The very moment I laid eyes on him, I knew my whole life was about to change. The man that I married, the very man I vowed to love above all others, would soon come in second and it was entirely out of my control -- I simply couldn’t help the overwhelming feelings I had!
My husband started to see the signs; he saw how my eyes lit up every time I saw his face or how I didn't notice anyone else in the room when he was around. I tried to assure my husband he was still the first and foremost in my life, and I thought my secret was safe. But one night my husband discovered the truth the hard way.
It was a bitter winter evening and I was brushing my teeth, getting ready for bed when the fire alarms went off in our apartment building. In that moment, I saw red, and without even an iota of thought I went running right past my husband and into the arms of my true first and foremost. And as my son gripped his arms around my neck, I draped his blanket over his back and hightailed it out of the door without even looking back. I ran down the flights of stairs and right out the front door. Once I got across the street and finally gathered myself, I stopped and realized my husband was nowhere to be seen. After what seemed like an eternity, my husband finally exited the building, walked over to me and said, “so… did you forget someone?!” And it was in that moment, my secret was out… My husband had become the other man.
I think it's common for parents to say their spouse comes first, and frankly, we would all like to believe this to be true. But at the same time, we shouldn’t feel a sense of guilt when we fall deeply in love with our children or even if it starts to feel like that supersedes the love we have for our spouse. The love for our child is a fact -- it's undeniable and instinctual. The love for our spouse is learned and grows with time and work. The love we have for our children comes with so much joy and appreciation for life, not to mention the instant forgiveness and immense tolerance that we sometimes lack with our spouses.
For instance, if your spouse drank a little too much from the bottle and vomited all over your new suede shoes, you wouldn’t likely cuddle up with them while rubbing their back to ease their discomfort; you'd direct him to the bathroom floor while you curse the ground he walks on and enjoy the extra room in the bed. Or when the incessant urine can’t seem to find its way into the toilet. With my son, I just try to teach him the game of the aim, creating fun activities to help him with his target. But if my husband developed this problem ... well, he wouldn’t see another day.
The love we have for our children comes with the fortitude to be patient, nurturing and understanding. When they do something wrong, we do not get disappointed, we work that much harder to make them better.
To me, the love is so compound and impossible to differentiate. The love for your partner continues to be the foundation of your family and your children’s well-being and stability. Together we fell in love, together we made each other our number one priority, together we decided to have a family and together we fell in love with our son. He is a better version of both of us and we strive every day to show him unconditional love and unconditional acceptance.
So, if you find yourself feeling a sense of guilt for loving your child a little more or having a little more compassion or patience for your little one vs. your significant other, let yourself off the hook. Being in the position that you are in where you have to delegate your love and soul to multiple individuals who reciprocate that love is a blessing in itself, regardless of where the chips fall.