Do mothers think more of their children than their husbands? Does a child deserve more attention from the mother than the husband? DAPHNE UDUNEJE of our Lagos bureau writes.
Some women have been accused of putting their children first, thereby pushing their husbands into an uncomfortable zone tagged ‘automatic left-over position’. This has caused a lot of mixed feelings between spouses, for some couples it is like a rivalry kind of feelings, which begins at various stages of marriage.
According to experts at the very early stage of a child, both parents give priority to their infant child, the father most times forgo some attention needed from the wife to give her enough time to take care of the child.
This however depends on the desire of the couple, if both of them wanted the child, they will both cherish him, but a situation where one of the couple did not want a child yet, there will be conflict of interest, especially when the man is not yet ready to be a father. He will always see the child as distracting his wife’s attention from him.
On the other hand, there are instances where a mother considers the child a priority, this happens mostly in homes where couples suspect each other of infidelity. One of the couples mostly the woman may feel her marriage is threatened, in such instances she finds solace in her child, especially if the child is a male child. She gives him all the love and has nothing left for the husband who she considers a cheat.
Commenting on this a psychologist Dr Olubi Davids warns that this kind of bond between a mother and a child could be dangerous “When women prioritize their love on their children rather than their marriage , without realizing it, women can end up getting their emotional intimacy and physical satisfaction from their children, or be tempted to have flings outside their marriage.”
However, for a young wife and mother, Sarah, the question of who deserves more attention should not come up because “There is a difference between putting the needs of your child first and giving the child more love. For the first year of a child’s life when you are nursing a child, the child is vulnerable, certainly the mother feels stronger emotions towards her than her partner, this is biological, nature is making sure the mother gives her child every chance of survival”.
She however stressed that after this period, a woman must be able to balance her emotions “Allowing it to tilt on the child’s side unnecessarily can be harmful to the marriage, if the woman ignores her husband feelings towards her, he may end up in someone else’s arms”.
Sarah concludes that women could love both child and husband, because these are two different love, which are equally strong. “In fact I love my partner more now because he gave me my beautiful girl! I would be just as devastated if something happened to my partner as I would if it did to our little girl”.
Rachel a banker and a single parent said “I am a single mother, so, yes my son always comes first. A man can dump you like a pack of rotten tomatoes any day, but your child will never forget you.”
For Mr. Oyinlola an entrepreneur the child is king. He said “Of course the child will come first, and this is nature. It is immature for a man to see his child as a rival. It’s not a matter of ‘thinking more of somebody’, it’s a completely different thing, it’s involuntary and absolutely necessary for the child’s survival. There is no ‘left over love position’ here.
“As parents it’s natural to put your child first. I would say this is true of both mothers and fathers. This is because we are both adults who can look after ourselves but our child needs us all the time, especially in the first year of nursing” He said.
However, Mr., Femi Owoeye a writer and a political analyst, says it is a taboo for a woman to shift attention. “Between the fowl that lays the egg and the egg which one is more important? He asked. “The mistake that a lot of women make and eventually lose their home, marriage and the love of their spouse is by shifting attention.
“The most important person in a home is the husband, because he is the head. If you look at the body you will discover the head is the most important part. Scientifically the head controls the other parts of the body.
“If the woman shifts attention to the child, that is an error, she has failed to recognize the natural order; consequently the man will be jealous without knowing it. As a wife, the woman has taken the position of a mother for both the child and the husband, she ought to ensure that each person is treated correctly. Each person has a place and these positions must never be compromised”
Owoeye pointed out that most homes have problem today, because the women ignore their husbands need for good food, good clothing and their need to be admired.
Adding that “What do other women do outside to attract a man’s attention? Not sex! But adequate care; It is not wise to ignore the husband’s needs. Caring for the husband builds trust in a marriage. If a woman keeps shifting attention, it will get to a point that the husband will look outside and once that happens the woman will lose the man.” Owoeye cautioned.