Quality vs. Quantity
Posted by Bonita Jewel
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?
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!