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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.


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.

TheMagicKeyCanFuckOff Mon 15-Jul-13 18:17:04

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

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