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Monday, 13 May 2013

Choosing between husband and child...

Linking up this old post for the Lounge this week, because I'm re-asking the question, is there a hierarchy in family? Who's needs trump the needs of others? And how do you decide?

Forgive me this indulgence, but I'm still putting this to rest in my mind. It's not a Sophie's Choice kind of decision, it's a totally first world problem, yet I'm still uncomfortable with my choice.

My husband is running the New York Marathon this year - he has run it previously and when he did, we had a little second honeymoon without the kids. We had an absolute ball, doing all those things you can't with children - 3am in a comedy club, fancy night at the Opera, sleeping in until noon (that was actually an accident and we were meant to have checked out...but that's another story) and so on. I was in the process of working out who could look after the kids when I discovered that my eldest would be starting his end of year exams while we'd be in New York. It's his first year of high school, and he's in a selective stream. He is not the most organised child on the planet, and while still adjusting to high school, I decided that I couldn't put extra pressure on him by being away during his exams.

I believe it's the right decision, and I'd hate for him to drop out of the class he's in because he didn't do well  in the exams (or was late to school because he got lost making his way from a friend's house). I believe it's the right thing to do - how can we expect him to take his school work seriously if we don't? Yet why do I feel so guilty?

My husband has been fine about it - all he said was that he'd still be going (and I knew that, my intention wasn't to stop him going but to let him know that I wouldn't be accompanying him), yet I feel I've let him down, and in some way betrayed him by choosing my son over my partner in life.

I'm not entirely sure why it sits uneasily with me. I've always believed that it's a disservice to children if their parents put their wants above all else, yet here I am doing just that. It's not exactly a 'want', but the child is the focus above the partner. The person who chooses to spend their life with you should surely be given the same if not higher focus than those precious biological by-products of that love?

I found a marathon for next year that is at a more 'kid friendly' time of year, and offered that as a suggestion, in the unlikely event funding be available. I've made it clear that it's not that I don't want to go with him, but I feel the timing is bad. It's not disappointment, though I am a little, obviously. It's guilt, and I feel I'm being mean to him. That's all coming from me, he's in no way saying anything to make me feel bad.

So if I believe it's what I need to do, why do I still feel so guilty about it? Is it the right thing to do? Any advice welcome (even if you're telling me I'm wrong), so I can put these uneasy feelings to rest.

Is it right to put your kids before your partner? Is it right to put your partner before your kids? Is there no right or wrong, just what works for you in each situation?

40 comments:

  1. Oh gosh lovely, I understand the dilemma, I would feel the same on all counts. Mind you I would be feeling disappointment about not going to NY as much as anything else! Sorry I don't have much else to offer.

    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses #teamIBOT

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    1. Funny, I don't really mind that part at all (had it been Vegas on the otherhand...;)

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  2. That is a really hard choice to make. But you are doing the right thing I think. It's a very important time for your son and you know him better then anyone. You are the best person to support him and guide him. Try not to feel guilty, there will be other trips, and I am sure your partner understands.

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    1. This post (and everyone's responses) has helped enormously re the guilt...

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  3. Thing is, there are no right answers so you may as well make the one that feels best to your gut and then let go of the other. Your son will never be in Year 7 again, but the hubby and marathon are the same every year... I'm so logical. Year 7 IS a big year, I know that it was with mine. The children really NEED their mum, my hubby doesn't need me in anything like that way.

    Can I just admit to feelings of sheer, green envy. We have no family here and four kids who can be quite tricky and it's SO BLOODY HARD for hubby and I ever to get away together. We haven't for ages and we really need to but even one night next time he comes home is looking bloody hard to plan. I'm going to cry!!

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    1. I think you've hit where the guilt is coming from - do our partners not need us in the same way or do we not give them the opportunity to? I told him I wasn't coming, I didn't give him an option. I think that's where my guilt is coming from - I gave him reasons & alternative but I wasn't going to budge on the decision.
      I hear you on the no family biz - I can count on my hand out nights away without the kids - in 12 years!!

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  4. I totally get the dilemma you are in - I would hate to have to make that choice but I think that you have made the right choice. While I would like to think that I would put A before K, I think that sometimes circumstances don't allow for that and that there would be times when K would need me more than A would. That my support for K would be more important, at that time, than my support for A.
    When I read the title of your post I thought I would always choose A over K but then when I read the circumstances, I realised that if it would impact on K's future, it was my responsibility as her parent to be there for her. Having said that A would probably choose not to do the race / whatever if he felt that she needed us at home - like you, I wouldn't ask but I do think that that would be his decision.
    I think you need to let that guilt go - at the end of the day, it is only you feeling the guilt - nobody has put that on you except yourself. I would go so far as to say that if you had decided the other way you would have felt guilty for not being there for your son.
    I am sure that it will all be good in the end (although I would be bummed about not going to NY).
    Love, hugs and positive energy !
    Me

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    1. Funny isn't it? I thought I'd do one thing but when the crunch came, I didn't...already planning more trips away with money we don't have...;)

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  5. I think you have made the right decision personally. There will be many marathons in the future, this is just one time. Your sons exams will not come around again and it could impact on him if he were to fall short.
    I understand the guilt. My husband & I are headed to Vegas to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and we are leaving Mr4 behind for 3 weeks. I feel terrible in one way, but excited in another. I think we need that time for such a special event and I am sure it will not scar my son and yet the guilt weighs heavily :)
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

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    1. Ahhh, what if there aren't? I'm a firm believer in not postponing 'life' because you never know what happens next (but I live in a constant state of FOMO).
      I am SO jealous!!! I would LOVE to go to Vegas!!!!!!! You will have a blast! You won't even know yourself ! And your son won't care so away with that guilt right now!!!!!!!!

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  6. I think that you have made the right decision for your family. There are plenty of marathons around the world at different times, your husband is choosing that marathon above others, even though the timing is not best for the family. So get rid of that guilt, if he is happy to do alone, you spend some money on yourself and take the kids away for the weekend.

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    1. Ha! A woman after my own heart! Once his dates are sorted I'm hoping I can do just that!

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  7. Ah, choices. It's tough isn't is, trying to please everyone! I hope you find a happy compromise. At least your husband is so understanding. Hope he goes well! I have much admiration for anyone who can run a marathon! Zanni x

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    1. Indeed indeed, but I've no desire to run one!!!

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  8. In my mind, it's all about who needs you most at that time, and I think in this situation it probably is your son.
    Go with your gut, and even though it's not easy, try to be at peace with your decision. Just think, next year you'll be in NY cheering your husband. :)

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    1. Some how I don't think next year will happen...but you never know...:)

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  9. I think being torn makes you the best mother/wife there is. I'm sure you hubby would LOVE you there but he knows you want to be there for your son. I would do the same thing. Don't feel guilty, there's be other marathons, and he's a big boy (no offence) whereas you son sill needs you to help guide him through life at mo xxx Em

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    1. I love this "I think being torn makes you the best mother/wife there is." You could have said neurotic but you went with best wife/mother...that makes me feel good! Thanks!

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  10. Oh it is hard! But I think you have done the right thing. It's not about wants or anything like, it's just that it's a matter of timing, and you needing to make the difficult decision. It will be hard for you I'm sure, but try not to let the guilt get to you. Maybe you could surprise your husband with a few nights away before hand. That might make you feel better and you will still get the mini break. Big hugs xx

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    1. That is a good idea (of course all money will be going on somebody's airfare and accom but I could work out something...off to put my thinking cap on. Thanks!!)

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  11. You know, it's hard to pick a priority and I've not been in that situation yet, but it sounds like you've trusted your instinct and weighed up all the facts and the best results (in the long term). That's all you can do. Tough call as I bloody love NYC but then again - maybe it will mean you'll jump at the chance when it's the right time next time and it will be in a whole new city you've not yet discovered

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    1. It's funny, NY made it a little easier, as I'd been, but if it was somewhere I was dying to go to, then I may've gone the other way (bad mumma!)

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  12. The story of our lives as WOMEN: conflicted! At least you and hubster had an awesome break together last time. I think I would have made the same choice as you. When I was a kid, my mum and stepdad loved camping and there was always a long weekend right before my exam week in high school - and EVERY YEAR I would sit in the tent studying my little heart out - it used to really annoy me that my needs were not considered!

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    1. Interesting you remember that - It hadn't even occurred to me (and we'll have our full quota of therapy bills for sure, so I don't want to add to that!!)

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  13. If it is your gut that helped make your decision - then it is the right one. Marathons come and go, building a strong foundation in education is something you can't abandon, especially during a crucial time xx

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  14. Lydia - I think you have done the right thing and the fact you have been prepared to pass up New York to me makes it seem like you are really serious about the decision - NY is sure hard to pass up. It sounds like you have supported your husband with marathons before and will do again - this time your son is your priority and you are really being quite selfless in your decision. Must be a week for guilt - the exact topic of my post this week - I reckon I've got the guilt gene! Nice to visit you from IBOT.

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    1. I think the minute you give birth that guilt gene magnifies by a million....

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  15. i think you just have to go with your gut on this one - who needs you more maybe? and knowing you can have a possible trip another time - big hugs though xx

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  16. Hope you feel better about your decision. It was a tough one! I think we are all struggling with the guilt gene!!

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  17. Sacrifices + Decisions = Parenting
    NYC is a special place and education is a special thing.
    This is a hard one but I think I'd make the same decision you have made. Tough choice. X


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  18. We are in the throws of midyear exams now, and I'm feeling much better about it - definitely the right choice - now if I could just win a trip somewhere...(that 'throws' looks wrong but for the life of my I can't think what it is)

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  19. I think you have made the right decision. I will never forget my first exams my mum was in a hosp five hours away with a brain aneurysm so my Dad and siblings went to be with her and I stayed with a friend to my exams. If things had been different I would of been gutted my family wasn't there for me.

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  20. Thank you for submitting your post to the DP Blog Carnival!

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  21. Gosh, Lydia. I think about this all the time ad I often find myself putting the kids before hubby. I think you made the right decision in this instance and I would have done the same.

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  22. Sometimes timing is never on your side and you have to make a decision for what you believe is right. It is such a big year and there are always more marathons. As much as it would be great for you to travel together, sometimes it just can not be, for now. xx

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  23. I think you made the right decision but it is hard. I hope you get a chance to go back to NY next time. It sounds fab. xo

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  24. I think you made the right decision. I guess for me I put the needs of Mr 5 above Paul because he's still developing his trust and Paul is an adult who is quite able to cope on his own.

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    1. p.s Thank you for linking up with us at The Lounge!

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