Spend Some Time Away From Your Baby!
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 5 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, How To Rear Infants)
You must realize that you can't spend every minute of the day with your baby. Time should be carefully planned where the mother can be away from the baby some. This time should not be for long periods, or the child may begin to fail to respond to the parents. The baby will sense if you like to be with him or not, and he will detach himself from you if you are not careful. In the first year or so of life, even short periods of separation can cause the baby to react negatively and even to ignore the parents after they have been away for two or three days. It is also possible for the child to become attached to the person who cares for the baby and to turn to him for his security and comfort. Because of this, the time away from the baby should be brief and planned as follows:
1. Have several baby sitters on whom you can call. Choose baby sitters who like children and enjoy playing with them and who express warmth while they care for your child. Do not choose a baby sitter who is more concerned about neatness than warmth and love. Choose babysitters who will carry out your wishes and instructions to the letter.
2. When the babysitter comes to the house, have her come a bit early. Have her there long enough before you leave so the baby will become familiar with the babysitter. I would suggest that the babysitter should arrive at least a half an hour early. This should be done regardless of the age of the child. The babysitter should come while the child is awake. It is quite a shocking experience for a child to wake up and find a stranger with him. Be sure that the child is awake and that the babysitter spends some time with the child gaining his confidence before you leave. Otherwise, the child may begin to associate sleep with your leaving. This may cause the child to be reluctant to go to sleep for fear you will riot be there when he awakens. It is best that your child know that you are leaving and that he be aware of it even if he cries.
3. Even though you have a list of babysitters, it is best to use the same one as much as possible. Children do not like strangers. They should not have to associate the arrival of a stranger with Mother's departure. Serious emotional difficulties can arise.
4. Plan a schedule of time or times that you will be away from the baby. I would suggest that the parents use a babysitter at least once a week. This would be for going to a restaurant to eat or having some recreational time together. This could be for an evening out or an afternoon and evening out. I would also suggest that at least once every two months the parents take an overnight outing. Perhaps they could go to a motel for the night and then spend the day shopping or participating in some type of recreation. I would not suggest that parents take long vacations away from their infant child. Several brief absences a year would be much better than one lengthy one.
5. The mother should resume her spiritual activities as soon as possible. The good Christian mother will want to go soul winning every week as soon as she is strong enough. She will want to participate in church activities such as missionary societies, class meetings, etc. She will be a better mother if she spends time fulfilling her Christian responsibilities outside the home. Go ahead, Mother, and teach the Sunday school class. Go ahead and work with the young people. Do not spend your entire life or even a majority of your life doing it, but you do need outside interests.
Use the church nursery. New mother, as soon as you are able to go to church, you should return to the services. You can have some time apart from the baby while you are in the services and the baby is being cared for in the church nursery. Now the nursery may not be as nice as you wish it were, but God is able to care for your baby. I would rather see the baby in a nursery that is not quite the picture of cleanliness than for mother not to receive the spiritual food that she needs. Do not take the child to the services! Babies can disrupt the services and prevent people from coming to Christ. A little baby can also keep the mother from getting what she needs from the services. You need your spiritual food. You need edification that comes from the preaching of the Word of God. Put your baby in the nursery. Trust him to the Lord, and you go to church.
6. If the mother works, she should try to come home in the middle of the day. There are cases, of course, when Mother must be away at a secular job. If possible, the mother should cut down on her working hours during the first two years of the child's life. If this is not possible, the mother should try to come home for lunch. I would suggest that the mother try not to be away from the child for more than four hours at a time. If the mother cannot come home during the day, perhaps the father could come home during the day and spend some time with the child.
Now I am not advocating mothers working. I am saying that when mothers have to work they should make every possible effort to be with the child as much as possible. The wise employer should make it possible for parents of children under the age of two to organize their schedule and consider the needs of the children. Maybe our friends south of the border have the best idea after all with their siestas. In summary, the best thing is for the mother not to work. The next best thing is for her to cut down on her work and just work part-time. If that is not possible, then she should be able to come home sometime during the day. If this is not possible, she should have a babysitter who is like a second mother who will love the child and give it motherly care.
7. Parents should have their own lives together. The child should not ever sense the fact that he has come between Mother and Father. Regular times should be set when Mother and Dad are together alone for pleasure, recreation, conversation and romance. Psychologists who say that Mother and Dad should make love in front of the children, or for that matter even expose their bodies in front of the children, either do not know the Word of God or they do not care about its truths. They use the argument that children should become familiar with the human body, the differences between males and females, and the changes that occur as a person matures. They encourage that the parents let the children see their private parts and that they appear nude in front of the children. This is not only foolishness, but it is not Biblical! The father represents God in the home and should be treated with respect by the child. This respect is broken down when the parents, sincere though they may be, heed the wicked counsel of people who know little or care little about the Word of God and advise them to let their children see them in the nude. This was one of the sins that Ham committed that drew God's displeasure. Parents appearing nude in front of their children always draws God's displeasure. These so-called child-rearing experts say that extreme parental modesty leads a child to develop a desire to see naked people and that this is the way "peeping toms" are born. Nothing could be further from the truth! This is a part of the modern sex education trend.
The baby is here. Your lives are changed tremendously, but you must not completely consume your time with the baby. You must be away some and have other interests and other activities. Though these times of absence should be brief, at least as brief as possible, they nevertheless should be a part of your schedule. You will always return to your baby more refreshed and more able to care for him properly and to express your love more beautifully.
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