Trouble and strife, Mother or Wife?

I have this debate quite often. But it is almost always with my Mum. We debate whether you would describe yourself as a mother or a wife first.

I wonder if my answer will stay the same regardless of how old my children are. When they have flown the nest and what is left is two people who got married/got together a long time ago. My Mum's answer is always the same. Mother first, wife second.

She has been married twice. Once to my Dad who I hardly ever see (they divorced less than amicably when I was at University and I believe the years of him not having obligatory trips to the zoo/bowling at weekends led to the gradual decline of our relationship. I say obligatory because unlike a lot of the attentive and loving single Dads I read about and know, it would have had to be forced upon him) and now to an understanding man with children and grandchildren of his own.

I say understanding because my Mum makes no qualms about the fact that she will always put her children first.

I know in my heart I am a mother first. Who I would save first if the house was on fire and who is my priority, not just because they need me more to feed them and entertain them, but who I choose to give more of my time to. My husband moans that he gets what is left over. What is left at the end of a long day, after the children are fed, bathed and in bed after a story, after we have eaten and after I have photographed some crafty blog post idea or other or caught up on Facebook or joined in some Twitter Mums Party.

You can imagine what's left is hardly any time at all. About 30 seconds before my head hits the pillow.

I also am guilty of calling my husband Dada when the children aren't even in ear shot. Fine to encourage small boy to speak but I'll admit it must be irritating to be made to the third child in the house sometimes! Talked to in a silly voice in baby talk.

I suppose it is what you do with the time that is left that matters. That it is ok to be a mother first, wife second if you remember that you were a wife in the first place. That that other person made you the mother you are.

And that it is ok to want to be a wife first. I know some people must find it unimaginable to want to leave your children to have a night or weekend away with your other half. But we have and it meant that for a very short time in the rush of daily family routine, my husband was the one who had my full attention.

They say that a baby is one of the biggest if not the biggest strains on a relationship. At what should be the most joyous time in your lives it can test your relationship to breaking point. I suppose it is easy to be all consumed with motherhood.

I realise the importance of finding a balance but know in my heart I will always be a mother first.

What would you say you were? Mother first or wife first? Can you being a good wife and still put your children first?