How Old Should My Baby Be Before I Return To Work?

“The aged women likewise, …that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be be discreet, chast, keepers at home…” Titus 2:3-5 KJV

Many mothers are asking the above question as though it is a settled fact that they belong back in the work force -just as soon as they can possibly get there. Most children in America are being raised by strangers and substitute parents –baby sitters, day care workers, schoolteachers and television, all are raising our children – but these will never be a substitute for Mother.

Mother – have you ever considered the fact that it is God’s will for you is to be at home with your child during the early formative years? If you are gone during these early years someone else will cuddle your baby. 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 him close and read stories to him. Someone else will model her values for your child.

One-half of everything one learns, one 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?

I well remember a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. It was of a mother in a messy kitchen holding a crying baby; dreaming of sitting at a desk in a nice office. In the dream, she was dressed so nicely and her hair was so perfect. The other part of the painting showed her actually sitting at this 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.

Every child is born with a need just as strong as the need for food and being kept dry. 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. Through this process 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 one ‘caregiver’ needs to regularly, and consistently be assessable to the child throughout the child’s critical first two years. [Stronger Families or Bigger Government, pp45]

“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 many times. 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. If you do need extra income, prayerfully read Proverbs 31 and then look for ways to augment your income from within the home. In this chapter you see a very liberated woman, whose abilities are not inhibited – they are just focused toward her husband and her children.
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. Even when your own children leave and go 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!”

“She who rocks the cradle rules the nation.”

Who is rocking your child’s cradle?

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