03/12/2013 12:06 EDT | Updated 05/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Children Are More Important Than Your Marriage

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PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 01: A child sleeps as her mother, a recently-arrived refugee from Iraq, learns how to receive food stamps during a class held by the Arizona Department of Economic Security at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), office on March 1, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. IRC programs like many programs that receive federal funding, may be greatly cut back due to federal sequestration cuts. The IRC is a non-profit humanitarian aid organization that aids refugees and survivors of international conflict. They assist new arrivals, many of whom come from refugee camps and war zones, to adjust to American society after being granted refugee status and invited by the U.S. government to live in the United States. The IRC also assists refugees through the immigration and naturalization process to become U.S. citizens. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Lydia Lovric "Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong."

-- Author Donna Ball from the novel At Home on Ladybug Farm

Perhaps celebrity E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic should put down the tabloid magazines and pick up a good book instead. The emaciated reporter recently confessed that she puts her husband first and her young son second.

"We're husband and wife, but we're also best friends, and it's funny because a lot of people, when they have kids, they put the baby first, and the marriage second," explains Rancic during an interview with US Weekly. "That works for some people. For us, I find, we put our marriage first and our child second, because the best thing we can do for him is have a strong marriage."

As a wife and mother, I question Rancic's priorities.

While it's undoubtedly true that one of the best gifts we can give our children is a happy and loving marriage, it's difficult to wrap one's head around the notion of placing children second. Especially young ones.

Giuliana and Bill Rancic welcomed baby Edward Duke into the world last August. That makes baby Duke less than nine months old. He can barely walk or talk yet he's already playing second fiddle. It seems a bit asinine to say the least.

One would hope that parents could be mature enough to realize that once they have a child, that child should be the first priority. It doesn't mean that you love your spouse any less. It just means that things like feedings and diaperings and 3 a.m. fevers take precedence over date night.

The time for being selfish stops the moment a baby enters the world. If a baby's own mother or father is not prepared to put that baby first -- who will?

Obviously, this is not to say that couples shouldn't make some time for themselves. It's important that through the sleep deprivation, the constant crying and recurring ear aches, mom and dad still find occasion to laugh and be romantic with each other. But both partners need to recognize that even these things evolve and change after parenthood.

We have three young children (ages two, five and seven). My husband knows only too well that my days of neatly coiffed hair or high heels are -- for the most part -- long gone. I'm lucky. He still considers baggy pyjamas and a messy ponytail sexy.

Likewise, I don't need a fancy restaurant or an expensive bottle of wine in order to be happy. When I see my husband rocking our youngest to sleep, singing a soft lullaby, I melt every time.

Our role as a parent changes over time as well. Right now, because our children are so young, they need us a great deal. I'm sure down the road, as they approach the tween years, our kids will need us less. In fact, there will come a time when they will barely want us around (except to borrow the car or grab a quick bite to eat). That's fine. It's perfectly normal.

But it's really difficult to comprehend a new mom like Giuliana Rancic -- who tried so long just to have a baby (and eventually had to hire a surrogate) -- confess her child comes second.

Growing up, I always knew that my parents put us kids first. I'm sure it wasn't easy -- but they shared a common goal and neither one resented the other for being a parent first and a spouse second. In fact, one could argue that being an excellent mother or father makes you a better partner.

Tenneva Jordan said it best when she wrote: "A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."

Parenthood is all about sacrifice and selflessness. You cannot be simultaneously selfish and a good parent. It just isn't possible.

Someone like Rancic would likely not be interested in pie either way, but hopefully she can at least appreciate the sentiment.


Lydia Lovric is a former writer and broadcaster turned stay-at-home mom. This article originally appeared in The Hamilton Spectator

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