The challenge of finding life-balance is a topic that typically comes up when I speak to groups of women. It often leads to the question: which role is more important – Parent or Partner?
After having a child, your relationship becomes a ‘new’ one. In many ways, having a child awakens your inner one, and you may feel like you have a whole new partner!
Though couples like to sometimes simplify and say “We’re going to make sure our relationship doesn’t change”, the truth is that it’s a new life with very different dynamics, so things HAVE to change! You are kidding yourself, if you think differently.
And, the primary reason isn’t the child, per se; it’s the changes that the parenting role brings out in each partner.
Most people are generally good at putting in the effort to meet the physical needs of their child. However, the standard of care required to meet their child’s emotional needs can be more complex and difficult to meet.
Personal growth is the deepest spiritual need a human can have. In my view, there is no greater vehicle for personal growth than proactively raising a child. Extreme personal growth – that’s what is in it for you!
If both partners make the commitment to the children and the family first, the marriage always ends up being healthier. Why? Because when you genuinely put your child first you want to show him/her the best version of you.
Guess what happens when you start thinking like this? You start to DO those things that you love. You start to include your family and partner …you start to live, and at the same time inspire your kids. You become free within and this is always attractive!
It was hard for me to do at first. What did I want my kids to know about me?
I wanted my sons to know that I was more than a short-order cook! So, I started off with things like signing up for a 10 km race. Then, I gradually started this work when my youngest was in preschool. I wanted them to see me be me….with all the glory and the tears.
Now that my sons are 11- and 8-years old, I can truly see the benefits of putting them first. My marriage is still healthy and my family life is very happy. The four of us love spending time together – doing nothing or running wild…..it doesn’t matter.
Our sons have watched us put effort into things, whether that be working out, planting our garden, or writing speeches. Our sons have watched us fail and get back up again. Our sons have listened to us express our fears and our hopes, and watched us work through it all. Our sons have watched us strive for continual growth.
By putting them first, we have continued to focus on our personal development and growth. For someone like me, who had achieved external success but internal misery, my children have been the path back to the light in me. Initially I may have thought I was sacrificing for them, but now, I see the sacrifice was for me (finally).
When I pitch this concept during speeches, I always hear great examples that confirm this process. One woman gave an example of how her husband shared his passion for camping with his daughters by planning a weekend trip with them on his own. In this moment, she saw the ‘old’ him re-appear… and she found him to be so attractive!
“Do I put my partner first, or do I put my kids first?” Maybe we should be asking a different question.
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