Saturday, March 18, 2017

Who is the Most Important Person in Your Family?

by Jewel Leann Williams

My husband sent me an article this week, by a psychologist guy named Dr. Some-Old-Guy-Who-Probably-Never-Had-Kids. Even though I generally look at articles written by psychologists in newspapers and roll my eyes, because they are usually written by old ugly men who have never had childre, I read it, because my husband sent it, and I love him, and if it's important to him, it's important to me.

So. This doctor proposes that the problem with society today is that when asked the question, "Who is the most important person in your family?" The parents answer, "Our kids!"  He claims that this attitude makes us raise entitled children.  In my generation, he says, we knew that our parents were the most important people.**

I've been mulling it over. He has some points. I mean, our family shouldn't revolve around the whims of the children, by any means. The value of our family does not lie in whether or not Junior gets the gold at the swim meet, or if Sister has all the latest fashions.

But other than that, yeah, sorry. The most important people in my family ARE my children. I work to provide them a safe and comfortable environment. I would eat Fritos out of a dirty bowl for breakfast if I didn't have my family to cook for.

True story. I work Saturday nights, until about 3 hours before church on Sunday. I also get home from church only a few short hours before I have to be back at work. I am usually so tired when I get home from work that I don't know how I drove home, and dizzy with sleep--so that I absolutely *must* take a nap. However, that nap makes me cranky and sometimes more tired, only not dizzy and ready to pass out. Every. Single. Sunday. It is a monumental struggle to get out of bed and go to church, especially knowing that I will only get a similarly short and unsatisfying nap before I have to go drive  45 minutes and work all night (and make it home) again that night. So I started giving in to the very reasonable desire for sleep over church. It felt more like survival, ya know? But the moment I realized that a few of my kids were starting to "feel sick" every Sunday so they could stay home and sleep, that did it for me. Unless I am physically ill, I drag my extremely cranky and unhappy butt out of bed and get myself to church. I absolutely would not do that if it weren't for my children.

Family Home Evening? For my kids. Scripture study? Yes, for me, but I almost always focus on my kids and how I can be a better mother and wife.

From the document "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

My husband is my eternal companion. I realize my children will leave the nest, and that while I am rearing them, I am also nurturing my relationship with my husband. We are partners forever (as often as I'm sure he questions that decision). However, at this particular moment in our lives, our responsibility lies in our sacred duty to rear our children.

So, Dr. Whomever-You-Are, sorry. You'll have to chalk me up to one of those "what's wrong with America" parents, because the most important people in my family, right now, are my beautiful, amazing children.

And I'll punch you in the nose if you tell me otherwise, Doctor. Because I'm sleep-deprived and cranky.

** The "kids are not as important as the grownups" attitude is at the root of at least 1 or 2 of my current psychoses. So (expletive deleted), you hack psychologist!


  1. I saw that question "who is the most important in the family" and my first thought before I read anything was my mum & dad equally but yeah many people say their kids and I get that my daughters and grandchildren are my life but in order of importance they come behind my parents

  2. I totally get where you're coming from with this. What I think is interesting, though, is that the psychologists that write these articles usually eventually get around to the point that the reason we don't always put the kids' needs ahead of ours is to teach them that other people are important and have feelings too, and to ensure they have emotionally connected parents. So why are we not putting them first? To teach them and give them a stable home.

    So, yes, still, it's about the kids! LOL! When you're a parent it really does always have to be about the kids, even when we're intentionally making it NOT about the kids, because it's a lesson the kids need to learn!

    I remember the best parenting advice I ever got was from my mom. It was after I'd blown up at one of the kids and then called her, crying, because I was fairly certain I was the worst mom ever. She said, "Kasey, your kids need to know that you have your limits too." I think sometimes we try to portray some kind of superhuman facade to our kids that's not only not realistic, but it's not fair to them or to us.

    That's not saying I have an excuse to blow my top whenever I feel like it, but it does mean that when I do I don't have to beat myself up about it. I can just apologize and move on. I've also found that sometimes when I feel myself starting to get to that breaking point I can just say, "Hey guys? Mom is feeling stressed out right now. I know you're not trying to stress me out, but I just need some peace and quiet or I might start to feel angry, and I don't want to feel angry. Can you help me out?" I'd rather do that and expose some weakness to them and allow them in rather than try to stuff down all my feelings and then later blow up.

    Oh, the joys of parenting. There's no right way of doing it. As long as we love them, it will all work out. :-)



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