There's no denying that children definitely do change a marriage. You have a lot less time for just the two of you, and things you once did--like say just picking up and going somewhere whenever--you can't do anymore. My mother and a friend of hers were mentor moms for MOPS (mothers of preschoolers), and one thing that they were repeatedly trying to drive into the heads of the mothers there was that they needed to put their husbands before their children.
Both of them having had kids of their own and having been married for a long time, they saw the ill effects of what happens when you put your children first. And, oddly enough, as has been attested to by their own husbands, most husbands won't say anything but just go along with what the wife is doing all the while feeling neglected. My mom admitted that when my sister and I were little she became guilty of putting us before my dad, and she said it was really hard on the marriage. Only after she shifted her focus back to her husband did things get better.
My dad said that the majority of women after having children tend to fall into this pattern. And it makes the husband feel as if his wife is saying "well I got you for what I wanted you for..now that I have my kids..you can just take the back burner." Whether or not the woman intends it, he says this is a feeling given to the men by their wives actions.
BUT the thing is (that I actually wondered about without asking my mom)--what exactly does putting your kids before your husband look like? And who would really knowingly just cast her husband aside for her kids? I'd venture to say almost nobody. Answering the first question, it is hard to describe what this looks like. Plus, with hindsight being 20/20, we often do not see this until after the fact.
Let me put myself on the chopping block here because only recently did I realize that I, in fact, had begun to put the baby before my husband. Now, I was entirely unaware of this--and I want to make this point very clear because I don't think we are aware when we're doing it. I had actually been making strides toward ensuring my husband and I had time together. For example, I moved the baby out of our bed; I put him to bed earlier so we could have time by ourselves; I also utilized whatever spare time I had to do things that I knew would make him feel good.
Still, I was missing something huge. Whenever the baby was asleep, I would get frustrated because I felt my husband was being so loud and I would repeatedly ask him to please be quiet. Most of the time, I was doing this thinking about how tired I was, how I didn't want the baby's sleep getting messed up, how I'd read this book and that book and I wanted to do what would help the baby. But I wasn't seeing that I was making my husband feel awful because I was so focused on making sure things go a certain way for the baby.
And, after having realized this, I changed my habits. I also feel a lot better too. The baby will adapt. I have a husband who loves his child and doesn't need to be made to feel like he needs to do things a certain way. Ultimately, he needs to feel comfortable in his own home and supported and loved by his wife. I'm not saying the baby needs to be forgotten. However, he is not the be all and end all, and if things don't go a certain way according to something I read or heard, that's okay. Because I've found we are all a lot happier this way.