At the age of 20 I gave birth to our first child. My husband and I gently placed our daughter in her car seat in the back of our small car, and drove her home from the hospital on a cold and sunny February morning. We gently shut the back door of the car and looked up at each other in shock. What do we do now? Are we actually responsible for her?
That first night at home we did what you are supposed to do. We put her in her crib in her bedroom, and went into ours. Her room seemed so big and empty. She seemed so small and helpless. So without saying a word we picked up our mattress and blankets and put it in her room next to her crib. We wanted to be sure she was okay.
Eventually we put her in our room, as we did the other three children that would come after her. It was to protect and be near our small babies, but it was also just habit then. We were really more mature, and aware that babies are just fine in their crib, but we kept on.
Don’t Let the Kids in, Really!
As a young parent most of what I did was what I had seen others do. I was just trying to survive those early days. I knew little about myself, life, and nothing about parenting so everything was trial by fire.
I didn’t become a Christian until my third child, and younger daughter was born. It wouldn’t be until many years later that I would begin to learn about God’s teaching on husbands and wives being one. In fact I am not sure I really understood the implications of that, and how we messed that up until our oldest two left home.
A few months ago our younger daughter barged in our room at 11:00 p.m. at night. At the age of 19 she is so self-centered and full of her own drama that she didn’t realize what she walked in on. She was just concerned about sharing “her” problems.
You see letting kids in our room at night didn’t always stop after the newborn stage. Sometimes kids would get scared, or we would be too tired to say anything and someone would always be in our bed.
This habit sent a message to our children that it didn’t matter where mom and dad were we are welcome. Mom might be going to the bathroom, but if I need her I can just barge in. Mom and dad don’t have time alone together because we are always welcome where they are. There is no boundary.
And now. And now we see how we hurt our marriage, our sexual relationship, and time alone all for the sake of good parenting. All because we didn’t make a boundary that needed made. When we went into the bedroom at night, unless of course there was a true need, the kids should have understood that it’s our room, and that they need to be in their’s.
Not putting up that boundary extended into other areas of our marriage. It’s difficult to have a private conversation without being interrupted, it’s difficult to enjoy a movie, or time alone in our own home because children at all ages think they are welcome, and should be involved.
God was simply trying to help us. There is so much vying to separate a husband and wife. Let us not hurt ourselves by putting a wedge between us. Within our marriage should be the freedom to develop our relationship, and our relationship doesn’t include children.
Our oldest daughter got in a small car in December with her husband. She shut her own door, and drove off to live in Florida. We could no longer protect her. Our relationship was not ready for the time alone we will now face as the kids leave home because we didn’t enjoy any when they were here.
Don’t let the kid’s in, really! In subtle but strong ways they can be the wedge that drives us apart. Give them the gift of example, and show them what they need to do when they are married, and that is love their husband or wife, first, and need to make time with him or her of supreme importance.