Monthly Archives: July 2011

Quality vs. Quantity

Question from a mother:Father and Daughter Having Fun

I have a baby who’s going to be 7 months soon and I will have to get back to work from the next month. So she will be at a daycare. Can I still be a great mother and influence her positively and have a great bond with my child?

 

Positive Parenting:

That’s a great question, and an important one, too. It is true that there is no one like Mommy (and Daddy) when it comes to understanding, pouring into, and raising your child.

However, if you’re asking that question, I think you’ll do just fine, and your daughter will too. Some parents’ mindsets might be, “I’m finally going to be able to go back to work and leave the kid with someone else for a little while! Freedom!!!”

Just the fact that you are concerned about your connection with your daughter, and her ability to continue to learn, is a great thing! It shows that you are a good mother and well on your way to raising a wonderful child as well.

If you’re looking to teach a child as young as your daughter is (seven months), all you need is a little bit of time. At that age, and up to a few years old, children can’t sit still for long and like a lot of excitement and variety. Five to ten minutes of educational input at different times throughout the day is plenty. If you have time before you head out to drop her off and go to work, you can take a bit of time then, and you’ll also hopefully be free to have some focused time with her once you both get home.

I was facing a similar situation recently, in trying to decide whether to put my children in school, or keep them at home with me and educate them at home. There were quite a few other things going on in my life, and as such, I knew I wouldn’t be available to teach them well, as well as focus on the other things that they would need too—physical education, fun, moral and spiritual training, etc. I felt guilty though. As their mom, I wished I could be available to “do it all.” I talked to a friend of mine, an experienced father, and he gave some good advice:

The key word you’re looking for is quality rather than quantity. Some parents might be at home all day with their children, but they’re busy with their own things and just sit the kids in front of the TV or computer all day and never work to build a connection or give them positive input. It’s a big waste of that time because the younger a child is, the more of a sponge he or she is. Kids love attention, activities, and learning through those very things. If all you have is a bit of time at the beginning of the day and some more towards the end of the day, focus on them during that time. Let that be the best time of your day. It might not always be easy to make it so, but your kids deserve the best you have. Maybe they won’t get the most of your time, but they can still have the best of your time, and that’s what is important.

I remember reading a story of a boy whose dad gave him something special for Christmas: a promise of an hour every day after he got home from work. That hour belonged to the boy. He could choose to play ball outside, or read a story together, or work on a project. The father renewed the promise every Christmas, and the boy said it was the best gift he ever received—the gift of time. The father didn’t have all day, every day, but he gave him quality time.

In summary: yes, you can be a great mother even if your daughter goes to day care. Actually, something tells me you probably already are a great mother. Keep it up!

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As A Mother

smiling girlThen there are the days where you wake up wishing there was a third button on the alarm clock, one in between the “stop” button and the “snooze” button, a button that states: “Go back in time seven hours.”

On mornings like that, the day seems to progress along the same path.

The youngest has a shorter nap than usual, and states in no uncertain terms that he wants to stay awake now. His temperament, on the other hand, screams: “Put me to sleep.”

The middle child is extra moody and even sports a few classic meltdowns.

The oldest gets home from school in time for the four of you to go on a nice, long walk. You finally begin to feel a bit better about the day. At least you got to fit in some exercise.

You get home and then she remembers about her homework, more than she’s ever brought home before. You wish that you could have granted her the chance to stay up a half-hour past bedtime for a more inspiring reason than that sinister thing called “homework.” And still she doesn’t finish it.

The two other children decide that they should keep their sister company and so they also don’t go to sleep until she’s in bed.

Finally, the oldest ones are asleep and you turn to the youngest. I thought he was tired, as he got up early from his nap, yet he seems to be thinking that tonight would be a great night to see the sun rise. He bounces from the pillow on my lap, to reclining against my side, and back again, as I sit on the floor against a pillow and try to get a bit of work done on my laptop.

He asks for water and I get up to get it. I get back and he’s there, lying flat on the pillow pretending to snore. “Honk-shhh” he says.

I ask, “What are you doing?”

“Naughty, naughty,” he replies, with a silly smile on his face.

I soon figured out why he was saying, “naughty.” He didn’t want the water for himself, but for his car, Sally. I quickly put an end to that idea.

He lies down one more time as I sit down, exasperated. He kisses my cheek and gives me a big hug, then sits back with a huge and cheesy grin on his face—the one he always sports when he’s trying to get me to smile. I acquiesce.

It takes a few more rounds to get him to lie down for good. By now, it’s 10:30 and my eyes—which have been hurting all day from sleep deficit—flatly refuse to focus on anything remotely resembling work. It’s time for bed.

Tomorrow will be another day, with the ups and downs and trials and victories of life…as a mother.

Am I looking forward to it? You bet! Every day is a chance to learn something new, an opportunity to be a better mother, and the priceless privilege of raising wonderful kids, because every child deserves the best!

The Love that Changed my Mind

“Who would want to be a parent?”

Although it’s embarrassing to admit it now, that was my frame of mind before actually becoming one. I figured that all the hype about parenthood “enriching your life” and being a mother “is its own reward” was just what parents said to make themselves feel better about the fact that their lives were no longer their own, to console themselves during sleepless nights and through endless dirty diapers. I admired parents yes, as well as their resolve that “it is worth it;” but actually becoming one was another story.

Then the inevitable happened. I got married and soon afterward was expecting. As I got closer to “D-day,” and my tummy got rounder, friends would often ask me, “Won’t you be so glad when it’s finally out? You must be so tired of being pregnant!”

“No.” I would reply. “It’s perfectly safe inside.” It’s not that I didn’t want to have a smaller tummy again, but I just was not sure how I would do at actually being a mommy. Would I be able to cope with the sleepless nights that all new parents talk about? Would I get used to changing a baby I-don’t-know-how-many times a day? Would I have enough love for the new baby to deal with the loss of my freedom and “my life?”

I didn’t have to wait long before I discovered the answer. Our baby girl was born and although I might sound corny, it was “love at first sight.” That first night that she was born, I just lay awake, looking at her. Every feature was so perfect, from her tiny rosebud lips, to her ears that were shaped just like her daddy’s. She was lovely, and I was hooked.Jessica, Two Months Old, Smiling

Yes, there were some of those nights where I did not get to sleep before two or three in the morning. There were times that I wondered if I would ever be able to go out again “just for fun.” But there were also times that filled my heart with joy and wonder that I had never experienced. Like the time that she first “talked” with her little baby gurgles, smiling at me as if I was the greatest person in the world. As she grew, I beheld a new wonder as I saw the world through her eyes, as if experiencing simple joys again for the first time. I felt the pride that only a parent could feel when she read her first book “all by herself.” And just this evening, as we went for a drive, she slipped her little hand in mine and said “You’re my friend, mommy? I love you!”

I will gladly admit, with capital letters, I was wrong about parenting. For the record, becoming a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The treasure of a child’s pure love is the greatest reward of parenthood, and yes, it is more than worth it. The feeling in my heart is living proof.

[Reposting from: http://danielandbonita.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/the-love-that-changed-my-mind/]