When we become parents, we often fall into a trap. We decide our children are the most important things in our lives, we make them our priority, we start to idolize them and everything we do is for them. We stop putting effort into our marriage, we stop taking care of ourselves, and some of us lose sight of our purpose.
Kids are terrific. I love my kids more than anyone else ever could. I want them to have the best life they possibly can.
It’s a paradox of parenthood: the most important thing in our lives, can’t be our top priority.
As much as I love my children, I know the best thing for them is not to give them every bit of me until I’ve got nothing left to give to my husband or myself.
Striving for a healthy marriage.
If a kid can grow up in a two parent home, where both parents actually love each other, that’s one of the best gifts we can give them. I want for my boys to grow up seeing how a man should treat a women and believing that love can last a lifetime. I didn’t get to grow up seeing a loving and functional marriage, neither did my husband, that’s why a healthy marriage is priority: to give our children that gift we missed out on.
We strive to always make time for one another. We schedule semi regular date nights, and are intentional with the time we spend together. A marriage will not work if you don’t take time to make it work.
Take care of yourself.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
We can’t fully be there for our kids if we’re not taking care of ourselves. Our precious children take a lot out of us, though their sweet smiles fill our cup, most of our day involves our cups being drained for them.
Diaper changes, feeding them meals, keeping them from dying, it’s all very busy work. In order to show up for them and be our best for them, we need to care of ourselves.
An umbrella of protection.
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17
I believe that when we place our faith in God he proves protection for us. There’s this umbrella of protection where God provides and cares for the husband, the husband provides and cares for the wife, and the wife provides and cares for the children.
Where does the home fall?
Caring for your home, house work, chores. Where does this one fall in our priority scale?
Your house is most definitely not more important than your children. At the same time, it’s pretty important for your children to have a safe shelter.
Sometimes the house will come first, because you need to have one and it needs to be a certain level of clean. Mold is dangerous. Piles of dishes on the counter can get to a point where they are a safety concern. Your children do deserve to live in a well maintained home.
None of this means your house needs to be spotless for you to enjoy time with your children. Sometimes for a short season, the house gets so out of hand it needs to be priority until it’s under control.
How can we live so our children aren’t our only priority, but are still most important?
1. Remember your motivation.
You need to take time away from them, FOR them. They need to see their mom shining at her very best.
2. Practice self care.
Take regular time for yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes to shower when your husband gets home to watch the kids, or 15 minutes to journal before bed. Find something that fills your cup every day, and do it.
3. Regular date nights.
Make your husband a priority for even just a few hours. Get a sitter, go out, don’t talk about the kids. Fill each other’s cups, build your marriage.
4. Have routines for chores.
Keep your home (mostly) clean by having a routine for when you do certain important chores. Always wash plates after a meal, do one load of laundry per day. Think small bite size jobs that can be done regularly throughout the day so you don’t get overwhelmed.
5. Maintain a budget.
The best way to keep a roof over your head is to always know where your money is going, and to know when it’s time to take steps to either make more money or downsize your payment.
6. Devotion and prayer.
Make it a priority to have devotional time and read your Bible first thing in the morning. This is best done in the quiet before the kids wake up, but sometimes it’s done with screaming kids in the background who can’t figure out how to share a toy.