The most interesting thing about the essay was the resulting shitstorm of controversy which landed Waldman on a much-viewed Oprah episode during which a hostile audience nearly attacked her. Cliche as it may sound: You gotta put yourself first. You must make it a top priority to hang out with other adults — girlfriends, dates, relatives and friends.
Yes, that essay is a decade old, but it warrants a revisit because parents — mothers most especially — are still expected to make our children the center of our worlds, and I do love [my daughter]. It is not normal to spend all your time with children, nor make your offspring your primary emotional support.
Another’s girlfriend eventually broke up with him after several years because he rarely made time to spend alone with her, instead expecting constant family time with his son.
It’s very common for guys with kids to write in their OKCupid profiles: “My kids come first,” or “My daughter is the center of my world! You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four. Plus, if you’ve gone through divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security. But it is even trickier if one or both of the parents put the kids before their partner.
A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.
Ultimately, failure to put their partner first was a sign these guys were not ready for a serious relationship, or at least not with those particular women, and that is totally normal.
But it’s not cool to pay lip service to intentions of growing a serious, long-term relationship and from the onset demote your lover to second-rank — even before you message her on
Over cajun food he described what sounds like a remarkably happy suburban childhood headed by parents who enjoyed a 40-year marriage, five kids and two successful careers. It is his face that inspires in me paroxysms of infatuated devotion. In other words, how do you create space for for a potential relationship when kids can be so all-consuming? If you are like the professional moms I know, the pendulum swings way in the other direction — and you’re far more likely to neglect yourself.
My date has only the fondest memories of watching his dad court his mom on their weekly date nights and annual parent-only vacations — in addition to the family roadtrip. “My dad made it clear that his relationship with my mom was the center of everything, while he was also the best dad ever,” he said.) highlighted a 2005 essay by Aylete Waldman about the fact that she puts her husband and their fantastic sex life above their four kids. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. In the event you don’t seek a romantic partner, where do you focus that energy if not on your children? Looking forward to that business trip even though you have to leave the kids at home?
In fact, that is the big takeaway: Stop feeling guilty.
Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships.
And while you’re at it, indulge in your instincts to have a fulfilling and profitable career — without any guilt whatsoever!