the kids. The weight /haircut/clothes/hobby etc 'issue' is a shrug: what did you expect, you had a child. 'We' don't go out as a couple, we had a child'.
I am not saying there's anything wrong with this, I only took notice and didn't quite understand.
Personally, i don't want to be married to 'daddy'. I want to be married to my husband. I need time with him, I need to talk to him about other stuff as well, not only about our child, I wouldn't dream of not looking after myself just because it's only him that can see me. I want to go out with him for a spot of people watching, to an art gallery, to a gig, to tall eachother stuff away from children's ears.
When we stopped doing that our marriage stopped working. We're back on track now.
I don't think that my child needs to be told that we need time to ourselves and I don't think she suffers. We spend most of our time, efforts and emotions nurturing her. it's not all the time and she's not pushed to the side, we're ensuring she gets to do something she enjoys without mummy and daddy.
Do I prioritise DH over DD? No, I do 't think so. There are 3 of us in this relationship, the dynamic changes accordingly.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 19:21:27

I don't need "to look to myself" I'm just a normally aware human who realizes sexual relationships can change.

you do know how many marriages end in divorce don't you? confused

I really think people would be a lot happier if when they did end relationships that they don't turn in to stalkers or recluses.

but hey what do I know

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 19:26:41

Sensible Dilidali.
It is a huge imbalance if you do it all one way. Other people can look after your child- if you haven't got family you can find babysitters.
When mothers say 'I am devoted to my child,' as if it is a virtue, I always think it is a millstone for the child as they grow up. They can enjoy staying with grandparents while you go away for a weekend.
Decisions have to suit everyone. There has to be give and take- mother always giving everything makes her the doormat. Children often have to do things they don't want to do. It is what being part of a family means.
You take all needs into consideration- sometimes your DCs come first, sometimes DP, sometimes you, sometimes the grandparents, sometimes the dog etc etc.

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 19:27:01

Of course I know how many end in divorce. I'm sure the attitude of "hey, I might get divorced, whatever" contributes to that number. Why be in a relationship that you can see ending and you moving on? Just seems to me a rather odd, uncommitted attitude to have.

BridgetBidet Mon 15-Jul-13 19:30:58

It all depends on the circumstances doesn't it? My Dad has a progressive illness and my Mum looks after him. I know that she prioritizes him over me and my siblings because he needs her more than us.

If it's over a tiff similarly parents often put on a united front, I don't think that's abnormal.

If, however, you have just told your mother he abused you as a child then of course she is wrong. But we don't know do we.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 19:36:16

and I think the idea that you have to stay with someone no matter what is why so many women are in the relationship section dithering about leaving an abusive relationship.

dh and I stay together because we love each other and continue you treat each other with respect, not because we "have" to be.

I feel very sorry for you if you haven't got that

Sometimes I put my DC first, sometimes I put my DH first, and fairly often, I put myself first. Obviously my children need more attention while they're young, so they get the most time spent on them, but everyone in this family gets equal priority. I don't think it's healthy for anyone if there is an absolute hierarchy of priority. That way, someone will end up with an over inflated sense of their own self-worth and someone will be left with feeling undervalued or unloved.

FoundAChopinLizt Mon 15-Jul-13 19:38:34

Just for a change shock

I agree with exotic

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 19:41:35

hmm Way to miss the point.

JollyShortGiant Mon 15-Jul-13 19:42:46

DS comes before DH.

My parents always put their four children first and still do. I have always felt very loved.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 20:00:34

yes, you did. Spectacularly.

LondonMan Mon 15-Jul-13 20:09:22

At my sister's wedding, it was preached that your spouse is supposed to come ahead of everyone else, including your parents, siblings and children. If they don't, you're not taking marriage as seriously as you are supposed to.

There has been a thread on this previously, it seems most don't agree with the church, and think children come first.

Obviously it depends on interpreting "comes first" sensibly. Children may have more urgent needs which you would deal with before those of an able-bodied adult you live with, but your spouse is supposed to be your most important relationship.

Greythorne Mon 15-Jul-13 20:17:33

I have left my two small children with a trusted babysitter to go out for dinner with DH even when the DC have been less than happy about it.

Does that mean I love DH more than them?

No, of course not. But my need to have a nice dinner and conversation occasionally overrides their need to have their bedtime story from mummy.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:21:56

I don't see how you can possibly say.
On a simple level I remember staying with my brother when DS was about 5yrs, DS and I got in first when their dog had been alone all day- I remember saying to DS 'this is what it is like if you have a dog' as we went down the road in the 5pm gloom and drizzle- of course DS didn't want to go but the dog needed to go.
When my mother broke her leg I had to go off and help her and leave DCs. When BIL has a special birthday party we had to get a babysitter and leave them, when DS 1 had an evening play we had to get a babysitter for the younger ones- I could go on and on.
They are part of a family- it is give and take for all. You give priority to whoever needs it at the time. You don't want to end up with some 'spoilt little Emperors' who expect their needs to trump everyone elses.
Sometimes you can't always choose them. I was very glad that we never had to move them when they were at school, but twice it looked as if we might with DHs job- and he might well have been the priority.

Our ds1has just turned 18, he can be a pain with regard to his attitude, job prospects etc; he's very laid back, a nice, polite, well liked lad.

I will always back him up when dh complains about his lack of direction and where he should be looking for work.

I will always put the ds's first, isn't that a mother's instinct?

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:25:33

When they get to about 6yrs they hate you going out and leaving them with a babysitter, I found, I just explained that we did things with their friends in the day and it was only fair that I got chance to do things with my friends. They get over it.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 15-Jul-13 20:26:01

Its a different type of love I met my DH 28 years ago a life time of love together, when the DCs grow up and leave it will just us again is he supposed to be ignored and second best while the kids are here. Its our love that gives a happy contented home to grow up in.

Dilidali Mon 15-Jul-13 20:26:37

LondonMan, whilst I respect your right for a point of view, I have trouble agreeing I should listen to what the church says I should do. Common sense should suffice.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:28:30

Maybe you and DS and DH ought to sit down together and discuss his attitude, job prospects etc. Quite possibly your DH is right and you are doing him no favours by enabling him to have a bad attitude.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:30:12

I wouldn't listen to what the church says- it is just as bad! People should come first according to their needs at the time.

sonlypuppyfat Mon 15-Jul-13 20:30:16

I agree with LondonMan I think The Bible has a lot more experience of life than me

Dilidali Mon 15-Jul-13 20:32:30

youstayclassy, my child 'can do no wrong either', however, there are two parents, her Dad loves her just as much as I do and I'd be wary of her trying to play us against eachother, or of backing her in spite of her Dad's feelings. I can make it clear to her that both our opinions differ, but that she should take them both onto consideration. smile

squoosh Mon 15-Jul-13 20:32:46

The last thing I'm going to do is take advice from a church. They can't be much cop if they are telling you how much and in what order you should show your love.

I don't play Top Trumps with loved ones.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:33:13

I can't see why anyone is ignored or 'second best'.
Maybe people are just insecure. I can't see the need to even think about who is a priority, who is loved more etc etc. it had never occurred to me that you had to have an order!

chillinwithmyyonis Mon 15-Jul-13 20:33:49

My DC will always be my priority, even when they're grown up and have their own children, I always want them to feel like I'm there for them, not that as soon as they've left home I've washed my hands of them. They're blood, theres a biological link with them that comes before anything. I'm sure my dh feels the same, we love each other but the children are something special.

And my mum and dad were and are how you describe op, thats why I feel the way I do.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:34:29

The Bible can say whatever you want it to say- depending entirely on interpretation.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:35:38

Why on earth would you not be 'there for them'.confused

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:39:01

My mother is always there for me but she never had a silly pecking order!

For me it's not whether I'd prioritise my daughter over my partner but in what situation. For example I would prioritise my daughters needs now because she is a baby.

Also, if DP wanted a party just because and it was my DDs birthday, I'd prioritise her birthday, obviously. If DD wanted to have friends over because she fancied it and DPs brother needed somewhere to stay as he was moving, I'd prioritise what he needed at the time.

It's all in context.

But yes, I feel like my daughter needs more protection than my DP but then I would as she is very little. When she is older, I may feel different, I'm not sure.

Bexicles Mon 15-Jul-13 20:42:18

As much as I love my DP it doesn't come close to the bond I have with my DS. He is my number 1.

chillinwithmyyonis Mon 15-Jul-13 20:42:25

I don't have a silly pecking order love.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:43:47

If you have a useless DP who doesn't have the DCs best interests at heart I could see the point of this silly discussion- but then I would leave him anyway. As a couple we both have their best interests at heart but , depending on the situation, they may not be the priority.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 20:44:15

I don't think in general life it's an issue exotic.

but if I suddenly didn't approve of the way dh was with the children. I'd put them before my marriage. or the hypothetical falling infront of a train scenario.
or if they were adults and needed money and dh said no. I'd still give it if I thought they needed it

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:44:39

Sorry - their best interests would be priority- a given situation might not.

chillinwithmyyonis Mon 15-Jul-13 20:45:52

My mum and dad have been together maybe 30 yrs or more, good for them, but all I remember as a child was them arguing for hours on end while we sat in our bedrooms, and my mum defending our dads emotional abuse towards us. All that effort to stay together to the detriment of their children's psychological wellbeing.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 20:46:53

As I said- if he didn't have their best interests at heart I wouldn't stay with him- but then he wouldn't be very loveable!

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 20:50:09

yes, but unfortunately like chillingwithmyyonis and mine the urge to not be alone is often a priority for some parents, despite abuse

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 20:53:11

chilling, mine divorced after 20 years, right after I moved out! I years being neglected, physically and emotionaly abused. she didn't want to be on her own... my father meant more. I'll never put my dh before my kids, he knows it, and he knows I expect that from him too

foreverondiet Mon 15-Jul-13 21:07:04

Depends on age of children. I think would be reasonable in many circumstances if children were over 18.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 21:59:24

It all makes it sound as if you are 'superior' parent and somehow you love them more than their father. We are equal parents and therefore I am fully confident that we both have their best interests at heart - whether they have to be the priority depends on the circumstances.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 22:22:35

why do people always assume another persons choice is some comment on theirs? confused are you saying you are superior to me at family dynamics because you don't need to prioritize your children?

mrsjay Mon 15-Jul-13 22:28:52

I think if your an adult child then of course it is fine for you not to be a priority but for children children then no they need to be a top priority

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 22:46:45

Surely everyone prioritised their DCs - it depends on if circumstances calls for prioritising. If DH is suddenly rushed into hospital as an emergency then you leave the DCs with someone and go in - he is the priority at that moment.

mrsjay Mon 15-Jul-13 22:53:07

yeah that too exotic I would never put my children so high on a pedastal that my husband suffered but day to day whent hey are young I do think there needs come first but not always (does that make sense or am i rambling)

Pigsmummy Mon 15-Jul-13 23:03:03

My mother left me and my sister as children to be with her now husband. I have no doubt that I am way down her priorities.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Mon 15-Jul-13 23:06:10

I'm glad you feel that way exotic, I guess every one here who experienced differently is a liar

chicaguapa Mon 15-Jul-13 23:08:22


My dad told me twice with two different women that if he had to choose between me and her, he'd choose her. The first time was at 16. shock I haven't spoken to him for two years, since I chose my self-respect over him.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 23:14:13

I really don't see why you think I am calling people liars- I have just said from the beginning that it depends on circumstances.
If your DH is seriously ill in hospital you can't say that's tough- you can't get a babysitter- you find someone to have the DCs and go. Or you don't say I promised the DCs we would go to the beach - you cancel the trip and go to the hospital. It is all circumstances.

exoticfruits Mon 15-Jul-13 23:15:45

I hate these hypothetical priorities or who you love more etc. It isn't something you need to measure.

daisychain01 Mon 15-Jul-13 23:21:18

What an outrageous, ghastly thing to say to anyone! And goddam pointless! What does it achieve other than cut someone to the quick and belittle them. Love is non-quantifiable and isnt measured in a jug. Hell would freeze over before I ever put my loved ones in a ranking or pecking order. And My partner and I are very much in love. But DC also knows how much he is loved too.

Midsummermadnessandwine Mon 15-Jul-13 23:45:11

I am a single parent to a 14 month daughter. I have no family to help, little spare money (I work full time but the cost of nursery is pretty crippling and I'm not entitled to any help because ironically I earn too much money!) so see little of my friends. My DD is the only thing in my life that makes me happy or brings me joy.

I have no intention of being smothering or overbearing with her as she grows from babyhood to childhood and adolescence and adulthood but the fact is, she does come first, because adults have choices, she does not, and my choices will impact on her. As such I make choices that suit her and not me. I'm not a martyr but I chose to have a child, she did not choose to have me as her mother, so it's up to me to be the best mother I can be. I don't plan to have a partner but if I did he'd have to prioritise DD in the same way I do.

BackforGood Tue 16-Jul-13 00:05:15

What exoticFruits said / has to keep saying.

Can't understand why anyone would ever feel the need to vocalise a 'pecking order' of who they love, but if you were being honest and open with yourself, the surely it would depend on the circumstances of the situation as to who you were going to spend more time / energy / focus on.
I love my children dearly, but there's no way they are always the priority, it just depends on the circumstances.

stopgap Tue 16-Jul-13 00:09:23

My parents are the same way. I felt loved as a child, but their partnership took precedence, and I still can't spend time with one without the other tagging along. They come as a couple, a unit, and both their parents were the same.

Morloth Tue 16-Jul-13 00:50:51

Depends on the context.

There are times when we put what we want ahead of what the boy's want.

They might not want to go to boring grandparent's house for the weekend, but if DH and I want a weekend shagfest then off they go (obviously we don't put it in quite those terms).

The children of lovers being orphans is IMO a crock of shit. DH and I are lovers, we are very much in love. My children are adored and are fortunate to have two parents who love them and who work as a unit for their benefit.

As many previous posters have said, people's needs and therefore my prioritising of them change over time, sometimes DH needs me more sometimes DS1 needs me more, sometimes DS2 needs more and so on.

Happily we work it out.

Kiwiinkits Tue 16-Jul-13 01:05:46

What *FallenNinja" said.

Kiwiinkits Tue 16-Jul-13 01:06:06


MidniteScribbler Tue 16-Jul-13 01:38:48

I don't think that 'prioritising' is the right term for family life. I think 'juggling' is a better way of describing it.

I'm working on my Masters. That's important right now. So while the "masters ball" is in the air, DS needs to go to daycare a few days per week so I can get it done. But in the long run, he benefits from that anyway in that he gets the socialisation and experience of daycare, as well as the long term benefits of my increased earning potential and ability to make choices about my career.

I've booked a concert ticket and a night in a hotel coming up, my first night "off" since DS was born. So the "me ball" is up in the air, but DS benefits from having a mother who has had a night out, is well rested and has spent some time taking care of her own needs.

Or it might be an upcoming holiday. We'll go to a theme park for DS, but then we'll go and do something I want to do. Everyone gets a look in, it doesn't have to be all or nothing.

And round and round the balls go.

exoticfruits Tue 16-Jul-13 07:06:12

It all sounds like my brother when be was about 5yrs with 'mummy loves me best'! He grew out of it!

I have never seen the least need to put those I love into an order or a priority. There is an infinite amount of love- it is easy to prioritise according to need- I can't think of any examples of anyone being damaged by not being top priority at a particular time.

I agree with MidNiteScribbler and it is 'juggling'. Everyone gets a look in, one doesn't give it all up for another.

I had the greatest gift as a child, unconditional love from both my parents and they loved each other. There was no mad competition about who came first or comparing the incomparable.

DH and I both have unconditional love for our DCs, neither of us are going to make harmful decisions on their behalf- if they need to be a priority at a given moment then they will be, but sometimes they won't be.

It is easily understandable that sometimes you will be disappointed- if you have been promised a trip to the swimming and the cat comes in dripping blood then you go to the vets- I wouldn't want to bring up a child who couldn't understand that the cat was the priority.

cory Tue 16-Jul-13 07:50:01

Everything exotic has said.

Feeling a need to vocalise a pecking order is weird.

But not being able to let a minor need of the dc take second place to a major need of your partner or parent would be equally weird.

When your dc are small, they are likely to provide a greater proportion of the major needs. As you get older, it is likely that first your parents and then your partner gradually will become more vulnerable and need in support than your dc are. We are entering on this second stage now.

Personally, I think the way to make dc up happy is to make sure they understand the system of caring for each other from an early age.

When dd (chronic pain condition, uncomfortable sitting still for too long) has to give up her Saturday to travel 3 hours up and 3 hours back to see her grandma (suffering from cancer, paralysed from the waist down) it doesn't make dd feel less loved: it makes her feel she is part of a family where we all love and support each other. It is precisely this atmosphere of mutual love and support that is dd's safety too.

Ticklemonster2 Tue 16-Jul-13 08:14:55

As children we were lower in the pecking order in our house. My mother doted on my father and his needs were more important than ours.
Years later my DM was ill with terminal cancer and passed away. 12 weeks later my 'dad' shacked up with someone else, doesn't speak to us and never visits DMs grave. So much for love!
My children come first, last and always, but that doesn't mean I don't love my DH. It just means he is big enough to look after himself. The love you have for your children is different and I would find it hard to place romantic love before it.

exoticfruits Tue 16-Jul-13 08:19:58

What I don't understand is this need to place something in front of something else- they are totally different.

Bonsoir Tue 16-Jul-13 08:24:58

I think that a very solid couple relationship is a way of prioritizing DCs' stability and happiness.

exoticfruits Tue 16-Jul-13 09:31:54

The best possible start I would say.

KellyElly Tue 16-Jul-13 10:33:02

Your children are part of you and will always be your children. Your husband may not be your husband for a lifetime so yes, children do come first IMO. If a life or death situation ever came up I'm guessing most people would save their child/children before anyone else even if they were grown up.

cory Tue 16-Jul-13 10:55:38

Me, I would save the person least able to save themselves. And I would expect grown-up (or almost grown-up) dc to join me in the attempt.

Dahlen Tue 16-Jul-13 11:04:44

Human relationships are fluid. They change all the time. None more so than the parent-child relationship as the child becomes an adult and then a parent themselves. If there is a 'hierarchy' it can never be set in stone because that would be like trying to contain water in a sieve.

I would have thought that in the context of a loving family this is not a question that would ever arise. I remember my parents making it clear to me that they were more than just my parents, and had their own lives and their relationship with each other as well as their role as parents, but it was never presented to me as "you are less important than that". It was simply a normal fact of life - people are individuals as well as family members and are defined by who they are as well as their relationship to others. Personally I think that's as it should be. There is no pecking order, just balance.

The only time I would think it is pertinent to say "my children come before you" would be if you are a parent embarking on a new relationship and introducing a new would-be step-parent into a family. Although once that integration has taken place, I would hope that it would become a question of teamwork, rather than competition.

Likewise, only in families where the relationship has gone wrong, would I expect adult children and parents to argue over who was more deserving of 'first place' in their parent's affections - the child or the spouse.

Oldraver Tue 16-Jul-13 11:10:06

Now you are an adult I would say it was a fair thing for your DM to say.

If you were a dependent child then ye I think your DC's come first.

I don't really forgive my mother for putting her husband first while we children and not defending us

ChristineDaae Tue 16-Jul-13 11:17:05

I think some people on here are taking a strange view. It's not loving one and ignoring the other. To me: if someone had a gun to my head and said I had to choose either never to see my child again or never to see DP again, DP would be gone without a second thought.
That says, in real day to day life, my child's well being is priority, because she is 3 and we are responsible for that. When she grows up and leaves home, starts her own family etc, her well being, while of course still being massively important to me is not my text responsibility. I'm not planning on 'ignoring' DP until our children grow and leave home.

cory Tue 16-Jul-13 12:26:34

Part of my caring for dc and prioritising them is teaching them to care for others and helping them to support others as they grow older. That includes helping dh and me. I don't believe you can have a happy adult life if you are always the giver or always the taker. Even pre-adolescents need time for both.

exoticfruits Tue 16-Jul-13 15:16:48

Do people really waste time working out who they would save in a hypothetical life/ death situation? hmm

I would agree with Dahlen- when I married my DH2 it was love me, love my DS. Had it not been right for DS I would have walked away- he was not going to live in a home without love. I am an adult and can deal with heartbreak.

Normally it doesn't crop up- DHs love is unconditional for the DCs so there is no need to have any order or any need to measure the unmeasurable.

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