I have told myself several times that I would not leave the little one in daycare for more than 8 hours. Yet, there are days the little one stays in the child care center for 9 hours.
After daycare, the little one doesn’t always have my full attention. Most days, I have to prepare his dinner then head straight to class while my spouse gets the little one ready for bed.
Sometimes, the little one eats rice two nights in a row or apple sauce and yogurt for breakfast.
I don’t read him bedtime stories. I sing twinkle twinkle little star almost every night. I should perhaps get more creative.
I am sure there is a mom out here who can relate.
Navigating motherhood with a busy schedule
There are days I feel guilty and miss the little one so much I can’t help but leave work 15 minutes earlier than planned or put my school assignments on hold. When I pick up the little one, I hold him tight, shower him with kisses and make him laugh before driving off the parking lot. I keep engaging him as we drive home.
Phones are kept away during meal time.
Sometimes, I engage in 10-15 minutes of physical play with the little one right before he goes to bed.
My spouse and I do our best to be present and make the little one feel special because he is a gift. We are learning to take a break and join the little one in playing with his toys. When the little one calls for our attention, we attend and respond to his needs.
Those are some of the ways I do this thing called mothering.
No, we are not spoiling the little one. We are building a healthy mind. We are helping his brain create the right neural pathways and connections that will help him become a good father, husband, and a responsible citizen.
We understand that some of our works can wait but the moments we spend with the little one cannot wait. They cannot be taken back.
For my fellow moms of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
As I study infant and early childhood mental health, I realize being a good enough mom is not primarily about the number of hours one spends with the child. It is more about how present one truly is when one is with the child.
To be present with a child involves physical play with the child. Not leaving the child to play with those toys alone all the time.
Being present is about knowing your child. What he or she likes. Being sensitive to your child’s affect.
Guess what momma?! The fact that you occassionally feel guilty and question if you are a good mother actually makes you a good enough mother.
It shows you are not disconnected from your little one. It shows you carry that child in your heart. It shows you desire to give your child your best. That’s what being a good mother is about.
You are good enough and you are irreplaceable!