Few would disagree that, on average, most moms tend to spend more minutes per day with children than do most dads. Especially for young children, in most households, mothers are the primary caregivers as they engage in everyday business of living. While the ratios have changed with the higher percentage of women in the work force, mothers on average still spend more time with their children than do men. Fathers tend to provide children with shorter bursts of concentrated instruction, but a mother’s daily activities provide life lessons as children observe her from morning until night.
I am reminded of the worthy woman in Proverbs 31. This passage, which begins with “The sayings of King Lemuel — an inspired utterance his mother taught him,” is a case study in the creativity, perseverance, and industriousness of motherhood. The mother described in these verses brought food to the family, even from a great distance; she stayed up late and woke up early to accomplish her tasks; she entered into successful business transactions that benefited her household; she directed household members in chores and duties; she worked hard but also made sure she stayed healthy so she could give to others; she showed honor and respect to her husband so others would as well; she was wise and shared her wisdom; she kept herself busy and led a disciplined life. Throughout these daily efforts, her children were observing her, so much so that verse 28 declares they will “arise and call her blessed.”
Maternal nurturance invites children to participate alongside mom in the varied moments and minutiae of life. For a boy, the daily acts of learning at his mother’s feet are crucial to his development. He watches and observes how his mother copes with life. He sees how she reacts when she is excited, tired, anxious, or satisfied. By observing her reactions he learns emotional regulation. He also sees how she handles time management, multitasking, prioritizing, and task completion.
If your son is not getting enough “mom time,” consider adjusting your family dynamics to remedy the situation. In most families, mom’s healthy presence is a psychological baseline for the development of a young child’s healthy psyche; boys need maternal bonding to thrive. If his mom is unhealthy or out of the picture, you may need to recruit other healthy mother figures who will unconditionally love your boy in order to supply the womanly influence that will help give him a well-rounded view of his world.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 37 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.