Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Whose hands are your children in?

I am the kind of mom that sometimes feels like "getting away" for awhile and yet, when the opportunity arrises, misses her kids before pulling out of the driveway.  However, any one who has known me for awhile could attest to the fact that I have definitely been to my share of concerts and parties since my son Breaden was born, nearly 10 years ago.  (Oh, how time flies!)  I am the first to admit that being a mother (and especially a young one to start) has been an enormous growing experience, and one that has continued to blossom, deepen, and unfold.

I am saddened when I think of the many times I left my little boy with a friend or other "trusted" source just so I could have some "me" time.  Did I devote the same atttention to my son and our relationship as I did to my own personal quest for fun and gain?  Unfortunately, my answer is no.  I missed many opportunities, and often placed my child in someone elses hands with a blind trust.  Thankfully God never removed His hand of protection from him, and I have since come to value the precious and fleeting gift of childhood SO much more than I ever thought possible.

Not that I think it's a terrible thing to have a date night, or an occasional girls night out once you become a parent.  For some people, taking some time off, even for a few hours, is refreshing and can make all the difference when feeling bogged down by routine.  Going out with your hubby alone can help strengthen the relationship and give you the chance to enjoy something you wouldn't be able to do with kids along. In fact, Shawn and I just went out this past weekend to dinner and a Ben Harper concert while my lovely sister stayed with all 4 of the kids.  (Did I mention she is lovely?!)  We had a nice time and I was able to relax, knowing that my children were in good hands.

Since I don't work outside of the home and Shawn and I often just spend our alone time together curled up on the couch, we don't find it necessary to find sitters beyond the few family members and close friends that we truly trust our children with.  I count these blessings daily and pray that I will always be able to stay here with my kids and that my husband and I will continue to be content to "date" at home most of the time!  I have a strong conviction that parents need to be the main influence in their children's lives and I tend to hold to the philosophy that each day should be lived as if it were the last.  This helps me to value and enjoy my children more and want to be with them as much as possible.

However, I know that each persons situation is different and that you may have a need to look for childcare more frequently.  Since our children are our most precious gifts and our greatest responsibilities, it makes sense to take some time to seriously consider what kind of impact our choices in childcare can make.  When it comes to our kids, what we don't know can hurt!  It is worthwhile to make a list of questions and concerns you may have, including questions to ask yourself about what you are looking for in a sitter.  A few considerations would include: what other people your child may be exposed to while at a sitters (spouses, neighbors or other family members, for example), whether the sitter shares/ respects your values and makes appropriate decisions regarding movies, music, etc., and asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment regarding your choice.  With our children's emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual well being at stake, I believe God wants us to choose with equal deliberation the need for a sitter as well as the sitter themselves!