That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chast, keepers at home... [Titus 2:3-5]
“How old should my child be before I can think of returning to work?”
Many mothers are asking this question today as though it is a settled fact that they belong back in the work force just as soon as they can possibly get there. Have you ever considered the fact that God wants you with your child? That your first responsibility is to your Home?
I am pro-children. I am pro-family. I am pro-home. I do not want to take anything away from women. I want to see them liberated from this world’s expectation that if they are to feel fulfilled -they must find it in a career outside the home.
I well remember a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post – of a mother in a messy kitchen holding a crying baby; dreaming of sitting at a desk in a nice office. In her ‘dream’ she is dressed nicely, and her hair is so perfect. The next part of the painting shows her actually sitting at her desk – only now she is dreaming of being in her neat kitchen holding a happy baby. This is the dilemma thousands of mothers are finding themselves in today.
No one can convince me that a mother of a small child will ever be happy out in the work force away from her child. There can never be any more important role than that of Mother. You will never fill a position any more fulfilling than that of Homemaker.
Most children in America are being raised by strangers and substitute parents -baby-sitters, day care workers, school teachers and television [the unpaid baby-sitter] -but these will never be a substitute for Mother.
I remember calling a mother at work to tell her she had a sick child with a high fever, at school. She told me there was no way she could come and get him and asked me to take him to the babysitters, which I reluctantly agreed to do. I went to the small apartment that she told me to go to. When I knocked’ the door was opened by two girls in their late teens; they brought the sick child into a small living room dominated by a TV and about ten other preschool children. This was not the place to take a sick child!
Many thousands, and thousands of children in America are Latchkey children. The go home with a key around their neck to an empty house.
One year I had a little second grade girl who went home from school, with instructions from her mother to go into the house, lock the front door – then to go to her bedroom and lock herself in there. In the room she had some food, a phone and a TV. There she was to remain until her mother, who was a nurse got home at nine o’clock at night. Her mother had no other choice since she was a single mother who had to work and could not afford the rent as well as paying a baby sitter.
Every child is born with a need just as strong as the need for food and being kept dry. It is the longing for the presence and security of Mother. This need is known as ‘bonding’ or ‘attachment’.
Bonding takes place during the first eighteen months of life. The baby cries and mother satisfies the need. The baby learns to trust her to meet all his needs. Psychologist Eric Erikson argues that, “The pre-eminent value created in the first year of life is the capacity to trust. For this to happen the mother needs to regularly, and consistently be assessable to the child throughout the child’s critical first two years”. [Stronger Families or Bigger Government, pp45]
As a mother holds her baby close, while feeding and talking to him, a feeling of security and a trust is developed within the child. When mother is absent the baby becomes fretful and seriously depressed. If this happens over and over the child feels rejection and then may have trouble in later life with building relationships with others. Many of our psychopaths, who prey on others in later life, are believed to have been ‘unbonded” children.
One-half of everything a person learns he learns before age two. One half of the remaining knowledge is learned before five years of age. Why not be part of the most important years in your child’s life?
Mother, if you are gone during this time someone else is teaching and training them: someone else will have the joy of seeing your child take his first step. Someone else will have the joy of hearing something that sounds like “Mamma.” Someone else will cool the feverish brow of your baby when he is sick. Someone else will hold them close and read stories to them. Someone else will model values for your child.
“But you don’t understand, Brother Reynolds, I need to work. We need the money.”
First be honest with God and yourself. Is it for ‘needs’ or is it for your ‘wants’? In America, we have the two mixed up. God has promised to supply your ‘needs’.
When you subtract the cost of day care, the cost of special clothes, the restaurant bills, the pre-prepared food and the taxes from your paycheck are you really gaining that much? Is it worth missing the most exciting years with your child?
I realize there are emergencies in every family.
Maybe God wants you to take in other people’s children so you can enjoy what they are missing – and at the same time get paid for it.
I heard of a little boy who was placed in a foster home who, when he was enrolled in my school, could not function and could not wait until school was over. When he was let off the bus, he ran home as fast as he could to see if his new mother was there for him. It was only after he knew that she would be there for him every day that he could relax and learn at school.
Even when your own child leaves and goes to school, they deserve the privilege to come home to “loving smells” and sheltering arms.
Mothers – do not buy into this world’s value system. Never hang your head and say, “I am just a housewife.” Rather say proudly and assertively, “I am a Homemaker! I mold lives for Eternity!”