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Who Comes First: Partner or Kids?

Ask a therapist — and mother of seven—how to prioritize

QUESTION: My girlfriend is upset that I put my kids before her. I’m doing the right thing, right?

Military dad hugging his two kids with a semi-truck in the background.
Did you leave her in the cab? (Image credit: coastguard.dodlive.mil)

First, congratulations on being a stand-up parent. There aren’t enough of you in the world, so round of applause. But are you entirely right to put your kids first? Let me ask you a few questions, because the answer’s not as simple as you might think.

Pandemic politeness - How to say ‘back off’ without getting punched

There you are, walking Fido and staying in your own lane, when you hear “Oh, what a cute dog!” … and cringe. Because the next step in this dance is that a complete stranger walks over and pets your pooch.


Bad enough in normal times, but in pandemia, it’s potentially lethal.

Step away from the dog. 
(Image by Simone Dalmeri on Unsplash)

Or an oblivious neighbor, a distant acquaintance, or a fellow shopper strikes up a conversation and stands much too close. The pizza delivery guy, waiting for a tip, licks his fingers before handing you a receipt. 

What to do?