Who First?

Does my child come first? My husband? Myself? Yes.

I often hear conflicting advice about care:

"Put on your own oxygen mask first."

"Your child is only young once - pour all your energy into her."

"If your husband doesn't come first, the romance will dwindle and your marriage will decline."

I actually agree with each of these statements. I just happen to think you can do it all. I prefer to think that my family comes first - all three of us at once.

Societally, we are so bad at living holistically. We compartmentalise everything. So it can be a challenge to live this way.

Photo credit: Graham Detonator on flickr

It's really just an extension of our egalitarian relationship. We attempt to operate based on needs and gifts/skills/likes versus role functions. In practical terms, that means that if one of us is working more, the other does more housework. On an emotional level, that means that if one of us is having a particularly difficult time, the other provides more support.

In our family, I constantly adjust the rhythm of who needs what and when. Obviously, Dash is tiny and cannot meet her own needs. But that doesn't mean I have to meet all those needs. She has her dad and a host of loving family and friends. Some days she needs me more than others - during a developmental leap or during illness, for example. Sometimes Eric needs my undivided attention and that means assuring that Dash will be cared for either with good sleep or someone else. And sometimes I need serious self care, which means I need to trust them both in order to give myself some freedom.

Each day is give and take. I have time set aside for just me, just me and Dash, just me and Eric and all three of us. But sometimes the days look much different and we all adjust. Open communication (even Dash has her way of communicating needs!) assures we all get what we need and that everyone comes first.

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