As soon as I stepped foot into our local Kid to Kid consignment store I heard her. Sobs coupled with hacking coughs wracked her slight frame in the toy section. I discreetly moved along while holding my breath, hoping the germs in the air didn’t blow my way. (Selfish, I know.) Her mother tried her best to convince the two-year-old to move along to the clothing amid her protests.
“Look, we are bringing along a toy! Sit right here while I shop for your clothes.” The mother plopped a toy in the floor, while looking at the toddler with pleading eyes. I shifted slightly down the aisle with my growing pile of girly toddler clothing.
She ran screaming in the other direction.
The mother retrieved her a second time while the child’s hacking coughs grew even worse. “I NEED FOR YOU TO STOP THIS RIGHT NOW! I HAVE TO BUY YOU CLOTHES FOR DAY CARE, AND LOOK HOW YOU’RE ACTING!”
Oh. I paused as my heart clenched for the little girl. A few minutes later, I realized I felt for the mom too. I’ve been a single mom before, and it was only by God’s grace that I was always able to keep my children home with me during that time frame.
Connecting with our children is a full time job. It’s not to say that the mother’s employment caused her daughter’s screaming fit (my three-year-old could have given her a run for her money), but our little ones really need us to be available to them at all times.
As mothers, there are so many things that we provide to our little guys! To name just a few…
Studies have shown that children resolve the conflict of trust vs. distrust during their first year of life. As a psychology major, this was drilled into my head ALL.THE.TIME. Babies form attachments with their caregivers during their early years, and if a caregiver leaves they feel deserted and lose their trust. Subconsciously, how this conflict is resolved affects the way they handle trust in relationships for the remainder of their lives.
A soft place to land
Children need us to be available to them as they navigate their environments and encounter problems. Young infants and toddlers especially are drawn to their main-attachment (usually mom), when sad, scared, or troubled, and if she isn’t available at the time, this adds to their level of “dis-trust.”
A listening and comforting ear
As children grow older, sometimes they need to talk out the feelings they are experiencing. And they need to talk it out NOW. If mom isn’t available, they can begin to repress their feelings. A mother’s comfort is so very important, and The Lord even compares it to the comfort He gives! In Isaiah 66:13, the prophet as God’s mouthpiece writes, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”
In Titus 2:4, the older women are instructed to, “teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children…” Loving our children (and husbands) involves a sacrificial love, which I’m sure you are well aware of! In a perfect world, this sacrificial love should guide us in our decision making regarding working outside of the home.
I understand that sometimes we may feel like we have no choice but to work an outside job. Let’s pray for God’s grace to meet us where we are, and guide us as we navigate parenting our children. If it is the Lord’s will for us to stay at home, He will provide a way. He is faithful.
I can testify that staying at home with my children isn’t the cure-all for every life problem. I still struggle. My children still struggle. This is part of living in a sin-drenched world. However, I know without a doubt that being at home offers my children a level of security that they would not experience if I left each day.
At the same time, I realize that physical presence means little if we’ve emotionally checked out for the day. I’ve been there, too!
I pray that we can come along each other and encourage one another to give our children the best we can offer them. Sometimes this requires sacrifices. Some of them great, and some of them small. In the end, we can rest assured that we will never regret devoting our time and resources to our children.