Imagine it is your tenth anniversary. Four months ago you and your husband planned a romantic overnight getaway to celebrate. You paid a non-refundable deposit at a beautiful Victorian B&B and are looking forward to some time to focus on just the two of you and re-connect. You need to leave at the crack of dawn to get to your destination, and your caregiver has agreed to spend two nights so you can make the early start. 3 months and 3 weeks later your eight year old’s soccer team has made the playoffs for a soccer league, and their second match is in your home town on the afternoon of your 30 hour celebration. What do you do?
1) Cancel your trip and lose the deposit so you can watch the match
2) Tell your soccer player “Mom and Dad love you and we’ll see you the day after the match.”
As I was composing the options I was literally configuring decision trees depending on all sorts of “what ifs” but really, it simply boils down to those two choices.
So, I guess understand this post is about what relationship takes precedence in your day to day life and it was inspired by this: In the name of the child: How American parenting is killing the American marriage written by Danielle Teller, a physician and researcher and her husband, Astro Teller, head of Google X.
There has been a lot of discussion about “tiger mom’s” and “helicopter parents” — most of which focuses on the effects on the children. The Teller’s give away their perspective — the effects on parents — in the title, and go on to make what I feel is a legitimate case for parents to consider the pros and cons for routinely putting their children before their partner.
They point out that this parenting style is relatively new (historically speaking) and reference the case of Ayelet Waldman, an author that disclosed in an 2005 essay that she loved her husband more than her four children. Waldman was “shouted down by America” and apparently also physically and verbally threatened by strangers!
The crux of the article is beautifully captured in this paragraph:
“There are doubtless benefits that come from elevating parenthood to the status of a religion, but there are obvious pitfalls as well. Parents who do not feel free to express their feelings honestly are less likely to resolve problems at home. Children who are raised to believe that they are the center of the universe have a tough time when their special status erodes as they approach adulthood. Most troubling of all, couples who live entirely child-centric lives can lose touch with one another to the point where they have nothing left to say to one another when the kids leave home.”
Please read the entire Teller piece and let me know what you think. And, think about the hypothetical 10 year anniversary situation and let me know what you’d do!
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